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Nardil

Generic Name: phenelzine (FEN el zeen)
Brand Name: Nardil

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Dec 15, 2017 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is Nardil?

Nardil is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) that works by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain.

Nardil is used to treat symptoms of depression that may include feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety, or worry about physical health (hypochondria). This medication is usually given after other anti-depressants have been tried without successful treatment of symptoms. This medicine is not for treating severe depression or bipolar disorder (manic depression).

Nardil may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

There are many other medicines that can cause serious or life-threatening medical problems if you take them together with Nardil. Do not take this medicine before telling your doctor about all other prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor, dentist, or other healthcare provider who treats you.

You may have thoughts about suicide when you first start taking an antidepressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.

Call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

While you are taking Nardil, you must not drink alcohol or eat foods that are high in tyramine, listed in the "What should I avoid while taking this medicine?" section of this leaflet. Eating tyramine while you are taking this medicine can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels, causing symptoms that include sudden and severe headache, rapid heartbeat, stiffness in your neck, nausea, vomiting, cold sweat, vision problems, and sensitivity to light. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms.

Nardil may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

What should I discuss with my doctor before taking Nardil?

Do not use this medication if you have used another MAOI such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) within the past 14 days. Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you take Nardil before another MAOI has cleared from your body.

Do not take Nardil if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • pheochromocytoma (tumor of the adrenal gland);

  • congestive heart failure;

  • a history of liver problems; or

  • if you need any type of surgery with anesthesia.

There are many other medicines that can cause serious or life-threatening medical problems if you take them together with Nardil. The following drugs should not be used while you are taking this medicine:

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a Nardil dose adjustment or special tests:

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking an antidepressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Tell your doctor if you have worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Nardil will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication..

It is not known whether phenelzine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take Nardil?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often. Visit your doctor regularly.

It may take several weeks before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 4 weeks of treatment.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Overdose symptoms may include feeling drowsy or dizzy, severe headache, neck pain or stiffness, hallucinations, shallow breathing, fast and uneven heart rate, cold sweats, feeling like you might pass out, or seizure (convulsions).

What should I avoid while taking Nardil?

While you are taking Nardil you must not eat foods that are high in tyramine, including:

  • aged or smoked meats, fermented meats, dry sausage (including salami, pepperoni, Lebanon bologna), liver, pickled herring;

  • any spoiled or improperly stored meats, fish, or dairy products;

  • beer and wine (including non-alcoholic beer or wine);

  • cheese (other than cottage cheese or cream cheese);

  • sauerkraut;

  • over-the-counter supplements or cough and cold medicines that contain dextromethorphan or tyramine;

  • large amounts of chocolate or caffeine;

  • yogurt;

  • fava beans;

  • meat extracts; or

  • yeast extracts (including Brewer's yeast).

You should become very familiar with the list of foods and medicines you must avoid while you are taking Nardil. Eating tyramine while you are taking this medicine can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels which could cause life-threatening side effects.

Nardil may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Nardil side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Stop using Nardil and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • sudden and severe headache, rapid heartbeat, stiffness in your neck, nausea, vomiting, cold sweat, sweating, vision problems, sensitivity to light;

  • chest pain, fast or slow heart rate;

  • swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • agitation, unusual thoughts or behavior; or

  • feeling light-headed, fainting.

Less serious side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Nardil?

There are many other medicines that can cause serious or life-threatening medical problems if you take them together with Nardil. Do not take this medicine before telling your doctor about all other prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor, dentist, or other healthcare provider who treats you.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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