Phenelzine belongs to a group of medications known as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. This medication is used to treat depression. Depression is believed to be caused by imbalances in certain brain chemicals. This medication helps to rebalance these chemicals.
It may take up to 4 weeks to experience an improvement in symptoms.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Each orange, biconvex, film-coated tablet engraved with "PD 270" contains phenelzine sulfate, equivalent to phenelzine base 15 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, edetate disodium, magnesium stearate, mannitol, opadry orange, and povidone simethicone emulsion. This medication does not contain gluten, lactose, paraben, sodium, sulfite, or tartrazine.
The recommended adult starting dose is 15 mg taken 3 times daily. Your doctor may increase this dose to a maximum of 30 mg taken 3 times daily. Once a maximum benefit has been achieved, your doctor may slowly lower the dose.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor. If it becomes necessary to stop this medication, the dose should be reduced gradually to prevent withdrawal effects. Stopping phenelzine too quickly can cause nightmares, agitation, nausea, vomiting, and hearing or seeing things that are not there (hallucinations).
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not take phenelzine if you:
Phenelzine sulfate should not be taken in combination foods with a high tyramine content. In general, those taking this medication should avoid high-protein foods in which aging or protein breakdown is used to increase flavour. In particular, avoid foods such as:
These foods should be avoided while taking the medication and for at least 2 weeks after stopping the medication.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Certain foods and beverages: Avoid the following foods while taking phenelzine and for 2 weeks after stopping the medication: pickled herring, liver, dry sausage (including Genoa salami, hard salami, pepperoni, and Lebanon bologna), broad bean pods (fava beans), sauerkraut, cheese (cottage cheese and cream cheese are allowed), yogurt, beer and wine, alcohol-free and reduced-alcohol beer and wine products, yeast extract, meat extract, and excessive amounts of chocolate or caffeine.
People being treated with phenelzine should also avoid any spoiled or improperly refrigerated, handled, or stored protein-rich foods such as meats, fish, and dairy products, including foods that may have undergone protein breakdown by aging, pickling, fermentation, or smoking to improve flavour.
Diabetes: There is conflicting information about the effect phenelzine has on blood glucose levels. If you have diabetes or are at risk for developing diabetes, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Your doctor may want you to monitor your blood glucose more frequently until you know how this medication affects you.
Epilepsy: Phenelzine may increase the risk of seizures. If you have epilepsy, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Glaucoma: This medication may cause the symptoms of glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye) to become worse. If you have glaucoma, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Report any changes in vision to your doctor as soon as possible while you are taking this medication.
Hypertensive crisis: The most serious reaction associated with taking phenelzine is the occurrence of severe high blood pressure. These reactions include some or all of the following symptoms:
If you have these symptoms, stop taking the medication and get immediate medical attention.
Identification: People taking phenelzine are encouraged to carry a card or other notification of the fact that they are taking this medication.
Other medications: Phenelzine interacts with a number of different medications. Therefore, be sure to tell any health care professional involved in your care of all the medications you are taking, including those that can be bought without a prescription. Always ask your pharmacist for help in choosing over-the-counter medications.
Suicidal or agitated behaviour: People taking this medication may feel agitated (restless, anxious, aggressive, emotional, and feeling not like themselves), or they may want to hurt themselves or others. These symptoms may occur within several weeks after starting this medication. If you experience these side effects or notice them in a family member who is taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. You should be closely monitored by your doctor for emotional and behaviour changes while taking this medication.
Surgery: If you are scheduled to undergo surgery, inform all of the health care professionals involved in your care that you are taking this medication. Ask your doctor when you should stop taking this medication before the surgery – usually this medication should be stopped at least 10 days before the operation.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if phenelzine passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Do not breast-feed while you are taking this medication.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children less than 16 years old.
There may be an interaction between phenelzine and any of the following:
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
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