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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Nardil

Generic Name: phenelzine (Pronunciation: FEN el zeen)

What is phenelzine (Nardil)?

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

Phenelzine 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. Phenelzine is not for treating severe depression or bipolar disorder (manic depression).

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

Nardil 15 mg

round, orange, imprinted with PD 270

What are the possible side effects of phenelzine (Nardil)?

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 phenelzine 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:

  • dizziness;
  • feeling weak or drowsy;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • constipation, upset stomach;
  • dry mouth, decreased urination; or
  • impotence, difficulty having an orgasm.

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 is the most important information I should know about phenelzine (Nardil)?

There are many other medicines that can cause serious or life-threatening medical problems if you take them together with phenelzine. Do not take phenelzine 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 phenelzine, you must not drink alcohol or eat foods that are high in tyramine, listed in the "What should I avoid while taking phenelzine?" section of this leaflet. Eating tyramine while you are taking phenelzine 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 phenelzine and call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms.

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



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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