Depression can be addressed in patients through exercise, therapy and/or prescriptions. Antidepressants designed to treat these disorders are divided into different groups. These prescription groups are:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Nardil (phenelzine) is an antidepressant medication in the MAOI group.
Misusing the medication or taking a different amount of Nardil than prescribed can lead to serious side effects. Since MAOIs affect brain chemistry, not following the doctor’s recommendations make it more likely for the patient to suffer severe side effects that can be life-threatening. On top of the normal side effect risks, misusing phenelzine can also result in hyperactivity, irregular pulse, difficulty breathing, hallucinations, unusual muscle contractions, seizures, hypertension, hypotension, fever, coma or death.
It is essential that you work with your doctor and follow their instructions closely while taking this MAOI to treat your depression. They are there to help you.
Nardil is the brand name for the generic antidepressant phenelzine. As previously mentioned, the medication belongs to the MAOI group of antidepressants. These work by balancing the neurochemicals in the brain which are known to cause depression symptoms. Due to the way MAOIs operate, the neurochemical adjustments can cause unwanted side effects. This prescription is not recommended for people under 25, as it may increase suicidal thoughts.
Some side effects from taking phenelzine are weakness, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth, gastrointestinal issues or impotence. There are more serious side effects that can occur and, if shown, you should contact your doctor immediately. These side effects to watch out for include:
- agitation or unwanted changes in behavior
- rapid weight gain
- changes in heart rate or chest pain
- severe or sudden headaches
- stiffness in your neck
- sensitivity to light or vision problems.
If you’re taking phenelzine, you need to follow a strict diet, as the medication can interact with certain foods containing tyramine. The interaction can cause a severe reaction that may be fatal, so check with your doctor about your dietary needs.
Due to the side effect risks of phenelzine, doctors will typically choose this medication only after other antidepressant medication types have been tried and failed.
Although phenelzine isn’t listed specifically as an addictive prescription, it does affect chemicals in your brain. As with any medication that alters your body chemistry, stopping the treatment plan for an antidepressant can be tricky. To lessen the likelihood of withdrawal symptoms from Nardil, your doctor will gradually lower your dosage of the medication. It is never recommended to abruptly stop taking phenelzine or any other antidepressant. Work with your doctor to find the right pace to safely end the treatment plan.
Even though you will be working with your doctor and weaning off the medication slowly, you may still experience side effects from discontinuance. These may include:
- flu-like symptoms
Nardil is a prescription which is processed by the liver; therefore, extended long-term use can damage the liver and lead to cirrhosis. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about taking Nardil long-term, especially if you have had previous liver problems.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.