Mixing Parnate with Alcohol
Today, Parnate is the third line of treatment for most types of depression in favor of other more modern drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Doctors may still prescribe MAO inhibitors like tranylcypromine for medication-resistant or atypical types of depression, especially when anxiety is involved.
Parnate should never be mixed with other medications that increase levels of serotonin in the brain. Combining tranylcypromine with an SSRI like Prozac can result in serotonin overload and the onset of serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome can lead to psychosis and permanent brain damage if left untreated.
Patients taking Parnate should avoid eating foods or drinking alcohol that contains the nutrient tyramine. Tyramine is produced during fermentation and is present in dangerous quantities in fermented cheeses, aged meats, and chocolate, among others.
Parnate is thought to reduce anxiety by increasing the expression of the neurotransmitter GABA, which is responsible for calming down the activity of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate when it becomes overactive.
Tranylcypromine is known to be stimulatory for some patients due to its activity on the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. High concentrations of tyramine in the blood plasma can increase the release of norepinephrine. Typically, the body would get rid of the excess norepinephrine before it can cause a dangerous rise in blood pressure. However, under the effects of Parnate, this mechanism becomes inhibited. Blood vessels constrict, blood pressure elevates, and a severe hypertensive crisis can occur.
Individuals will also need to follow a tyramine-free diet while taking tranylcypromine. The presence of tyramine in the blood along with tranylcypromine can lead to a hypertensive crisis. Parnate treatment can lead to birth defects in babies whose mothers take the drug. Mothers who are nursing should also avoid Parnate, and other MAOIs, as the drug is present in the milk during lactation.
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Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.
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