Phenelzine is used to treat depression in such cases when other available drugs are not effective.


What is Phenelzine?

Phenelzine is a MAO inhibitor. It works by blocking the action of monoamine oxidase. In this way, it increases the brain levels of molecules (serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline), which are necessary for maintaining mental balance.


How should Phenelzine be taken?

Typically, Phenelzine is taken orally in the form of tablets, around 3 doses per day. The doctor may initially prescribe a low dose and then gradually increase it whenever necessary.  


Side effects associated with Phenelzine

Possible side effects of Phenelzine include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Sexual problems
  • Uncontrollable tremors
  • Tics and muscle spasms


You should immediately contact a doctor if the drug triggers:

  • Headache
  • Heartbeat variations
  • Stiff or sore neck
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Swelling in the face, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles or calves
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Jaundice


Contraindications and warnings  associated with the use of Phenelzine

During treatment with Phenelzine, it is advised to avoid foods that contain high levels of tyramine and foods containing caffeine. Also, intake of alcohol can increase side effects.

The drug can interfere with the ability to guide and maneuver dangerous machinery and may cause dizziness or fainting when standing up too quickly from a lying position.




Before you take this drug, it is also important to inform your doctor:

  • If you have any allergies to Phenelzine or other drugs;
  • If you are taking any other medicinal products, herbal remedies or supplements. Mentioning in particular: other MAO inhibitors, antidepressants, amphetamines, bupropion, buspirone, caffeine, cyclobenzaprine, dexfenfluramine, dextromethorphan, duloxetine, epinephrine (adrenaline), guanethidine, levodopa, drugs against allergies, drugs against a cough or cold, hay fever medications, anxiety medications, sinusitis, diet pills and appetite suppressants, anticonvulsants, narcotics, nasal decongestants, pargyline, procarbazine, tranylcypromine, selegiline, meperidine, methyldopa, sedatives, SSRI, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, venlafaxine, medicines containing alcohol, barbiturates, beta blockers, insulin and oral hypoglycemic agents, creams made with doxepin, medications for high blood pressure, vitamins, phenylalanine, tyrosine, and Rauvolfia tryptophan supplements
  • If you suffer (or have suffered) from pheochromocytoma, heart or kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, seizures, schizophrenia, agitation, hyperactivity or movement disorders;
  • If you use drugs (or if you have used drugs before)
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


It is important to inform surgeons and dentists of any ongoing treatment with Phenelzine.