What should I know about phenelzine before taking it?

Before you take phenelzine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to phenelzine or any other medications. Certain medications, such as other monoamine oxidase inhibitors, can cause severe, even life-threatening, medical conditions if taken in combination with phenelzine. Tell your doctor if you are taking any over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, supplements or prescription drugs.

Some people, especially those under 24 years of age, may have suicidal thoughts when first taking antidepressants. Your doctor will want to see you regularly to monitor for any side effects.

You should not take phenelzine if you have congestive heart failure, liver disease, tumors of the adrenal gland or require surgery under anesthesia. Before taking this drug, tell your doctor if you have a history of hypertension, heart disease, schizophrenia, diabetes, a seizure disorder and hyperactivity. You should avoid foods that contain a high level of a substance called tyramine while taking this drug. High amounts of tyramine are found in foods that are aged or smoked; vegetables such as beans; products fermented with yeast; alcohol; yogurt; large quantities of caffeine; and poorly stored or spoiled foods. Ask your doctor for a complete list of foods to avoid while taking phenelzine. Also, be aware that this drug remains in your system for several weeks after you stop taking it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.