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What should seniors know before using Nardil?

Before taking the antidepressant Nardil (phenelzine), seniors should know that the drug has not been studied thoroughly in people ages 65 and older, and that it's possible that they might respond differently to Nardil than younger people do. However, the drug has been in use since 1961 and is considered safe when used as directed.

Nardil belongs to a category of drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors or MAOIs, the oldest class of antidepressants. MAOIs help treat depression, anxiety and some other conditions in adults by raising the levels of certain brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), but because MAOIs are relatively likely to cause side effects, they're usually prescribed only after other antidepressants have failed to improve symptoms.

Seniors are more likely to have certain medical conditions (kidney, heart, or liver problems) or take certain medications that put them at increased risk for side effects from Nardil. If you're considering this drug, you should make sure your doctor takes a detailed medical history, so that he or she knows about all conditions you have now or have had in the past. It's also important to give your doctor a list of all your medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and supplements. If you do go on Nardil, do not take any new drug or supplement without consulting your doctor first.

It's important for anyone considering Nardil to know that it can interact with certain foods, causing potentially serious spikes in blood pressure that could lead to stroke. Meats, dairy products, and vegetables that are aged, pickled, fermented or smoked may be particularly likely to cause this problem. Ask your doctor for a complete list of foods you should avoid while taking Nardil.

Doctors usually start seniors on a lower dose of Nardil than younger people who take the drug, and may gradually increase the dose as needed. Talk to your doctor for more information about Nardil and whether the drug is right for you.

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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.