Do not take phenelzine with
- other antidepressants; if you are switching from phenelzine to a different antidepressant, check with your doctor or pharmacist about how long to wait before starting the new antidepressant
- any of the other medicines listed in the table Medicines that may increase risk of serotonin toxicity, unless under careful medical supervision See also What is serotonin toxicity?
- illegal drugs
- methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin) and atomoxetine (Strattera), medicines for ADHD
- methyldopa (Aldomet, Hydopa), a blood pressure medicine
levodopa (Duodopa, Kinson, Madopar, Sinemet, Stalevo) or entacapone (Comtan) for Parkinson’s disease
- dexamphetamine, for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy
- ephedrine (a nasal medicine prepared by pharmacists)
- cold and cough preparations (including those containing dextromethorphan and phenylephrine)
- nasal decongestants (tablets, drops or spray), including those containing pseudoephedrine
- hay fever medicines
- sinus medicine
- asthma inhaler medicines
- appetite suppressants (anti-appetite medicines)
- medicines containing tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylalanine.
- rizatriptan and sumatriptan
Do not take any of the medicines above for 2 to 3 weeks after stopping phenelzine.
Important food interactions with phenelzine
Foods and drinks containing tyramine can interact with MAOIs, and cause a hypertensive crisis. This causes a rapid rise in blood pressure which can result in bleeding the brain or heart failure.
Foods and drinks to avoid while taking a MAOI, and for 2 weeks after you have stopped taking it, include:
- matured or out of date cheese
- fermented, matured or aged meat or liver products (eg, salami, pate)
- improperly stored or spoiled meat, fish and poultry
- yeast extracts (eg, Vegemite, Promite)
- protein extracts
- soy sauce and soy bean extracts (eg, tofu, miso)
- fava or broad bean pods
- pickled herring
- banana chips and banana-flavoured desserts
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a complete list of foods to avoid.
Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following
Always tell your doctor or pharmacist about all other medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter and complementary or alternative medicines. You may need careful monitoring or a change in dose to avoid side effects if you are taking other medicines, including:
- medicines for high blood pressure (anti-hypertensives)
- diuretics (fluid tablets)
- beta blockers, a type of heart or blood pressure medicine.
Phenelzine and alcohol
Avoid or reduce the amount of alcohol that you drink. Do not drink more than two standard drinks per day. Alcohol may make you more sleepy, dizzy and light-headed than usual when you are taking phenelzine. Some kinds of alcohol can also cause a dangerous rise in blood pressure if you are taking phenelzine.
Who can I ask about interactions?
Call the NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) to get information about your prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamins and minerals) from a pharmacist. Your call will be answered by healthdirect Australia (except Queensland and Victoria).
Find out more about
- What phenelzine does and how effective it is
- Who phenelzine is for and who should be cautious
- Side effects of phenelzine
- Brands of phenelzine
If you are starting phenelzine, see 10 things you should know about antidepressants.
For more information
- Starting, switching and stopping antidepressants
- Managing side effects of antidepressants
- Psychological therapies
The consumer medicine information (CMI) for your brand of phenelzine is available from our website or a pharmacist. If you have any concerns about interactions, talk to your health professional. The CMI includes:
- how to take this medicine
- what to do if you forget to take it
- if you take too much (overdose)
- things you must and must not do while taking this medicine
- signs of severe reactions and what to do.
- Australian Medicines Handbook 2015. Adelaide: Australian Medicines Handbook Pty Ltd; 2015 January. [Online].
- Psychotropic Expert Group. Therapeutic Guidelines: Psychotropic, Version 6. In: eTG complete [CD-ROM]. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Limited; 2008.
- Link Medical Products Pty Ltd. Nardil consumer medicine information. 26 July 2010. (Accessed 22 March 2012).