Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): Phenelzine


Phenelzine or Nardil is an antidepressant and is in the group called monoamime oxidase inhibitors or MAOIs . If you are taking an MAOI, you will need to know about some important diet restrictions.

Dry Mouth or Decreased Salivation

Dry mouth (or decreased salivation) can be rather annoying. Although it may not go away completely, it does usually improve with time.

Daily Routine Strategies to Help Combat Dry Mouth:

Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day
Suck on hard candy
Eat frozen grapes
Suck on ice chips
Visit the dentist more frequently to maintain tooth and gum health


This uncomfortable side effect does not usually go away, but it can usually be managed successfully. There are many medications that will cause you to become constipated. Do not take any over the counter laxative or supplemental fiber products before consulting with your doctor.

Daily Routine Strategies to Help Combat Constipation:

Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day
Eat the daily recommended allowance of fiber foods, including breads, fruits, and vegetables — try eating two salads per day
Exercise regularly


Insomnia can mean difficulty with falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. The problem can range in severity. There are many medications that will cause insomnia. Your chances depend both upon your own physiology and the particular medication you are taking. Call your doctor. Most doctors will tell you to take the medication in the morning to reduce the effects of insomnia. Or, s/he may prescribe a medicine to help you sleep, change your dose, or change your medication.

Daily Routine Strategies to Help Combat Insomnia:

Many people say that reducing their caffeine intake helps with insomnia
Others say that practicing relaxation techniques, listening to music or reading, before going to bed helps
Avoid eating heavy meals before bedtime
Avoid exercising before bedtime

Sexual Problems


Changes in sexual function may include difficulty achieving orgasms, delayed ejaculation, decreased physical sensation or problems with erections. These problems are sometimes the most difficult for people to discuss. They might feel embarrased and instead of mentioning it to their physician, they suffer with it or worse yet stop their medication on their own. Doctors are very accustomed to talking about these problems and they are interested in helping you get better from your illness. They may be able to change the time of your medication or add a medication to help with these side effects or risks.

Dizziness (or Orthostatic Hypotension)

You may feel dizzy or lightheaded as the result of sitting/standing up too quickly. This occurs because your blood pressure drops a significant amount when you change your posture. The condition should correct itself quickly, in a matter of moments, but it is important to let your doctor know about this problem right away.

To avoid injury from dizziness induced falls:

Make sure to change from a lying to sitting and sitting to standing position more slowly than you usually would.
Use solid supports when getting up. Have something strong to lean on should you become dizzy.



Any antidepressant medication may cause an increase in mood called hypomania. Hypomanic symptoms include feeling “super good” (euphoria), racing thoughts (too many thoughts that come to your mind too quickly), pressured speech (friends may say you are speaking too fast), or feeling like you have “too much energy”. If you notice any of these changes contact your doctor right away. He or she can help you determine if your change in mood seems unusual. A change in medication or dose may be needed.

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Hypertensive Crisis

Hypertensive Crisis is a very serious condition where your blood pressure raises and doesn’t return to normal levels. The symptoms of hypertensive crisis are headaches, neck stiffness or soreness, nausea or vomiting, sweating, clammy skin, visual disturbances. If you are having these symptoms and are taking a MAOI, call you doctor and go to the emergency room.



Glaucoma occurs when the eye is unable to get rid of excess fluid, thus the fluid builds up and puts pressure on the optic nerve.. It causes blurry vision, rainbow halos around lights, headaches, and nausea and vomiting. It can be caused by some antidepressant medications. Should you have blurry vision, tell your doctor. Regular glaucoma screening tests are very important if you are taking antidepressants.

Liver Problems

On very rare occasions, a medication can irritate the liver and produce inflammation. The symptoms of liver irritation include extreme tiredness, severe nausea, and yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin. If you notice any of these symptoms beginning to develop, call your doctor immediately. Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and modify your prescription accordingly.