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Generic name: Tranylcypromine (tran il SIP roe meen)
Brand name: Parnate®
All FDA warnings are at the end of this fact sheet. Please consult them before taking this medication.
Tranylcypromine is an antidepressant medication that works in the brain. It is approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD).
Symptoms of depression include:
Tranylcypromine may help some or all these symptoms.
Tranylcypromine may also be helpful when prescribed “off-label” for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), seasonal affective disorder, and social phobia. “Off-label” means that it hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this condition. Your mental health provider should justify his or her thinking in recommending an “off-label” treatment. They should be clear about the limits of the research around that medication and if there are any other options.
Do not stop taking tranylcypromine, even when you feel better. With input from you, your health care provider will assess how long you will need to take the medicine.
Missing doses of tranylcypromine may increase your risk for relapse in your symptoms.
Stopping tranylcypromine abruptly may result in one or more of the following withdrawal symptoms: irritability, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, nightmares, headache, and/or paresthesias (prickling, tingling sensation on the skin).
Depression is also a part of bipolar illness. People with bipolar disorder who take antidepressants may be at risk for "switching" from depression into mania. Symptoms of mania include "high" or irritable mood, very high self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, pressure to keep talking, racing thoughts, being easily distracted, frequently involved in activities with a large risk for bad consequences (for example, excessive buying sprees).
Medical attention should be sought if serotonin syndrome is suspected. Please refer to serious side effects for signs/symptoms.
The safety of Tranylcypromine use during pregnancy has not been established. Tranylcypromine crosses the placenta. In general, using monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) is not recommended during pregnancy as the mother could develop hypertensive crisis, which could be detrimental to the fetus.
If you are planning on becoming pregnant, notify your health care provider to best manage your medications. People living with MDD who wish to become pregnant face important decisions. Untreated MDD has risks to the fetus, as well as the mother. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with your doctor and caregivers.
The safety of Tranylcypromine use during breastfeeding has not been established.
Tranylcypromine is usually taken one to three times per day depending on dose with or without food.
Typically, patients begin at 10 mg three times a day and the dose is increased by 10 mg per day every 1 to 3 weeks. Only your healthcare provider can determine the correct dose for you.
The dose usually ranges from 30mg to 60mg per day. Only your health care provider can determine the correct dose for you.
Consider using a calendar, pillbox, alarm clock, or cell phone alert to help you remember to take your medication. You may also ask a family member or friend to remind you or check in with you to be sure you are taking your medication.
If you miss a dose of tranylcypromine take it as soon as you remember, unless it is closer to the time of your next dose. Discuss this with your health care provider. Do not double your next dose or take more than what is prescribed.
Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while you are taking antidepressant medications. They may decrease the benefits (e.g., worsen your condition) and increase adverse effects (e.g., sedation) of the medication.
Special Dietary Considerations: Foods rich in tyramine and may cause a sudden and severe high blood pressure (hypertensive crisis). Avoid high protein food that has undergone protein break down via aging, fermentation, pickling, smoking, or bacterial contamination. Also avoid beverages containing tyramine. Food freshness is also important; avoid any food that may potentially be spoiled, improperly refrigerated, stored, or handled. It is important to also avoid food with excessive amounts of caffeine and/or chocolate.
Examples of food to avoid include:
These dietary considerations should be taken into consideration for 2 weeks even after tranylcypromine is discontinued. Discuss with health care provider any other foods or specific dietary concerns.
If an overdose occurs, call your doctor or 911. You may need urgent medical care. You may also contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
A specific treatment to reverse the effects of tranylcypromine does not exist.
Common side effects
Rare side effects
Hypertensive crisis (symptoms may include occipital headache-start in the back and radiate to the front, heart palpitations, nausea/vomiting, neck stiffness/soreness, light sensitivity, sweating, tachycardia or bradycardia indicated by constricting chest pain
To date, there are no known problems associated with long term use of tranylcypromine. It is a safe and effective medication when used as directed.
Tranylcypromine should not be taken with or within 2 weeks (5 weeks for fluoxetine) of any other mental health medications including other antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications. Tranylcypromine may also interact with some pain medication, medications for migraines, amphetamines, and antibiotics. Please inform your health care providers of all your current medications and any substance use at the time of prescribing to avoid any potential side effects.
There is an increased risk of serotonin syndrome when tranylcypromine is used with other medications that increase serotonin, such as other antidepressants, migraine medications called “triptans” (e.g., Imitrex®), some pain medications (e.g., tramadol (Ultram®), amphetamines, and the antibiotic linezolid (Zyvox®).
The following medications may increase the levels and effects of tranylcypromine: alcohol, alfuzosin, amantadine, antipsychotics, barbiturates, blood pressure lowering agents, buprenorphine, buspirone, carbamazepine, cyclobenzaprine, fentanyl, ipratropium (oral inhalation), levodopa, methadone, methylene blue, oxycodone, opioid analgesics, pentoxifylline, pheniramine, phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (including sildenafil), tramadol, tetrabenazine, valbenazine
The following medications may decrease the levels and effects of tranylcypromine: acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, amifampridine, cyproheptadine, domperidone.
Tranylcypromine may increase the levels and effects of antipsychotics, atomoxetine, bupropion, cyproheptadine, deutetrabenazine, dopamine, dextromethorphan, codeine, heroin, hydrocodone, lithium, methylphenidate, morphine, mirtazapine, MAO-Is, norepinephrine, opioid analgesics, pindolol, SSRIs, SNRIs, topiramate, tramadol, tricyclic antidepressants.
Tranylcypromine may decrease the levels and effects of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, gastrointestinal agents, amifampridine, domperidone, nitroglycerin, secretin.
It is very important to tell your doctor how you feel things are going during the first few weeks after you start taking Tranylcypromine. It will probably take up to three weeks to see big enough changes in your symptoms to decide if Tranylcypromine is the right medication for you.
Suicidal Thoughts or Actions in Children and Adults
In short-term studies, antidepressants increased the risk of suicidality in children, adolescents, and young adults when compared to placebo. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24. Adults age 65 and older taking antidepressants have a decreased risk of suicidality. Patients, their families, and caregivers should be alert to the emergence of anxiety, restlessness, irritability, aggressiveness and insomnia. If these symptoms emerge, they should be reported to the patient’s prescriber or health care professional. All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should watch for and notify their health care provider for worsening symptoms, suicidality and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment.
Last Reviewed: January 2024
Important Disclosure: This information is being provided as a community outreach effort of the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists. This information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical advice. This information contains a summary of important points and is not an exhaustive review of information about the medication. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified medical professional with any questions you may have regarding medications or medical conditions. Never delay seeking professional medical advice or disregard medical professional advice as a result of any information provided herein. The American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists disclaims any and all liability alleged as a result of the information provided herein.
©2022 The American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). AAPP and NAMI make this document available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Last Updated: January 2016.