Generic name: Phenelzine sulfate.

Nardil is a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor antidepressant. It restores normal mood states by inhibiting MAO from breaking down certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

Quick Facts About Nardil


Used to treat depression and anxiety or phobias mixed with depression.

Nardil Dosage

Take with or without food, as prescribed by your doctor; see list of food interactions. May take up to 4 weeks before you observe effects of the medication. Carry a card or wear a Medic Alert bracelet stating that you are taking Nardil. Abruptly stopping medication may lead to withdrawal symptoms such as nightmares, agitation, strange behavior, and convulsions.

  • Usual adult dose: 15 milligrams (1 tablet) 3 times per day, up to 90 milligrams per day maximum dose. Doctor may reduce maximum dose gradually once desired results are achieved.
  • Usual child dose: not generally prescribed for children under 16 years.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless within 1 hour of next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Nardil Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

agitation, backward arching of head and neck, backward arching of back, cool and clammy skin, coma, convulsions, difficult breathing, dizziness, drowsiness, faintness, hallucinations, high blood pressure, high fever, hyperactivity, irritability, jaw muscle spasms, low blood pressure, pain in the heart area, rapid and irregular pulse, severe headache, sweating. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

Overdose can be fatal.

More common side effects: constipation, disorders of the stomach and intestines, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, excessive sleeping, fatigue, headache, insomnia, low blood pressure (especially when standing up), muscle spasms, muscle twitchings, sexual difficulties, strong reflexes, swelling due to fluid retention, tremors, weakness, weight gain.

Less common or rare Nardil side effects: anxiety, blurred vision, coma, convulsions, delirium, exaggerated feeling of well-being, fever, glaucoma, inability to urinate, involuntary eyeball movements, jitteriness, lack of coordination, liver damage, mania, muscular rigidity, onset of schizophrenia, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, repetitious use of words and phrases, skin rash, sweating, swelling in the throat, tingling sensation, yellowed skin and eyes.


Inform your doctor before combining Nardil with:

blood pressure medications including diuretics and beta-blockers. Avoid taking Nardil with the following medications, and for 2 weeks after therapy; may cause fatal high blood pressure: amphetamines; appetite suppressants such as Tenuate; antidepressants and related medications such as Prozac, Elavil, Triavil, Tegretol, and Flexeril; asthma inhalants such as Proventil and Ventolin; bupropion (Wellbutrin); buspirone (BuSpar); cocaine; cold and cough preparations such as Robitussin DM; guanethidine (Ismelin); Dextromethorphan; hay fever medications such as Contac, Dristan, and Sudafed; L-dopa; L-tryptophan-containing products; L-tyrosine; meperidine (Demerol); methyldopa (Aldomet); narcotics; nasal decongestants; phenylalanine; Ritalin; sinus medications; weight loss medications.

Avoid the following foods while taking Nardil and for 2 weeks after therapy; may cause fatally high’blood pressure: beer (including alcohol-free or reduced alcohol); caffeine in excessive amounts; cheese (except cottage and cream cheeses); chocolate in excessive amounts; dry sausage (including Genoa salami, hard salami, pepperoni, and Lebanon bologna); fava bean pods; liver; meat extract; pickled herring; pickled, fermented, aged, or smoked meat, fish, or dairy products; sauerkraut; spoiled or improperly stored meat, fish, or dairy products; wine (including alcohol-free or reduced-alcohol); yeast extract (including large amounts of brewer’s yeast); yogurt. 

Special Cautions

If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Not known if Nardil appears in breast milk.

No special precautions apply to seniors.

Not generally prescribed for children under 16 years.

  • Promptly report headache or other unusual symptoms.
  • Should not take if you have pheochromocytoma (tumor of adrenal gland), congestive heart failure, history of liver disease, or if you have had an allergic reaction to Nardil.
  • Doctor will prescribe with caution if you are diabetic.
  • Inform your doctor you are taking Nardil before elective surgery.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Nardil side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.