Tranylcypromine is used to treat depression in people who have not been helped by other medications. Tranylcypromine is in a class of medications called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). It works by increasing the amounts of certain natural substances that are needed to maintain mental balance.

Side Effects Of Tranylcypromine

Tranylcypromine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • drowsiness
  • weakness
  • dry mouth
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • stomach pain
  • blurred vision
  • chills
  • ringing in the ears
  • muscle tightening or jerking
  • uncontrollable shaking of any part of the body
  • numbness, burning or tingling in the arms or legs
  • difficulty urinating
  • decreased sexual ability
  • hair loss
  • rash

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:

  • headache
  • slow, fast, or pounding heartbeat
  • chest pain or tightness
  • tightening of the throat
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • fever
  • cold, clammy skin
  • dizziness
  • neck stiffness or soreness
  • sensitivity to light
  • widened pupils (black circles in the middle of the eyes)
  • swelling of arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • flu-like symptoms
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes

Tranylcypromine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.

Warnings & Precautions

Before taking tranylcypromine:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to tranylcypromine or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor if you are taking, you have recently taken, or you plan to take any of the following prescription or non-prescription medications: certain other antidepressants including amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine, clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), maprotiline, nortriptyline (Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil); amphetamines such as amphetamine (in Adderall), benzphetamine (Didrex), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Dextrostat, in Adderall), and methamphetamine (Desoxyn); bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban); buspirone (BuSpar); caffeine (No-Doz, Quick-Pep, Vivarin); cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril); dexfenfluramine (Redux) (not available in the U.S.); dextromethorphan (Robitussin, others); diuretics (‘water pills’); levodopa (Larodopa, in Sinemet);medications for allergies,cough and cold symptoms, and hay fever;medications for high blood pressure such as guanethidine (Ismelin) (not available in the U.S.), methyldopa (Aldomet), and reserpine (Serpalan);medications for Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, or weight loss (diet pills); medications for seizures such as carbamazepine (Tegretol); narcotic medications for pain; other MAOIs such as isocarboxazid (Marplan); pargyline (not available in the U.S.), phenelzine (Nardil), procarbazine (Matulane), and selegiline (Eldepryl); meperidine (Demerol); sedatives; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as citalopram (Celexa), duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft);sleeping pills; tranquilizers; and medications containing alcohol (Nyquil, elixirs, others). Your doctor may tell you not to take tranylcypromine if you are taking or have recently stopped taking one or more of these medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: disulfiram (Antabuse), doxepin cream (Zonalon), insulin and oral medications for diabetes, and medications for nausea or mental illness. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • you should know that tranylcypromine may remain in your body for several weeks after you stop taking the medication. During the first few weeks after your treatment ends, tell your doctor and pharmacist that you have recently stopped taking tranylcypromine before you start taking any new medications.
  • tell your doctor if you are taking any nutritional supplements, especially tryptophan.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high blood pressure; frequent or severe headaches; pheochromocytoma (a tumor on a small gland near the kidneys);a stroke or mini-stroke; or heart, blood vessel, or liver disease. Your doctor may tell you not to take tranylcypromine.
  • tell your doctor if you use or have ever used street drugs or have overused prescription medications. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had anxiety, agitation, diabetes, seizures, or kidney or thyroid disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking tranylcypromine, call your doctor.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, or any x-ray procedure, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking tranylcypromine.
  • you should know that this medication may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
  • remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication. Do not drink alcohol while you are taking tranylcypromine.
  • you should know that tranylcypromine may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from a lying position. This is more common when you first start taking tranylcypromine. To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.

Dosage Of Tranylcypromine

Tranylcypromine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day. Take tranylcypromine at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take tranylcypromine exactly as directed.

Tranylcypromine may be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor. Call your doctor if you find that you want to take extra medication or you notice any other unusual changes in your behavior or mood.

Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of tranylcypromine and gradually increase your dose, not more often than once every 1-3 weeks. After your symptoms improve, your doctor will probably gradually decrease your dose of tranylcypromine.

Tranylcypromine controls the symptoms of depression but does not cure the condition. It may take 3 weeks or longer for you to feel the full benefit of tranylcypromine. Continue to take tranylcypromine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking tranylcypromine without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably want to decrease your dose gradually.


Keep all appointments with your doctor. Your doctor will check your blood pressure often during your treatment with tranylcypromine.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.