1 What is Marplan?

Brand: Marplan

Generic: Isocarboxazid

Marplan is an antidepressant medication approved to treat short-term (less than 6 weeks) depression in patients that failed to respond to other medications.

Depression is a mental disorder characterized by very low mood that affects all aspects of life and inability to experience pleasure in things formally enjoyed. Many cases of depression improve over time with or without the use of antidepressants.

Isocarboxazid is prescribed for depression that failed to improve from contemporary antidepressants. It works by causing changes in chemicals in the brain to help elevate the mood.

Isocarboxazid belongs to an older class of antidepressants and has notable side effects. It carries special boxed warnings due to risks of suicidal behavior when given to younger adults, teenagers, and children.

Depression is associated with suicidal thoughts and early recovery, either naturally or through medications, may increase the likelihood of attempting suicide.

Aside from increased suicide risk, Isocarboxazid is also known to interact with several medications and food items that result in undesirable effects.

This explains why Isocarboxazid is not widely used to treat depression and not recommended for long-term use.

Other antidepressant medications belonging to newer classes have fewer side effects and interactions, and therefore preferred for use.

Isocarboxazid is a prescription medication and must be used only with doctor’s instructions.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Marplan, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. You cannot use Marplan if you are allergic to it.

If you experienced previous sensitivities to Isocarboxazid, tell it to your doctor. Isocarboxazid has several important contraindications, so tell the doctor all of your health conditions before taking the drug.

You cannot use Isocarboxazid if you have these health conditions:

Note that you cannot eat certain foods while taking Isocarboxazid. Isocarboxazid is an MAO inhibitor, which promotes high levels of tyramine in the bloodstream.

Excessive tyramine increases blood pressure, and taking MAO inhibitors like Isocarboxazid can result to dangerous hypertension that can lead to stroke or heart attacks.

Here are the foods that you must avoid while taking Isocarboxazid:

  • Strong and aged cheeses such as aged cheddar, Swiss (Emmentaler) cheese, blue cheeses, Camembert, Parmesan, and Stilton.
  • Cured meats like pepperoni, salami, and sausages
  • Smoked and processed meats and fish such as hot dogs, bologna, bacon, salted or corned beef, smoked or dried fish
  • Pickled or fermented items such as kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, tofu and caviar
  • Sour cream
  • Liver
  • Raisins
  • Banana
  • Avocados
  • Sauces like soy sauce, shrimp-based sauces, fish sauce, miso and teriyaki sauce
  • Soybeans and products made from soy
  • Broad beans, snow peas, and pods
  • Dried and overripe fruits, including raisins and prunes
  • Meat tenderizers and meat products with tenderizers
  • Yeast and yeast-based food items like Marmite, brewer’s yeast, and sourdough bread
  • Alcohol and alcoholic beverages
  • Foods stored improperly and spoiled foods

Make sure to tell all the medicines you take before receiving Isocarboxazid, including over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and herbal substances. Isocarboxazid interacts with several medicines.

You cannot take Isocarboxazid if you are taking or if you recently took the following medicines within the last 14 days:

  • Antihistamines
  • Stimulants and anorexiants
  • Apraclonidine
  • Drugs for hypertension
  • Bupropion
  • Buspirone
  • High levels of caffeine
  • Cannabis and substances containing cannabinoids
  • Central nervous system depressants like narcotics, opioids, and alcohol
  • General anesthetics
  • Local vasoconstrictor medicines
  • Meperidine
  • Other MAO inhibitors
  • Amitriptyline, Clomipramine, Desipramine, Imipramine, Nortriptyline, Protriptyline, Doxepin, Carbamazepine, Cyclobenzaprine, Amoxapine, Maprotiline, Trimipramine
  • Drugs for depression and anxiety
  • Amphetamines, Cocaine, Phenylephrine, Pseudoephedrine
  • Methyldopa, Reserpine, Levodopa, Tryptophan

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, tell it to your doctor before receiving Isocarboxazid. Isocarboxazid is contraindicated in pregnant patients because it can harm the unborn baby.

Do not nurse a baby while taking Isocarboxazid because it can be expressed in breast milk.

Isocarboxazid is not proven safe when given to children. Isocarboxazid can also be used on elderly, though they tend to be more sensitive to its effects.

3 Proper Usage

To use Marplan properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. Be sure to completely understand the information in the leaflet before taking Marplan.

The doctor will determine your dose of Isocarboxazid and will change it several times depending on seen improvements. You can only take Isocarboxazid for up to 6 weeks maximum.

Effects of Isocarboxazid on improving mood can be evident after taking it continuously for 3 to 6 weeks.

You can take Isocarboxazid with or without food. Do not stop taking Isocarboxazid or change doses without asking the doctor.

Make sure to avoid contraindicated food and medicines while receiving Isocarboxazid.

Isocarboxazid is discontinued by tapering down the doses as instructed by your doctor.

If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and stick to the regular dosing schedule.

Do not take more or take twice the dose to make up for the missed dose.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Marplan, there are some precautions you must take. Patients taking Marplan must be closely monitored during the early days of treatment. The doctor must be called if the patient exhibits unusual changes in behavior, suicidal behavior, and ideation, or worsening of symptoms.

Therefore, if you receive Isocarboxazid, be aware of the importance of monitoring. You must report to your family or doctor if you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide, or do not experience improvement of mood after taking Isocarboxazid for at least 3 weeks.

You need more monitoring at the start of Isocarboxazid treatment and whenever the doctor changes your dose.

Isocarboxazid may cause dizziness or drowsiness. You must not drive, operate heavy machinery or perform dangerous tasks requiring concentration while receiving Isocarboxazid. Taking alcohol and other CNS depressants can worsen drowsiness and dizziness.

Note that hot weather, intake of alcohol, exercise and fever can enhance drowsiness caused by taking Isocarboxazid.

Do not drink large amounts of coffee, tea, chocolate, cola drinks and energy drinks while receiving Isocarboxazid. Follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Do not eat foods rich in tyramine while receiving Isocarboxazid to avoid serious health problems. If you are confused in which food to eat, call your doctor.

Note that Isocarboxazid may raise blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes. Monitor your sugar levels accordingly and call the doctor for help in adjusting doses of diabetic medicines.

If you will receive care from another doctor, dentist or underwent emergency treatment, make sure to tell them you are taking Isocarboxazid.

If you became pregnant or breastfeed while receiving Isocarboxazid, call the doctor right away.

5 Potential Side Effects

Make sure you meet with your doctor in using Marplan to avoid unwanted potential side effects.

Sudden withdrawal or stopping use of Marplan can cause withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, confusion, depression, diarrhea, hallucinations, headaches, restlessness and weakness.

You can avoid these uncomfortable effects by calling the doctor and following the tapering of the drug. Isocarboxazid can cause severe side effects, which needs doctor’s attention.

Call the doctor if you experience the following:

  • Severe allergic reactions such as chest tightness, difficulty breathing, hives, itching and swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Agitation, feelings of hostility, aggression, and irritability
  • Cold clammy skin
  • Insomnia
  • Fast or irregular heart rate
  • Impotence or loss of interest in sex
  • Impulsivity
  • Severe restlessness
  • Unusual change in behavior
  • Nausea
  • Stiffness of the neck
  • Panic attacks
  • Pounding in the chest
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Sweating
  • Tightness in the throat or chest
  • Vomiting
  • Widened pupils
  • Jaundice
  • Worsening of depression

Isocarboxazid may cause the following minor side effects. You can call the doctor for help if these symptoms become too bothersome:

You can call the doctor for help if these symptoms become too bothersome:

  • Abnormal feeling or sensations in the skin
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Chills
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lightheadedness or fainting, especially when rising from sitting or lying down position
  • Headache
  • Feelings of heaviness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulties in urinating
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden muscle jerking
  • Feeling too drowsy
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Tremors
  • Stomach upset

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