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Parnate and Weight Loss

By Ann Jones ; Updated July 18, 2017

Parnate is one of a class of older antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs. A common side effect of MAOI antidepressants is loss of appetite, which can lead to weight loss. This is strikingly different from newer antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, the side effect profiles of which often include weight gain. Complicating matters is the fact that MAOI inhibitors cannot be taken with certain foods, such as chocolate, wine and aged cheeses, as a dangerous spike in blood pressure may occur.

Facts About Parnate

Parnate, generic name tranylcypromine, is a powerful antidepressant that works by increasing the concentration of the neurotransmitters serotonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine in the brain. Because of the special dietary restrictions, serious side effects and availability of newer antidepressants, HealthyPlace.com reports that MAOI antidepressants are typically prescribed only after all other antidepressants have failed. Although those taking Parnate require close medical supervision, they may find that it gives them relief they were unable to get with other antidepressant medications.

Parnate Side Effects

According to PDRHealth.com, loss of appetite is a common side effect of Parnate. Other side effects include fatigue, weakness, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, chills, dry mouth, decreased urination and impotence. Less common but more serious side effects include vision problems, sensitivity to light, increased heart rate, swelling of feet and ankles, easy bruising or bleeding, neck stiffness, confusion, loss of coordination, fainting and muscle tremors. You should see your doctor immediately if you experience any of the serious side effects.

Loss of Appetite

Increased appetite, particularly for carbohydrates, are common with newer antidepressants like Paxil and Cymbalta. However, Parnate may cause you to lose your appetite or to be unable to eat due to nausea. Your doctor can prescribe medication to help settle your stomach or suggest home remedies. For those whose depression has already led to loss of weight and appetite, further weight loss on Parnate can be particularly dangerous or upsetting. It is crucial that you be in close touch with your physician while taking an MAOI antidepressant.

Increasing Appetite

It may be necessary to take extra measures to increase your appetite to prevent Parnate weight loss. According to an article in the February 15, 2002 issue of "American Family Physician," eating frequent small meals throughout the day can help you meet your calorie requirements and may be easier than sitting down to three larger meals for those with appetite loss. AFP also suggests avoiding drinking much liquid with or just before meals, as it can increase fullness and keep you from eating enough food. Moderate daily exercise can also help boost your appetite, as well as help alleviate depression.

Alternatives to Parnate

Those taking Parnate have often already tried other, newer antidepressants to no avail. However, there are new drugs being marketed all the time, and you never know which of them might effectively treat your depression. Talking to your psychiatrist regularly about the latest research may help you find a newer, better drug than Parnate. Electroconvulsive therapy, while also fraught with side effects, can be effective for some severely depressed patients who prefer not to take medication or who cannot tolerate the side effects of antidepressants.

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