Isocarboxazid is a type of medication known as a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor, and is used in depression treatment. This medication follows the unsuccessful treatment of the condition with other medications, and is only used in those with short-term depression. Isocarboxazid helps depression by increasing the amount of chemicals in the brain responsible for stabilizing one's mental state.
The medication itself comes in tablet form and is ingested orally. Although the dose will depend on the specific condition of a patient, the usual frequency of treatment is two to four doses a day. Each dose can be taken by itself or alongside food or liquid. It is important that a patient follow his or her treatment instructions and, for safety reasons, does not take more or less of the medication than prescribed. This includes taking a missed dose that will coincide with the timing of a regular dose.
Isocarboxazid has the potential to be habit-forming. When a patient first begins treatment, the doctor will gradually increase his or her dosage to the appropriate amount. Similarly, the doctor will also gradually decrease the dosage when symptoms improve and the treatment ends. The reason for a careful decrease in dosage is to try and prevent the patient from experiencing withdrawal, something that can occur if the patient suddenly stops taking the medication. Even with a gradual decrease, though, there is always the possibility of suffering withdrawal symptoms, and if this occurs, the patient should speak with his or her doctor.
As with any other medication, isocarboxazid can cause side effects. Side effects do not affect each patient and those who do experience them might feel them in different degrees. Some common, mild side effects include diarrhea, dry mouth and problems with urination. Less common, more serious side effects include chest pain, neck soreness or stiffness and severe headache. Unlike serious side effects, which call for immediate medical attention, mild side effects do not necessarily require a patient to contact his or her doctor unless the side effects persist or get worse.
It is possible to take too much of isocarboxazid and, as such, it is important to be aware that some side effects, whether mild or severe, might be symptoms of an overdose. Signs of an overdose include fever, incoherence and slowed reflexes. In addition to an overdose, isocarboxazid poses other risks as well, including interactions with medical conditions or other drugs. One important risk to note is the possibility of suicidal behavior or thoughts, which can occur in any patient undergoing isocarboxazid treatment. Before taking isocarboxazid, a patient should discuss these and other risks with his or her doctor to better gauge if the medication is a fit for his or her specific condition.