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All about: Eldepryl

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Generic name: Selegiline hydrochloride
Brand names: Eldepryl

Why is Eldepryl prescribed?

Eldepryl is prescribed along with Sinemet (levodopa/carbidopa) for people with Parkinson's disease. It is used when Sinemet no longer seems to be working well. Eldepryl has no effect when taken by itself; it works only in combination with Larodopa (levodopa) or Sinemet.

Parkinson's disease, which causes muscle rigidity and difficulty with walking and talking, involves the progressive degeneration of a particular type of nerve cell. Early on, Larodopa or Sinemet alone may alleviate the symptoms of the disease. In time, however, these medications work less well; their effectiveness seems to switch on and off at random, and the individual may begin to experience side effects such as involuntary movements and "freezing" in mid-motion.

Eldepryl may be prescribed at this stage of the disease to help restore the effectiveness of Larodopa or Sinemet. When you begin to take Eldepryl, you may need a reduced dosage of the other medication.

Most important fact about Eldepryl

Eldepryl belongs to a class of drugs known as MAO inhibitors. These drugs can interact with certain foods--including aged cheeses and meats, pickled herring, beer, and wine--to cause a life-threatening surge in blood pressure. At the dose recommended for Eldepryl, this interaction is not a problem. But for safety's sake, you may want to watch your diet; and you should never take more Eldepryl than the doctor prescribed.

How should you take Eldepryl?

Take Eldepryl and your other Parkinson's medication exactly as prescribed.

--If you miss a dose...

Take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until late afternoon or evening, skip the dose you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at once.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Eldepryl.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Abdominal pain, confusion, dizziness, dry mouth, fainting, hallucinations, nausea, lightheadedness

Why should Eldepryl not be prescribed?

Do not take Eldepryl if you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to it. Do not take narcotic painkillers such as Demerol while you are taking Eldepryl.

Special warnings about Eldepryl

Never take Eldepryl at a higher dosage than prescribed; doing so could put you at risk for a dangerous rise in blood pressure. If you develop a severe headache or any other unusual symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

You may suffer a severe reaction if you combine Eldepryl with tricyclic antidepressants such as Elavil and Tofranil, or with antidepressants that affect serotonin levels, such as Prozac and Paxil. Wait at least 14 days after taking Eldepryl before beginning therapy with any of these drugs. If you have been taking antidepressants such as Prozac and Paxil, you should wait at least 5 weeks before taking Eldepryl. This much time is needed to clear the antidepressant completely from your system.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Eldepryl

If Eldepryl is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Eldepryl with the following:

Antidepressant medications that raise serotonin levels, such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft
Antidepressant medications classified as tricyclics, such as Elavil and Tofranil
Narcotic painkillers such as Demerol, Percocet, and Tylenol with Codeine

Eldepryl may worsen side effects caused by your usual dosage of levodopa.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The effects of Eldepryl during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Although Eldepryl is not known to cause specific birth defects, it should not be taken during pregnancy unless it is clearly needed. It is not known whether Eldepryl appears in breast milk. As a general rule, a nursing mother should not take any drug unless it is clearly necessary.

Recommended dosage

ADULTS

The recommended dose of Eldepryl is 10 milligrams per day divided into 2 smaller doses of 5 milligrams each, taken at breakfast and lunch. There is no evidence of additional benefit from higher doses, and they increase the risk of side effects.

CHILDREN

The use of Eldepryl in children has not been evaluated.

Overdosage

Although no specific information is available about Eldepryl overdosage, it is assumed, because of chemical similarities, that the symptoms would resemble those of overdose with an MAO inhibitor antidepressant.

  • Symptoms of MAO inhibitor overdose may include:
    Agitation, chest pain, clammy skin, coma, convulsions, dizziness, drowsiness, extremely high fever, faintness, fast and irregular pulse, hallucinations, headache (severe), high blood pressure, hyperactivity, inability to breathe, irritability, lockjaw, low blood pressure (severe), shallow breathing, spasm of the entire body, sweating

It is important to note that after a large overdose, symptoms may not appear for up to 12 hours and may not reach their full force for 24 hours or more. An overdose can be fatal. If you suspect an Eldepryl overdose, seek medical attention immediately. Hospitalization is recommended, with continuous observation and monitoring for at least 2 days.

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