Depression treatment no longer to be supplied in Australia
Australian consumers and health professionals are being advised that phenelzine tablets will no longer being supplied, and stock is currently very limited.
The sponsor of Nardil (phenelzine sulfate) tablets has notified the Therapeutic Goods
Administration (TGA) that they “can no longer supply this medication in Australia due to global
issues with the manufacture of the active pharmaceutical ingredient”.
There are no alternative brands of phenelzine on the Australian market, the TGA said. Supplies of the tablets are very limited, it said.
In a joint statement, the TGA, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia have advised that pharmacists should advise patients taking phenelzine to see their doctor regarding their treatment as soon as possible.
The joint statement also provides advice for health professionals about accessing alternative products and patient management.
“Many patients will have used phenelzine for many years, often with a resolution of symptoms no other anti-depressant has achieved,” the statement said. “There will be considerable anxiety and distress in this community about this discontinuation”.
“This will be enhanced by a lack of experience in these medicines by GPs and psychiatrists. General practitioners should consult with a psychiatrist regarding treatment options and transition.
It will be appropriate for some patients to have a trial of being medicine free. Again, it is likely there will be considerable anxiety about this, and many patients will wish to switch to another antidepressant,” it said.
Phenelzine is a non-selective and irreversible monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) of the hydrazine class.
The only remaining non-selective irreversible MAOI available in Australia is tranylcypromine, the statement advised.
“Tranylcypromine is a non-hydrazine MAOI and differs significantly from phenelzine in some aspects….. Tranylcypromine may be an appropriate alternative antidepressant for some patients; however, it is important to consider an individual’s physical health and psychiatric history, and whether a MAOI is still appropriate”.
The TGA said it was closely monitoring supply of tranylcypromine. 20