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Isocarboxazid is a non-selective hydrazine monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor. In vivo and in vitro studies demonstrated inhibition of MAO in the brain, heart, and liver. The mechanism by which MAO inhibitors act as antidepressants is not fully understood, but it is thought to involve the elevation of brain levels of biogenic amines. However, MAO is a complex enzyme system, widely distributed throughout the body, and drugs that inhibit MAO in the laboratory are associated with a number of clinical effects. Thus, it is unknown whether MAO inhibition per se, other pharmacologic actions, or an interaction of both is responsible for the antidepressant effects observed.
Marplan (isocarboxazid) pharmacokinetic information is not available.
Clinical Efficacy Data
The effectiveness of Marplan (isocarboxazid) was demonstrated in two 6-week placebo-controlled studies conducted in adult outpatients with depressive symptoms that corresponded to the DSM-IV category of major depressive disorder. The patients often also had signs and symptoms of anxiety (anxious mood, panic, and/or phobic symptoms). Patients were initiated with a dose of 10 mg bid, with increases every 2 to 4 days, as tolerated, until a therapeutic effect was achieved, up to a maximum dose of 80 mg/day. Doses were administered on a divided schedule ranging from 2 to 4 times a day. The mean dose overall for both studies was approximately 40 mg/day, with very few patients receiving doses greater than 60 mg/day. In both studies at the end of 6 weeks, patients receiving Marplan (isocarboxazid) had significantly greater reduction in signs and symptoms of depression evaluated by the Hamilton Depression Scale, for both the Total Score and the Depressed Mood Score, than patients who received placebo.
Last reviewed on RxList: 9/14/2007
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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