The Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI)
Monoamine oxidase is an enzyme that is found in many parts of the body. In the brain, monoamine oxidase destroys neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and serotonin. So MAO inhibitors, by limiting the activity of monoamine oxidase, block the breakdown of those neurotransmitters. They work more quickly than the tricyclics, but they have more severe side effects and require a change in diet.
Leading MAOIs are: phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), Seligiline (Eldepryl), and isocarboxazid (Marplan).
MAOIs are generally prescribed :
Side Effects of MAOIs
MAOIs react with certain foods and alcoholic beverages, and some medications, to produce a severe reaction. The reaction, which often does not appear for several hours after taking the medication, may include a dangerous rise in blood pressure, as well as headache, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, possible confusion, psychotic symptoms, seizures, stroke and coma.
The foods that interact with MAOIs include aged cheeses; smoked, pickled, fermented and otherwise processed meats, fish and soy products; Chianti and other red wines; fava beans and ripe figs; and foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG). These foods all contain large amounts of the amino acid tyramine, which, when it interacts with MAOIs, dramatically raises blood pressure.
For a more detailed list please see: Foods And Beverages To Avoid If You Are Taking MAOI
Drugs with which MAOIs may interact include some over- the-counter cold and allergy medicines and appetite suppressants, local anesthetics, insulin, medicines used to treat Parkinson's disease, amphetamines and cocaine. See a detailed description at: Drug Interaction Guide For MAOI Antidepressants
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