Drug interactions. MAOIs and other antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), should not be combined. Сombining these two medications can result in possibly lethal serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a condition that may occur when two or more medicines alter brain serotonin levels. Also, if combined with MAOIs, some over-the-counter supplements, like St. John’s Wort, might cause serotonin syndrome.
Food interactions. Tyramine-rich meals and drinks must be avoided while taking MAOIs to avoid possibly fatal high blood pressure increases. A substance called tyramine is present in many foods: aged cheeses, salami, grapefruit, red wine, etc. The MAO enzyme controls the blood pressure-lowering effects of this substance. Tyramine can accumulate to dangerously high levels and cause high blood pressure when the MAO enzyme is suppressed.
Precautions and Monitoring
Consider the following precautions before starting MAOI therapy:
- Medical conditions. Tell your doctor if you have diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, or any other medical condition.
- Pregnancy. It is advisable to explore the advantages and disadvantages of MAOI medication beforehand if you are a nursing mother or pregnant.
- Discontinuation syndrome. When reducing or quitting MAOI medication, some patients complain of withdrawal-like symptoms. These symptoms are thought to represent the brain’s attempt to balance serotonin and norepinephrine levels following a rapid change. Consult your doctor before stopping or quitting medication.
- Risk of suicide. In 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration released a statement. Requiring all antidepressant drug manufacturers to put a warning on their medicines regarding a potential rise in suicidal thoughts and actions in young people up to the age of 24, especially during the initial treatment.
Before You Leave
Although newer antidepressants with fewer side effects and no tight dietary restrictions have replaced MAOIs, MAOI drugs are still a viable option for some patients.
Only a licensed physician can prescribe the best medicine for your symptoms. To get a professional assessment of your depression symptoms, speak with mental health professionals at Mango Clinic.