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Monoamine oxidase inhibitor dietary restrictions: what are we asking patients to give up?

Sweet RA, et al. J Clin Psychiatry. 1995.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Though the list of possible indications for monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) continues to expand, many psychiatrists remain hesitant about prescribing MAOIs, citing concerns about dietary prohibitions and hypertensive reactions. Data about psychiatric patients' frequency of consumption of foods, beverages, and medications prohibited during MAOI use are lacking.

METHOD: We conducted a survey of 139 psychiatric patients admitted to either an inpatient unit specializing in the treatment of mood disorders or an outpatient anxiety disorders clinic specializing in the treatment of social phobia. At inclusion, patients were not being treated with MAOIs, although they might have received such treatment afterward. All patients completed a self-report questionnaire created for this study to ascertain their consumption of food, beverage, and medication items frequently found on MAOI diet lists. Demographic and diagnostic information was also recorded.

RESULTS: The most frequently used high-risk items were the hard cheeses. Ninety percent of patients reported daily or weekly consumption of some food containing cheese, while less than 1% of patients reported never eating hard cheese. Yeast products, dry sausage, corned beef, broad beans, sauerkraut, and beer were used at least monthly by more than 50% of patients. Of the intermediate-risk foods, chocolate was the most frequently consumed, with almost 30% of the patients eating some chocolate daily. Over 40% of patients reported using over-the-counter cold preparations on a monthly basis.

CONCLUSION: A wide variety of tyramine-containing foods and contraindicated medications were commonly used by our patients prior to evaluation for possible MAOI pharmacotherapy. The number and diversity of frequently consumed items do not support recommendations to reduce the breadth of restrictions in MAOI diets. Individually targeted dietary assessment and education are recommended to reduce the risks of prescribing MAOIs.

PMID

7737959 [Indexed for MEDLINE]
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