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Drug Saf. 1990 May-Jun;5(3):195-204.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitor update. Potential adverse food and drug interactions.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Kentucky.


Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are medicines with potential for therapeutic gains, but they may also have adverse consequences. The risk: benefit ratio is assessed and, in appropriately selected cases, efficacy should outweigh disadvantages. Hypotension is the most prominent side-effect; yet the primary concern in the MAOI-treated person is to prevent co-exposure to substances with indirectly-acting sympathomimetic properties. Such co-utilisations from certain foods or drugs can result in dangerous hypertensive and hyperpyretic crises. A responsible individual should be involved in the administration of these drugs. The patient and family must fully understand the self-discretionary diet avoidance rules, which stress abstinence from high-tyramine foods. Drug prohibitions also emphasise elimination of indirect action sympathomimetics, but all pharmaceutical applications are always strictly controlled by the well informed physician who prescribes MAOIs. Treatment of the hypertensive crisis is urgent and includes alpha-blockade. Overdoses require supportive therapies and may necessitate acidification of the urine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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