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Common side effects associated with monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

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Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital - U.B.C. Site, Vancouver, Canada.


There is relatively little documentation on the common side effects associated with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) and their frequency of occurrence. A retrospective chart review of patient records in a Mood Disorders Service was completed. Side effects of patients receiving phenelzine (N = 42) and tranylcypromine (N = 19) were rated as mild (resulting in no change in treatment), moderate (some modification in treatment plan necessary), and severe (definite change in treatment plan or drug discontinuation due to MAOI side effect). A total of 35 reports of side effects were noted in 15 of 19 tranylcypromine patients (1.84 per patients) and a total of 125 side effect reports were noted in 39 of 42 phenelzine patients (2.98 per patient). Only two severe tranylcypromine side effects occurred (resulting in drug cessation for one of these patients - hypotension), while 9 severe reactions occurred with phenelzine, resulting in drug discontinuation in 6 of these patients. The side effects for tranylcypromine and the number of reports were insomnia (N = 10), sedation (N = 8), hypotension (N = 5), sexual dysfunction (N = 3), hypomania (N = 3), weight gain/edema (N = 2), hypertensive episode (N = 2), and myoclonic jerking (N = 2). The number of reports of phenelzine side effects were insomnia (N = 26), hypomania/mania (N = 27; most common reason for drug cessation - 4), hypotension (N = 16; three cases considered severe), weight gain/edema (N = 15), sedation (N = 15), sexual dysfunction (N = 13), hypertensive episode (N = 6), and myoclonic jerking (N = 7).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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