Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI)

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, as their name suggests, inhibit monoamine oxidase, which are natural enzymes present in various parts of the human body. The main physiological function of these enzymes in the human brain is to destroy neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine.

Thus, the chief function of the MAOI drugs is to inhibit or decrease the destructive activity of the natural enzyme, thereby retaining the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. When compared to the previous generation of antidepressants which are tricyclic antidepressants (TCA), MAOIs are fast to react and have lesser side effects, but one might need to observe a slight alteration in diet.

Some of the commonly used monoamine oxidase inhibitors are tranylcypromine or Parnate, isocarboxazid or Marplan, phenelizine or Nardil, and Seligiline or Eldepryl. People suffering from atypical depression who do not find SSRIs effective generally switch to MAOIs, mainly because these have a slightly stimulating effect and not a sedative effect.

Some of the common side effects of MAOIs include, tachycardia, lack of interest in sexual activities, dizziness, and interaction with diet / food. Foods that react with MAOIs include cheese, smoked meat and fish, ripe fig, soy items, and foods that have monosodium glutamate (MSG). These food items contain a chemical substance called amino acid tyramine, which reacts with MAOIs resulting in a rapid rise in blood pressure.

MAOIs also have adverse reactions with alcohol, creating an increase in blood pressure, nausea, headache, seizures, stroke, coma, and various other psychotic symptoms. Therefore, it is extremely important to exercise a lot of caution while starting on a course of monoamine oxidase inhibitor, because the side effects and adverse reactions created by MAOIs can cause a lot of unnecessary damage to the human body and life.

In addition, MAOIs react with other drugs, too, causing various problems; MAOIs react with cold medications, anesthetics, amphetamines, cocaine, and insulin, therefore, people should ensure that they consult their family physician before commencing on MAOI pills or any other types of antidepressant medicines.

Also, long term use of any antidepressants is definitely not advisable, and one needs to check with the psychiatrist if taking medication over a prolonged period of time. Certainly, natural and alternative depression treatment and remedies should be explored.










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