MAO Inhibitor

MAO Inhibitor, any of a group of drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, or phobias. Properly known as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, these drugs work by inhibiting or preventing the enzyme monoamine oxidase, found in the nervous system, from breaking down "neurotransmitters," chemicals in the brain that control nerve impulse transmission and affect mood. MAO inhibitors produce a more balanced emotional state.

MAO inhibitors must be prescribed by a

MAO inhibitors must be prescribed by a physician. Available in tablet form, these drugs are taken with or without food in one or more doses ranging from 30 to 90 mg per day, depending on the particular drug and the condition being treated. Effectiveness is usually apparent after three to four weeks of treatment, and long-term use for months or even years may be prescribed. MAO inhibitors should not be taken by pregnant women. Their safety for breast-feeding mothers or children under the age of 16 is not known.

These drugs should be used with caution

These drugs should be used with caution by patients with heart or liver problems, diabetes, or epilepsy. MAO inhibitors can cause serious reactions, including death, if combined with certain foods that contain the chemical substance tyramine. Such foods include beer, wine, cheese, chocolate, sausage, liver, smoked meats or fish, sauerkraut, yogurt, and beverages containing caffeine.

Drugs to avoid while using MAO inhibitors

Drugs to avoid while using MAO inhibitors include cold and cough remedies, sinus and hay fever medications, nasal decongestants, appetite suppressants, sleep aids, bronchodilator inhalants, amphetamines, and other antidepressants. Serious interactions can occur up to two weeks after drug treatment ends.

One significant side effect of MAO inhibitor

One significant side effect of MAO inhibitor drug use is high blood pressure, which may cause frequent headaches, heart palpitations, and vomiting. Other side effects include constipation, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, sleep disorders, digestive disorders, muscle spasms, problems with male sexual performance, and tremors or twitching. Because of the potential for serious side effects, patients taking MAO inhibitors are usually advised to carry a card or wear a bracelet that alerts medical personnel to their use of a MAO inhibitor in case of emergency.

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