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Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors - Precautions

Abstract: What must I know and think about when I take/prescribe MAOIs?

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Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors - Precautions

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Written by: Petros Skapinakis, MD, MPH, PhD, lecturer of Psychiatry in the University of Ioannina Medical School, Greece. Eva Gerasi, postgraduate student in the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 22 Jul 2008.

What must I know and think about when I take/prescribe MAOIs?

Answer:

MAOIs should not be taken with alcohol, or cough, cold, flu or hay fever medicine. They can interact with other medicines, such as tricyclic antidepressants.

Care must be taken when taking more than one medicine. Foods containing tyramine should be avoided when taking MAOIs. Some of these include: broad bean pods, cheese, chianti wine, game, home brewed beer, pate, pickled herring, and yeast extracts.
MAOIs can cause death if they are combined with certain foods, taken with certain medications, or taken as an overdose.

Patients stopping MAOIs, should not start taking another antidepressant for 2 weeks. If they are starting MAOIs, they must not start until at least five weeks after stopping fluoxetine; two weeks after stopping other MAOIs, paroxetine or sertraline; and 1 week after stopping all other tricyclics, SSRIs or related antidepressants.
People taking MAOIs should carry a warning card with them.

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