Dietary restrictions and drug interactions with monoamine oxidase inhibitors: an update

J Clin Psychiatry. 2012;73 Suppl 1:17-24. doi: 10.4088/JCP.11096su1c.03.


Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are effective treatments for depression that has atypical features or that has failed to respond to other antidepressants. However, MAOIs are underused because clinicians are concerned about dietary and drug interactions with this class of medication. Hypertensive crisis and serotonin syndrome can occur in rare cases due to interactions between MAOIs and foods containing tyramine as well as interactions with serotonergic and sympathomimetic agents. A better understanding of the foods and drugs that can cause adverse reactions, as well as knowledge of newer MAOIs with mechanisms of action and delivery methods that reduce these risks, may help clinicians to consider the use of these medications, when appropriate, in their patients with depression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant / psychology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Food-Drug Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Malignant / chemically induced
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Serotonin Agents / administration & dosage
  • Serotonin Agents / adverse effects
  • Serotonin Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Serotonin Syndrome / etiology
  • Sympathomimetics / administration & dosage
  • Sympathomimetics / adverse effects
  • Tyramine / administration & dosage
  • Tyramine / adverse effects


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Serotonin Agents
  • Sympathomimetics
  • Tyramine