Drugs that contain monoamine oxidase inhibitors include rasagiline, selegiline, isocarboxazid, phenelzine and tranylcypromine. MAOIs are an early class of antidepressant medicine that many doctors now prefer to avoid, due to the many interactions with food and other drugs, states MedicineNet. Patients taking MAOIs should avoid the use of other antidepressants, cyclobenzaprine, mirtazapine, dextromethorphan, and pain medicines such as tramadol and methadone. Combining these medicines may cause serotonin syndrome, leading to high blood pressure, hyperactivity, coma or death.
As of 2105, doctors typically do not prescribe MAOI antidepressants unless a patient fails to respond to other antidepressants. Other uses of MAOIs include treatment of Parkinson's disease, bipolar disorder, social phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder and eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, according to Everyday Health. Some side effects of these drugs include gastrointestinal problems, headaches or dizziness, low blood pressure, agitation and decreased sexual desire or ability. Doctors are unsure about side effects on a developing baby and usually avoid prescribing them during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
People on MAOIs should avoid foods such as cured meats; aged cheeses or yogurts; fermented foods such as soy sauce or sauerkraut; fruits such as bananas, raspberries or dried fruits; and chocolate. These foods, and others, contain high levels of tyramine, dopamine or tryptophan and can cause dangerous reactions in people on MAOIs, warns Everyday Health.