Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs, MAOI)

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What are monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)?

MAOIs were the first class of antidepressants to be developed. They fell out of favor because of concerns about interactions with certain foods and numerous drug interactions. MAOIs elevate the levels of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine by inhibiting an enzyme called monoamine oxidase. Monoamine oxidase breaks down norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. When monoamine oxidase is inhibited, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine are not broken down, increasing the concentration of all three neurotransmitters in the brain. They are also used for treating Parkinson's.

What are examples of MAOIs available in the US?

Examples of oral MAOIs include:

  • rasagiline (Azilect),
  • selegiline (Eldepryl, Zelapar),
  • isocarboxazid (Marplan),
  • phenelzine (Nardil), and
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/2/2014



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