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 the side effects of MAOIs?
Since MAOIs work in the brain and affect neurotransmitters, they have many side effects. Side effects of MAOIs are:
- sudden drop in blood pressure upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension),
- lack of strength,
- change in mood or behavior,
- weight gain, and
MAOIs also carry boxed warnings of suicidal thinking and suicidal behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults.
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