A monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) is a type of medication that is used to treat depression and other mood disorders. MAOIs work by blocking the activity of monoamine oxidase, an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain.
By blocking the activity of this enzyme, MAOIs increase the levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
MAOIs are often used when other types of antidepressants have not been effective, but they can have some significant side effects, such as low blood pressure, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction. MAOIs can also interact with certain foods and medications, including some over-the-counter cold and allergy medications and certain types of cheese and wine, leading to a dangerous increase in blood pressure.
Due to the potential for serious side effects and interactions, MAOIs are typically reserved for patients who have not responded to other types of antidepressants, and are only prescribed by a healthcare provider with experience in their use. If you are taking an MAOI, it’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully and to avoid foods and medications that can interact with the medication.