How It Works
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) help
balance certain chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters) to relieve symptoms of
anxiety associated with
Why It Is Used
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
are usually given to people who have panic disorder and who:
- Do not get better with other
- Cannot tolerate the side effects of other
- Have a history of successful treatment with
How Well It Works
Although MAOIs are as effective as
other antidepressants for treating panic disorder, other antidepressant
medicines such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or
tricyclic antidepressants are typically tried first because they have less
serious side effects.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
- Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
- Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
- If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
Dizziness or lightheadedness.
High blood pressure.
- Appetite changes or weight gain.
- Loss of sexual desire or ability.
- Muscle twitching during sleep.
Serious reactions—or even death—can result when MAOIs are
combined with some foods and medicines. While taking MAOIs, you must avoid eating certain foods, including many alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, sour cream and yogurt, bananas, chocolate, and some cheeses such as American, cheddar, and Swiss.
Eating these foods can cause severe high blood
pressure and other health problems. Talk with your doctor about
diet and medicine restrictions that you need to follow if you are planning to take
You must wait at least 14 days after you stop taking MAOIs before taking
another antidepressant. Common nonprescription medicines, particularly certain
cold remedies and diet pills, can also be dangerous when taken with an
MAOIs can cause death if they are taken in overdose.
The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has issued an
advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of
suicide. Talk to your doctor about these possible side effects and the
warning signs of suicide.
Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not
available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
Taking medicines for panic disorder during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects. If you are pregnant,
breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant, talk to your doctor. Medicines may need to be
continued if your panic disorder is severe. Your doctor can help weigh the risks of
treatment against the risk of harm to your pregnancy.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Primary Medical Reviewer
||Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
||Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Current as of
||September 7, 2012