A patient with refractory (difficult to treat) depression is being discharged from the psychiatric unit. The patient has been started on an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor). The nurse is preparing discharge instructions for the patient. The nurse should include which of the following instructions? 

"Avoid foods and drinks containing tyramine, tryptamine, or tryptophan."


• MAOIs are not used frequently now for the treatment of depression, but may be used to treat depression that is not well controlled with other antidepressants.

• MAOIs have many potential side effects including hypertensive crisis (extremely elevated BP).

• MAOIs also have many food and drug interactions that can cause circulatory collapse, hypertensive crisis, fever, and seizures.

• People taking MAOIs should avoid foods with tyramine, tryptamine, and tryptophan, such as aged cheeses, cured meats, and foods with soy sauce. Alcoholic beverages like wine should also be avoided, as well as other antidepressants.

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