Monoamine oxidase inhibitors may cause muscle jerks, numbness, and tingling or electric sensations called paresthesias, especially at bedtime. These usually go away or decrease significantly over a few days to weeks. MAOIs should not be used if you suffer from bipolar disorder, congestive heart failure, liver disease, seizure disorder, hyperthyroid disorder, or diabetes. Do not take monoamine oxidase inhibitors if you may become pregnant or are breast feeding.
After stopping MAOIs, they are usually gone from the body quickly, but their MAO inhibition continues for one to two weeks.
This is why it is necessary to keep observing the medication and dietary restrictions for two weeks or more after stopping. For the same reason, monoamine oxidase inhibitors should be discontinued for at least three weeks before starting another antidepressant. Check with your doctor for more details.
Many physicians have never used monoamine oxidase inhibitors and are afraid to try them. There have even been cases where severely depressed patients’ MAOIs have been summarily discontinued when they went into the hospital because no physician there had any experience with their use. MAOIs are not even being taught in some medical schools anymore. This is too bad, because with all their warts and limitations, MAOIs have been known to quell the worst depression imaginable.