What foods should I avoid while taking an MAO I?

Ask your doctor to provide a list of foods for you to avoid. Usually the offending foods are fermented like yeast extract or aged like cheese. Meat, fish, and chicken products that have been aged, pickled, fermented, or smoked should be avoided. Avoid foods thought to be high in tyramine, which can trigger a high blood pressure crisis. Following is a general list of foods your doctor may ask you to avoid:

• anchovies
• ripe or fermented avocados
• bacon
• beer (including nonalcoholic beer)
• canned prunes or figs
• caviar
• strong or aged cheese
• Chianti, port, sherry, and other wines
• distilled alcoholic beverages
• dried fruits like raisins and prunes
• aged dry ham
• meat extracts
• meat prepared with tenderizers
• pickled herring
• rice vinegar
• sake
• sauerkraut
• aged dry sausage
• sour cream
• soy sauce
• yeast extracts such as Marmite or Bovril
• yogurt

It is a good idea to stop using these medicines and eating these foods a week or more before starting to use Nardil, Parnate, Marplan, or high-dose EMSAM. Continue to avoid them for at least two weeks after stopping your MAO inhibitor. Because of these restrictions, MAOIs should only be given to patients who are able to follow the list of medication and dietary restrictions faithfully. Make sure you have discussed these side effects at length with your doctor, and make sure you have a list of what you can and cannot take before you start any MAOI.