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MAO inhibitor - Antidepressant drug

MAO (Monoamine oxidase) inhibitors are a genre of drugs that are used to treat depression and Parkinson's Disease. Brand names of some MAO inhibitor drugs are Marplan, Nardil, Parnate and Eldepryl. MAO inhibitors are used in the treatment of mental depression as well as anxiety and panic attacks.

MAO inhibitors are seen to work adversely in the presence of tyramine. It leads to a build-up of tyramine thereby causing High Blood pressure and increasing the chances of a stroke. Persons on MAO inhibitors must ensure that they avoid foods that contain high levels of tyramine. Legumes, cheese, fish, ginseng, meat, shrimp paste and alcohol are foodstuffs that are high in tyramine. Other foods that must not be consumed in excess when on MAO inhibitors are chocolate, soy sauce, yogurt and sour cream.

Side Effects of MAO inhibitor: Typical side effects of MAO inhibitors are headache, fainting, muscle twitches and confusion. MAO inhibitors are known to cause increased sun sensitivity, blurred vision and drowsiness. Stomach upsets, loss of appetite and irritability can also result. Some persons on MAO inhibitors tend to experience heart palpitations, memory impairment and anxiety. It is essential to consult your physician in case you notice skin rash, fever and yellowing of the eyes or skin.

Dosage of MAO inhibitor: It is essential to check the dosage of the MAO inhibitor with your physician. Larger or more frequent doses must be avoided nor should the drug be taken for longer than prescribed. Since the effects of the MAO inhibitors take some time to be felt, it is essential to continue the dosage as directed. Dosage must be slowly tapered down. Ensure that you follow the diet restrictions that are recommended for those on MAO inhibitors.


Sumatriptan, part of the family of drugs called as triptans is prescribed for the treatment of Migraine and cluster headaches. Migraine headaches are thought to be the result of dilation of blood vessels in the head. Sumatriptan causes constriction of the blood vessels thus relieving Migraine. Triptans are technically abortive migraine medications. However, Sumatriptan does not prevent or reduce the number of migraine attacks. There is another 'triptan' drug which has slightly less side effects than Sumatriptan - Rizatriptan.

Dosage and Administration: Starting dosage may be 25 mg or at the discretion of the physician. However, the Physician might want the patient to take the first dosage at his office to monitor any adverse heart events. Normal dosage is 25 mg to 100 mg or as prescribed by the Physician. Maximum dose in any 24 hours should not exceed 300 mg orally. Do not use Sumatriptan concomitantly with Ergotamine containing preparations.

Safety and efficacy has not been proved for patients over 65 years or for children.

Contraindications: The use of Sumatriptan is contraindicated in hypersensitivity, ischemic heart disease or previous myocardial infraction, Prinzmetal's angina, coronary vasospasm and controlled hyper tension. Sumatriptan should not be used unless there is a clear diagnosis of Migraine. Before use, exclude underlying cardiac disease especially in patients with risk factors. Chest symptoms may occur which mimic angina but are rarely found to be the result of vasospasm. Vasospasm may result in arrhythmia, ischemia or myocardial infarction. This drug is to be avoided for patients with impaired renal or hepatic functions.

Sumatriptan should not be administered along with ergot type migraine medications, or with MAO inhibitors. Sumatriptan and Ergotamine together can cause prolonged spasm of the blood vessels. It is essential that the use of these two medications should be separated by at least 24 hours.

Side Effects of Sumatriptan: Pain, tingling sensation, heaviness or pressure in the chest region which may be transient. Rarely severe flushing, dizziness, Paresthesia ( unpleasant and abnormal tingling or burning in the hands, arms, feet or legs) weakness, fatigue, drowsiness may occur. Transient rise in blood pressure may occur.


Neuro enhancers or nootropics are drugs to improve cognitive function. Nootropics are also used to treat various physiological and psychological deficiencies and disorders. Nootropics include drugs, supplements, herbs and some food which enhance cognitive functions. Some stimulants have been used effectively for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or other learning disorders. Possible side effects for such drugs may include insomnia and nervousness. Some stimulants are contraindicated with the use of monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, anticoagulants and for people with allergies, epilepsy and hypertension.

The key factor in understanding the application of the nootropics is the biochemical mechanism of the nervous system. The nervous system regulates control and coordination of the entire body. It regulates all physiological activities through feedback mechanisms linked to the brain and the spinal cord. The biochemistry related to nerve physiology and their respective signal conduction is a complex study in itself as it involves chemical messengers such as neurotransmitters.

Pharmacokinetics and Applications

Nootropics, also known as smart drugs are categorized as Nutraceuticals and supplement drugs which give accessory support to the physiology of the nervous system. Nootropics play a major role in the function and regulation of the brain signals. It enables the enhancement of memory thereby facilitating cognitive function. These drugs promote and increase oxygenation valuable to the brain in treating conditions such as apnea to a certain extent. They enable the transfer of inter-hemisphere information and also increase cortical and sub-cortical activities.

Some of the common nootropics contain caffeine as a main ingredient and L-theanine. L-theanine has less side effects as it does not affect the normal sleep activity regulated by the brain which is noticed in caffeine users. Each nootropic varies in its function. Some nootropics such as modanifil work extensively in formation of the memory neural network.

L-theanine, a good alternative to caffeine has been much researched and it was noticed to be effective in reducing anxiety to a large extent. In addition, it does not result in increased blood pressure and insomnia. L-theanine is associated with the stimulation of alpha wave production from the brain which enhances relaxed attention in the subjects.

Caffeine also considered as the world's largest consumed nootropic drug is a potent activator of the brain. Today caffeine is incorporated in various forms such as energy drinks, medicines such as vasograin (used for migraine) and others. This utilization is due to its natural availability and also its psychoactive and alert effects on the brain. The phenomenon of adenosine pathways A1 and A2 are bypassed initially. However, the activity of the drug is believed to sustain irrespective of these pathways in residual conditions. On the other hand caffeine and drugs like modanifil can cause sleep deprivation because of cognitive action.

Side effects

The side effects of nootropic drugs include nausea in case of excess consumption, headaches and irritability. In case of antidepressant nootropics such as Rhodoela rose,a a natural eastern and European nootropic, mood changes and mild withdrawal symptoms have been reported. Other pharmaceutical preparations such as tyrosine and modanifil cause anxiety, insomnia and increased blood pressure.

Drugs like Racetams are known for their action on the neurotransmitters because of their ability to permeate through the blood-brain barrier to reach the receptors directly. The glutamate and acetylcholine receptors receive the racetams and facilitate the brain functionalities. Acetylcholine is very good in sense organ activation and hence the racetams associated with acetylcholine receptors can generate increased stimulation causing the person absorb more color patterns than usual. Its action on the brain is directly determined by the increased blood circulation leading to better concentration and prolonged cognitive activity of the person. The receptor association of the racetams in the nerves and the neurotransmitters are facilitated by the associated ligands.

Supplements and Herbs: There are many supplements and herbs which can enhance memory, verbal communication and spatial reasoning - at least in some cases. The following are some common supplements found to be effective in improving cognitive functions - in various degrees:

  1. Herbs like Ginko Biloba, Brahmi, Goto Kola and Korean Ginseng have been traditionally used to improve cognitive functions.

  2. L-carnitine, an amino acid that helps in the formation of the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine. A common factor found in Alzheimer's disease and some age related dementia is a fall in the levels of Acetylcholine.

  3. Choline, a water soluble Vitamin B group nutrient acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Many components of Vitamin B play a significant role in the wellbeing of the collective nervous system.

  4. DHEA (DeHydroEpiAndrosterone) is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the adrenal gland from Pregnenolone - endogenous steroid hormone. This DHEA hormone supplementation has been advocated for slowing down Alzheimer's disease and age related cognitive decline. Lower levels of DHEA has been noticed in people with depression.

  5. Caffeine found in the Coffee drink and elsewhere is a xanthine alkaloid - a powerful CNS (Central Nervous System) Stimulant as well as a phosphodiesterase inhibitor. Caffeine reduces the sensation of fatigue and increases focus, clarity of thought and muscular co-ordination.

Tags: #MAO inhibitor - Antidepressant drug #Sumatriptan #Nootropics
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: May 25, 2024