How Do MAO Inhibitor Antidepressants Work?

Reviewed on 9/22/2021

How do MAO inhibitor antidepressants work?

Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor antidepressants are medications prescribed to treat depression. MAO inhibitors improve mood by increasing the concentration of chemical substances (neurotransmitters) released by nerve cells (neurons) in the brain, which include dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that regulate physiological functions such as breathing, heart rate, and digestion, and are also responsible for learning, memory, sleep, emotions, and behavior. Neurotransmitters are normally broken down and reabsorbed by the neurons after the transmission of neural signals.

Monoamine oxidase is an enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of neurotransmitters. MAO inhibitors block the activity of monoamine oxidase, which results in an increase in neurotransmitter levels in the brain.

How are MAO inhibitor antidepressants used?

MAO inhibitor antidepressants are oral tablets approved by the FDA for the treatment of the following conditions:


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What are side effects of MAO inhibitor antidepressants?

Side effects of MAO inhibitor antidepressants may include the following:

Rare side effects:

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

What are names of some MAO inhibitor antidepressant drugs?

Generic and brand names of MAO inhibitor antidepressant drugs include:


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