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What is Moclobemide?

By K. K. Lowen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Moclobemide is a drug used to treat some types of depression and social anxiety. Belonging to the monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) class of drugs, the medication may be particularly effective for treating atypical depression. Most doctors prescribe MAOI drugs only when other classes of antidepressants fail, mainly due to potentially deadly drug and food interactions. Unlike other MAOI treatments, moclobemide does not require strict dietary changes, but minor changes may be necessary.

MAOI treatments block the activity of the chemical monoamine oxidase in the central nervous system. Moclobemide works well as a treatment for depression because inhibiting the action of monoamine oxidase causes serotonin and dopamine to accumulate in higher concentrations. The accumulation alleviates the symptoms of depression because serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters in the central nervous system that contribute to feelings of happiness and well-being.

Dosages may vary depending on the patient and the severity of the problem. A typical dosage for adults is two 150 milligram tablets per day, taken with food. The medication’s effects may not be noticeable until the serotonin and dopamine have had time to accumulate, but a patient usually can expect results after a few weeks. Children should take moclobemide as directed by their doctors.

When taking moclobemide, a large number of substances can cause dangerous interactions. Patients must inform medical care providers of medicines and herbal supplements that they currently take. A few of the drugs, herbs, and foods that may cause problems when taken in conjunction with moclobemide include insulin, morphine, ginseng, licorice, St. John’s wort, and avocado. Additionally, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is not recommended.

Excessive consumption of tyramine, a monoamine compound found in certain foods, can create problems as well. High levels of tyramine may cause unexpected and rapid increases in blood pressure. To avoid consuming too much tyramine, patients may want to limit the amount of high-tyramine foods contained in their diets. Cheddar cheese, fava beans, and chianti wine all contain high levels of tyramine.

Like many drug treatments, moclobemide may cause unwanted side effects. Common issues that usually require medical attention include headaches, nervousness, anxiety, restlessness, blurred vision, dizziness, weakness, and a racing or irregular heartbeat. Other side effects do not require medical attention, such as a dry mouth, trembling limbs, joint or muscle aches, stomach pain, increased sweating, nightmares, trouble sleeping, constipation, diarrhea, and changes in a patient’s sense of taste.

It is possible to overdose while taking moclobemide. Patients should seek immediate medical attention if they exhibit signs of an overdose, which include agitation, slurred speech, memory loss, confusion, nausea, vomiting, extreme drowsiness, slowed reflexes, seizures, or high blood pressure. Hospitalization may be necessary following severe or life-threatening overdose symptoms.

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