Mental Health Home > Marplan Food Interactions

If you eat certain foods with high amounts of tyramine (a naturally occurring chemical that affects blood pressure) while taking Marplan, food interactions may occur. These interactions can cause a person's tyramine level to become too high, which can be extremely dangerous. Generally, foods that contain more than 6 mg of tyramine or are aged, spoiled, or fermented should not be eaten while using Marplan.

An Overview of Marplan Food Interactions

Marplan® (isocarboxazid) is a prescription medication used to treat depression. It is part of a group of medications called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). As with other MAOI antidepressants, there are many dangerous food interactions with Marplan.
 

Causes of Marplan Food Interactions -- The Tyramine Effect

Monoamines, which are a certain type of chemical in the body, include dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, serotonin, melatonin, histamine, and several others. Monoamine oxidase is an enzyme that breaks down monoamines. MAOI medications block the action of monoamine oxidase, causing an increase in the level of monoamines in the body. In depression, the level of monoamines can be low, so increasing the monoamines usually helps to alleviate the symptoms of depression.
 
Unfortunately, monoamine oxidase is also responsible for breaking down tyramine, a naturally occurring chemical that affects blood pressure. MAOI medications stop the body's ability to break down tyramine and can lead to too-high levels of tyramine (which can be extremely dangerous). High levels of tyramine can cause a "hypertensive crisis" (dangerously high blood pressure).
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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