Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors: What to Avoid

Foods to Avoid When You Take an MAOI

When you take an MAOI, you must use caution when eating certain foods and beverages. You can have serious side effects with certain combinations. They contain chemicals that can react with MAOIs and cause severe high blood pressure. Your doctor can explain more about how they interact.

The following partial list of foods or beverages should not be taken with MAOIs. If you have questions, always call your doctor before eating these foods. You must entirely avoid some of these foods. You may eat others in small amounts. Ask your doctor for guidance. If you stop taking MAOIs, you should continue avoiding these foods and medications for at least 2 weeks.


  • beer
  • caffeinated beverages, including cola, coffee, tea
  • liqueurs
  • red wine
  • sherry

Dairy Products

  • aged cheeses (such as cheddar, Parmesan, Camembert, Edam, American, blue, Romano, Roquefort, Gruyere, Swiss, mozzarella)
  • sour cream
  • yogurt

Fish and Meats

  • aged meats
  • anchovies
  • beef or chicken liver
  • caviar
  • meat extracts (Marmite)
  • fish, pickled or smoked
  • meats, pickled or smoked
  • poultry, pickled or smoked
  • summer (dry) sausage (such as pepperoni)

Fruits and Vegetables

  • avocados (overripe)
  • bananas (overripe)
  • eggplant (overripe)
  • fava or broad beans
  • figs
  • orange pulp
  • plums
  • prunes
  • raisins
  • spinach
  • tomatoes

Spices and Packaged Food

  • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • soups (packaged)
  • soy sauce
  • yeast vitamin supplements


  • chocolate
  • soy
  • yeast products