Parkinsons Disease Home > Azilect Food Interactions

When foods with large amounts of tyramine are consumed during treatment with Azilect (rasagiline mesylate), food interactions can occur. These interactions can lead to extremely high levels of tyramine in your body, which may cause dangerously high blood pressure. Products that may cause Azilect food interactions include aged cheese, yogurt, tap beer, and fermented soy products.

An Introduction to Azilect Food Interactions

Azilect® (rasagiline mesylate) is a prescription medication used to treat Parkinson's disease. It is part of a group of medications called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). As with other MAOI medications, there are many dangerous food interactions with Azilect.

Azilect Food Interactions: The Tyramine Effect

Monoamines are a certain type of chemical in the body and include:
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine
  • Serotonin
  • Melatonin
  • Histamine.
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.
Unfortunately, one type of monoamine oxidase (known as MAO-A) is also responsible for breaking down dietary tyramine, a naturally occurring amino acid that affects blood pressure. MAOI medications that inhibit MAO-A stop the body's ability to break down tyramine and can lead to too high tyramine levels, which can be extremely dangerous. High levels of tyramine can cause a "hypertensive crisis" (dangerously high blood pressure).
Although Azilect is believed to be "selective" for MAO-B, it appears to inhibit MAO-A to some extent, especially at higher doses, at least in animals. Until more information is available, it anyone taking Azilect should follow the usual MAOI dietary warnings and precautions.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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