When present in large quantities, tyramine displaces noradrenaline (a chemical in the brain), which causes activation of the sympathetic nervous system, leading to possible fatal increases in blood pressure and constriction of blood vessels.
The use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) has decreased with development of newer antidepressants that do not require diet modification. If a MAOI is prescribed, patients must strictly adhere to the tyramine-free diet throughout treatment and for an additional 2-4 weeks after the drug is discontinued.
Although the tyramine-free diet needs more long-term research to conclusively prove its benefits in patients suffering from migraine headaches, it is possible that some individuals may experience fewer migraine episodes when this diet is followed.
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