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Can L-Tyrosine Be Used With Prozac?

By Janet Renee, MS, RD

Tyrosine can interact with a class of antidepressants known as MAOIs. Prozac is in a different class of antidepressants, known as SSRIs, which are not known to interact with tyrosine. Your body uses tyrosine to make brain chemicals, such as dopamine, which can influence mental health. Although tyrosine is not known to interact with Prozac, you should consult your doctor before taking tyrosine with Prozac.

Background

Because low levels of the brain chemical serotonin are associated with depression, many antidepressants are designed to affect serotonin levels. SSRIs such as Prozac are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. SSRI stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. This class of antidepressants prevents the reabsorption of serotonin, which leaves more serotonin available in the brain. This helps relieve the symptoms of moderate to severe depression.

Tyrosine

Tyrosine is an amino acid that your body produces and is also found in your diet. Rich sources include turkey, chicken, fish, milk and yogurt. Some people who are prescribed antidepressants such as Prozac, take a tyrosine supplement to complement their treatment. In addition to playing a role in the production of dopamine, tyrosine helps your body manufacture epinephrine and norepinephrine, which help you cope with stress.

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Antidepressant Interactions

Taking tyrosine with an MAO inhibitor can cause a dangerous increase in blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Although MAOIs are still prescribed, they have been largely replaced with SSRIs, such as Prozac. SSRIs do not cause a dangerous increase in blood pressure, so you do not have to worry about this type of interaction.

Precautions

Tyrosine may have antidepressant effects, but studies are inconclusive. You should consult your physician if you experience new or worsening symptoms while taking Prozac and a tyrosine supplement.

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