MA0-B Inhibitors

MAO-B Inhibitors – What do they do?

MAO-B (Monoamine oxidase – B) inhibitors such as rasagiline and selegiline provide symptomatic benefit as a monotherapy in early disease and as adjuncts to levodopa in patients experiencing motor fluctuations.They prevent the breakdown of the chemical messenger dopamine in the brain, by blocking an enzyme that breaks it down, called monoamine oxidase type B (MAO-B).
They are used to make levodopa last longer or reduce the amount required.

Generic drug names and brand names

  • Rasagiline (Azilect)
  •  Selegiline (Eldepryl, Zelapar)

Side effects

The NHS website for selegiline states the following potential side effects:

Very common

  • Inflammation of the mouth


  • Abnormal laboratory test results
  • Abnormal muscle movements or problems controlling muscle movement
  • Back pain
  • Balance problems
  • Blocked nose
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Diarrhoea
  • Falls
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Increased sweating
  • Joint pain
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Sleeping problems
  • Slower heart rate
  • Sore throat
  • Tiredness
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo

MAO-B Inhibitors


  • A drop in blood pressure on standing or sitting up
  • Ankle swelling
  • Blood problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Faster heart rate
  • Feeling agitated
  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling irritable
  • Hair loss
  • Heart problems or worsening of heart problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood changes
  • Myopathy
  • Palpitations
  • Pharyngitis
  • Psychosis or worsening of psychosis
  • Skin problems
  • Strange dreams
  • Urinary problems

Unknown frequency

  • Behavioural changes such as gambling, binge eating, shopping or other compulsive or repetitive activities
  • Hypersexuality
  • Libido increased
  • Thinking problems
  • Urinary retention
  • Worsening of peptic ulcers

For more information

Go to the Parkinson’s UK page  for more information click here