SEVERE hypertensive episodes, sometimes fatal, may occur after the eating of ripened cheeses by patients receiving potent monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. Most reported cases have been associated with the mood-elevator tranylcypromine sulfate. This is a report of a severe, paradoxical hypertensive crisis occurring in a patient taking the antihypertensive MAO inhibitor, pargyline hydrochloride, apparently precipitated by the ingestion of aged cheddar cheese.
Report of a Case
A 59-year-old white widow, a laboratory technician at night, sought medical assistance at 11 PM on Dec 30, 1963, because of generalized pounding headache, profuse sweating, weakness, tremulousness, and anxiety. She had a long history of hypertension which was first noted in 1947 during routine blood pressure evaluation for a blood donation. From 1947 to 1959 she had no symptoms related to the hypertension and she received no antihypertensive medication. While she was working for a physician in 1959 her blood pressure was found
Glazener FS, Morgan WA, Simpson JM, Johnson PK. Pargyline, Cheese, and Acute Hypertension. JAMA. 1964;188(8):754-755. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060340052016