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Reviewed by Dr Yasmin Aghajan, MD
Information last reviewed 08/06/19
Rizatriptan belongs to a class of drugs known as triptans, a group of medicines used to treat the symptoms of migraine headaches. The latter can manifest itself as severe, throbbing headaches which are sometimes accompanied by sensitivity to light and/or sound, and nausea (feeling sick). If you are known to suffer from migraine, doctors at Medzino can issue a prescription for Rizatriptan 5mg or 10mg.
Migraine is a common and debilitating brain disorder that affects approximately 3%-22% of women and 1%-16% of men. Triptans such as Rizatriptans work by modulating the neuro-transmitter substance serotonin in the brain, and reduce headache pain by several mechanisms. One is by reducing the swelling/dilation of the blood vessels in the brain. Another is by blocking release of pain signaling substances in the brain. Rizatriptan is not suitable as a preventive medicine for chronic migraine. Rather, it should be taken after a migraine attack has already begun and the symptoms have started showing. Rizatriptan is ineffective in preventing future migraines or reducing the frequency of migraine attacks you get.
Rizatriptan has shown the following efficacy in clinical trials as reported by the manufacturer:
After 2 hours, the following proportion of patients experienced relief:
The active ingredient in Rizatriptan is rizatriptan benzoate at a concentration of 5mg or 10mg.
Rizatriptan also contains the following inactive ingredients: lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch, ferric oxide (red), and magnesium stearate
Please note: Inactive ingredients may vary between different manufacturers.
Rizatriptan is not commonly associated with causing a severe allergic reaction in people. However, if you notice symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (hives, facial swelling, lightheadedness, tightening of the chest, finding it difficult to breathe) you should seek emergency medical help right away.
The dose of Rizatriptan varies from patient to patient. Use Rizatriptan exactly as prescribed by your doctor, and do not auto-medicate without consulting your doctor, or exceed the recommended dosage.
The recommended starting dose of Rizatriptan is either 5mg or 10mg. You may take a second dose two hours after the first dose if your headache returns. The maximum recommended dose within a period of 24h is 30mg. Do not exceed this.
Do not take this medication if your headache is not a migraine. For efficient migraine relief, take Rizatriptan as soon as the headache pain begins. If you get warning signals of a coming migraine, only use the drug when the headache starts.
Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water without crushing, breaking, or chewing it.
Take either the 5mg or 10mg dose at the onset of a migraine; repeat the dose after 2 hours if significant relief is not achieved. Take with a glass of water, do not crush the pills.
Rizatriptan should not be taken on a scheduled basis; rather, it must only be used on an as-needed basis at the start of a migraine. If the migraine started hours ago, you may still take Rizatriptan for some effect.
You should call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 and seek immediate medical attention, such as going to the emergency department. An overdose of Rizatriptan could have severe consequences. Do not delay seeking medical care.
Common side effects of Rizatriptan include:
Get immediate medical help if you experience any of the following rare but serious side effects:If any of these side effects persist or cause discomfort, talk to your physician.
Certain drugs will interact with Rizatriptan or even cause harmful effects if taken simultaneously. Always inform your doctor of the medications and/or herbal supplements you use. In any case, do not mix Rizatriptan with the following drugs:
In the following cases, taking Rizatriptan is contraindicated:
Rizatriptan is only to be used as an “abortive” therapy for migraine, meaning it’s used to treat and stop a migraine in its tracks. It is not a preventive therapy. It does not prevent migraines and should not be taken for this purpose.
They are both selective serotonin agonists, meaning they modulate the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. They work similarly, and are both first-line therapies for migraine attacks. They all work with similar effectiveness and tolerability. Sumatriptan is the oldest available triptan. However, some people respond better to different triptans than others. For that reason, some people may have better relief with Rizatriptan vs Sumatriptan.
Rizatriptan itself does not have withdrawal symptoms. However, overuse of triptans can lead to withdrawal headaches. For this reason, it is important to not take Rizatriptan or other triptans more than 9 times in one month. Withdrawal can last several days.
No, Rizatriptan should be used at the dosage prescribed. You should not cut tablets in half or chew them.
Rizatriptan is FDA approved for the treatment of migraine attacks.
The original Rizatriptan, marketed as Maxalt is made by Merck. Rizatriptan is no longer under patent, so it can now be produced by other manufacturers.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.
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