Generic Name: rasagiline (ras AJ il een)
Brand Names: Azilect
What is Azilect?
Azilect (rasagiline) is a monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B) inhibitor. It works by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain.
Azilect is used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Rasagiline is sometimes used with another drug called levodopa.
Azilect may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Important information about Azilect
Certain medicines should not be taken together with Azilect. Before you take this medication, tell your doctor about all other medications you are using, especially muscle relaxers, narcotic pain medicine, over-the-counter cough medicine, or St. John's wort. Do not use Azilect if you have taken another MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. Serious, life threatening side effects can occur if you use Azilect before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body.
Before you take Azilect, tell your doctor if you have liver disease.
There are many other drugs that can cause serious medical problems if you take them together with Azilect. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you. While you are taking Azilect and for 2 weeks after you stop taking it, you may not be able to eat certain types of cheese. Follow your doctor's instructions. Azilect may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Before taking Azilect
You should not take Azilect if you are allergic to rasagiline. Do not take Azilect if you have taken any of the following drugs within the past 14 days:
propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet);
methadone (Methadose, Dolophine);
St. John's wort;
cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril, Amrix, Fexmid); or
dextromethorphan (contained in many over-the-counter cough medicines).
If you have liver disease, you may need a Azilect dose adjustment or special tests.
Some people taking Parkinson's disease medications have developed skin cancer (melanoma). However, people with Parkinson's disease may have a higher risk of melanoma. Talk to your doctor about this risk and what skin symptoms to watch for. You may need to have regular skin exams.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Azilect will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using Azilect.. It is not known whether rasagiline passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Azilect may slow breast milk production. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take Azilect?
Take Azilect exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Azilect is usually taken once daily. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.
If you also take levodopa, your dose may be changed when you start taking Azilect.
While you are taking Azilect and for 2 weeks after you stop taking it, you may not be able to eat certain types of cheese. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Use Azilect regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
Azilect is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes a diet plan created for you by your doctor or nutrition counselor. Do not stop using Azilect suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using Azilect.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include drowsiness, dizziness, severe headache, feeling irritable, vision problems, fast and uneven heart rate, sweating, cold or clammy skin, shallow breathing, fainting, or seizure (convulsions).
What should I avoid while taking Azilect?
Azilect may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.
Avoid eating any cheese that your doctor has instructed you not to eat while taking Azilect.
Azilect side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Azilect: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using Azilect and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure);
sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), problems with speech or balance;
unusual thoughts or behavior,
agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fainting;
tremor, muscle twitching or stiffness; or
feeling like you might pass out.
Less serious Azilect side effects may include:
mild headache, depressed mood;
dizziness, spinning sensation;
mild skin rash;
numbness or tingly feeling;
dry mouth, loss of appetite;
constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain or upset, vomiting, weight loss;
impotence, loss of interest in sex, or trouble having an orgasm;
strange dreams; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Azilect?
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you have used within the past 14 days, especially:
over-the-counter cough, cold, or allergy medicines; or
an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Vanatrip), citalopram (Celexa), doxepin (Sinequan), desipramine (Norpramin), duloxetine (Cymbalta), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax), fluvoxamine (Luvox), imipramine (Janimine, Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), venlafaxine (Effextor), and others.
This list is not complete and there are many other drugs that can cause serious medical problems if you take them together with Azilect. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.
More Azilect resources
Compare Azilect with other medications
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist has more information about Azilect.