Generic Name: riluzole (RIL-ue-zole)
Brand Name: Rilutek
Riluzole is used for:
Treating patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig disease) to prolong survival and/or to delay the need for surgery to help breathing (tracheostomy). It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Riluzole is a benzothiazole. Exactly how riluzole works is not known. It may prevent further damage to certain brain cells (motor neurons) responsible for controlling muscle function.
Do NOT use riluzole if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in riluzole
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using riluzole:
Some medical conditions may interact with riluzole. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have a history of liver or kidney disease, abnormal liver function tests, or a low white blood cell count
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with riluzole. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Omeprazole or rifampin because the effectiveness of riluzole may be decreased
- Amitriptyline, phenacetin, quinolones (eg, levofloxacin), tacrine, or theophylline because actions and side effects of riluzole may be increased
- Medicines that may harm the liver (eg, acetaminophen, allopurinol, certain medicines for HIV infection, isoniazid, ketoconazole, methotrexate, methyldopa, sulfasalazine) because the risk of liver side effects may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the liver
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if riluzole may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use riluzole:
Use riluzole as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Take riluzole by mouth on an empty stomach at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.
- Riluzole works best if taken on a regular basis.
- Take riluzole at the same time every day.
- If you miss a dose of riluzole, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use riluzole.
Important safety information:
- Riluzole may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to riluzole. Using riluzole alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
- Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol while taking riluzole to reduce the risk of liver damage.
- Caffeine may increase the actions or side effects of riluzole. Avoid large amounts of caffeine-containing foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, cocoa, cola drinks, and chocolate.
- Cigarette smoke or charcoal-broiled food may decrease the effectiveness of riluzole. Contact your doctor with any questions or concerns.
- Patients of Japanese descent and women may be at higher risk of developing side effects from riluzole.
- LAB TESTS, including liver function tests, may be required to monitor progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use riluzole with caution in ELDERLY patients with liver problems; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- Use riluzole with extreme caution in CHILDREN. Safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using riluzole while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking riluzole.
Possible side effects of riluzole:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Abnormal skin sensations around the mouth; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; loss of appetite; muscle weakness; nausea; stomach pain; vomiting; weakness.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); cough, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing; fast or irregular heartbeat; frequent or painful urination; signs of infection (eg, fever, chills, sore throat); swelling of the hands or feet; yellowing of the skin or eyes.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of riluzole:
Store riluzole at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep riluzole out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about riluzole, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Riluzole is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take riluzole or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about riluzole. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to riluzole. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using riluzole.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
More about riluzole
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
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- Drug class: miscellaneous central nervous system agents
Other brands: Rilutek