Generic name: eletriptan [ el-e-TRIP-tan ]
Drug class: Antimigraine agents
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 13, 2022.
Uses for eletriptan
Eletriptan is used to treat acute migraine headaches in adults. It is not used to prevent migraine headaches and is not used for cluster headaches. Eletriptan works in the brain to relieve the pain from migraine headaches. It belongs to the group of medicines called triptans.
Many people find that their headaches go away completely after they take eletriptan. Other people find that their headaches are much less painful, and that they are able to go back to their normal activities even though their headaches are not completely gone. Eletriptan often relieves other symptoms that occur together with a migraine headache, such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and sensitivity to sound.
Eletriptan is not an ordinary pain reliever. It will not relieve any kind of pain other than migraine headaches. This medicine is usually used for people whose headaches are not relieved by acetaminophen, aspirin, or other pain relievers.
Eletriptan has caused serious side effects in some people, especially people who have heart or blood vessel disease. Be sure that you discuss with your doctor the risks of using this medicine as well as the benefits that it can do.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using eletriptan
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of eletriptan in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of eletriptan in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have high blood pressure and age-related kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving eletriptan.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Methylene Blue
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- St John's Wort
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
- Grapefruit Juice
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Angina (chest pain) or
- Arrhythmia (heart rhythm problem) or
- Basilar migraine (migraine with vision and hearing problems), history of or
- Heart attack, history of or
- Heart or blood vessel problems or
- Hemiplegic migraine (migraine with some paralysis), history of or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure), uncontrolled or
- Ischemic bowel disease (bowels have low blood supply) or
- Liver disease, severe or
- Peripheral vascular disease (clogged arteries) or
- Stroke, history of or
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA), or history of or
- Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (heart rhythm problem)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Coronary artery disease, family history of or
- Diabetes or
- Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol in the blood) or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
- Obesity or
- Raynaud's syndrome—Use with caution. May be at increased risk for certain side effects.
- Heart rhythm problems (eg, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Kidney problems—Eletriptan may cause increased blood pressure in patients who have kidney problems.
- Liver disease, mild to moderate—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper use of eletriptan
Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. Using too much eletriptan may increase the chance of side effects.
Do not use this medicine for a headache that is different from your usual migraines. Instead, check with your doctor.
To relieve your migraine as soon as possible, use this medicine as soon as the headache pain begins. Even if you get warning signals of a coming migraine (an aura), you should wait until the headache pain starts before using eletriptan.
Ask your doctor ahead of time about any other medicine you might take if eletriptan does not work. After you use the other medicine, check with your doctor as soon as possible. Headaches that are not relieved by eletriptan are sometimes caused by conditions that need other treatment.
If you feel much better after a dose of eletriptan, but your headache comes back or gets worse after a while, you may take one additional dose of this medicine 2 hours after the first dose. Do not use more than 80 milligrams in 24 hours. Do not use this medicine for more than 3 headaches in any 30-day period, unless your doctor tells you to.
This medicine comes with a patient information leaflet. It is very important that you read and understand this information. Be sure to ask your doctor about anything you do not understand.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- For migraine headaches:
- Adults—20 or 40 milligrams (mg) taken as a single dose. If the migraine comes back after being relieved, another dose be taken at least 2 hours after the first dose. Do not take more than 80 mg in any 24-hour period.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For migraine headaches:
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions while using eletriptan
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it.
Check with your doctor if you used this medicine and your migraine did not go away, or if your migraine got worse or started occurring more often.
This medicine may cause problems if you have heart disease. If your doctor thinks you might have a problem with this medicine, he or she may want you to take your first dose in the doctor’s office or clinic.
This medicine may increase your risk of having abnormal heart rhythm, heart attack, angina, or stroke. This is more likely to occur if you or a family member already has heart disease, if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, if you smoke, if you are male and over 40 years of age, or if you are female and have gone through menopause. Call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of a heart problem, such as chest pain or discomfort, an uneven heartbeat, nausea or vomiting, pain or discomfort in the shoulders, arms, jaw, back, or neck, shortness of breath, or sweating. Call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of a stroke, such as confusion, difficulty with speaking, double vision, headaches, an inability to move the arms, legs, or facial muscles, an inability to speak, or slow speech.
You should not take this medicine if you have used other triptan or ergot-type migraine medicines within the past 24 hours. Some examples of triptan medicines are almotriptan (Axert®), frovatriptan (Frova®), naratriptan (Amerge®), rizatriptan (Maxalt®), sumatriptan (Imitrex®, Treximet®), or zolmitriptan (Zomig®). Some examples of ergot-type medicines are dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45®, Migranal®), ergotamine (Bellergal®, Cafergot®, Ergomar®, Wigraine®), or methysergide (Sansert®).
Do not use this medicine if you have taken clarithromycin (Biaxin®), itraconazole (Sporanox®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), nefazodone (Serzone®), nelfinavir (Viracept®), ritonavir (Norvir®, Kaletra®), or troleandomycin (Tao®) in the past 72 hours.
Check with your doctor right away if you have chest discomfort, jaw or neck tightness after taking this medicine. Also, tell your doctor if you have sudden or severe abdominal or stomach pain or bloody diarrhea after using this medicine.
Make sure your doctor knows about all the other medicines you are using. Eletriptan may cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome when taken with some medicines. This includes medicines to treat depression, such as citalopram (Celexa®), duloxetine (Cymbalta®), escitalopram (Lexapro®), fluoxetine (Prozac®, Sarafem®, Symbyax®), fluvoxamine (Luvox®), olanzapine (Zyprexa®), paroxetine (Paxil®), sertraline (Zoloft®), or venlafaxine (Effexor®). Check with your doctor right away if you have agitation, confusion, diarrhea, excitement while talking that is not normal, fever, overactive reflexes, poor coordination, restlessness, shivering, sweating, trembling or shaking that you cannot control, or twitching. These could be symptoms of serotonin syndrome.
This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.
Using eletriptan alone or in combination with other migraine medicines for 10 or more days per month may lead to worsening of headache. You may keep a headache diary to record your headache frequency and drug use.
Check with your doctor right away if you have blurred vision, difficulty with reading, or any other change in vision while you are using this medicine. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
Some people feel drowsy or dizzy during or after a migraine, or after taking eletriptan to relieve a migraine. As long as you are feeling drowsy or dizzy, do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Side Effects of eletriptan
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Chest pain or tightness
- difficulty with swallowing
- tightness in the throat
- Chest discomfort
- numbness or tingling in the face, arms or legs
- pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back or neck
- vision problems
Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- bloody diarrhea
- difficulty in speaking
- fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- inability to move arms, legs, or facial muscles
- overactive reflexes
- pain in the arms legs, or lower back, especially pain in calves or heels upon exertion
- pale, bluish-colored, or cold hands or feet
- paleness or cold feeling in fingertips and toes
- poor coordination
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- severe or sudden headache
- skin rash, hives, or itching
- slurred speech
- sudden loss of coordination
- talking or acting with excitement you cannot control
- tingling or pain in the fingers or toes when exposed to cold
- trembling or shaking
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- weak or absent pulses in the legs
- weakness in the arm or leg on one side of the body, sudden and severe
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Lack or loss of strength
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- Acid or sour stomach
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, “pins and needles”, or tingling feelings
- dry mouth
- stomach soreness or discomfort
- stomach upset
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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