Generic Name: rasagiline (ras AJ il een)
Brand Name: Azilect
Medically reviewed: September 20, 2017
What is rasagiline?
Rasagiline works by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain.
Rasagiline may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Tell your doctor about all medicines you have used in the 2-week period before you start taking rasagiline. Many drugs can interact with rasagiline, and some drugs should not be used together.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take rasagiline if you are allergic to it.
Do not use rasagiline if you have used any other MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
Many medicines can interact with rasagiline and cause unwanted or dangerous effects. Your doctor may need to change your treatment plan if you use any of the following drugs:
cyclobenzaprine (a muscle relaxer);
dextromethorphan (contained in many over-the-counter cough medicines);
St. John's wort; or
Some medicines can interact with rasagiline and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take stimulant medicine, opioid medicine, herbal products, or medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.
To make sure rasagiline is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether rasagiline passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take rasagiline?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
If you take rasagiline alone, your dose may be different than if you take rasagiline with other Parkinson's medications. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.
Rasagiline may be only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes a special diet. Follow the diet plan created for you by your doctor or nutrition counselor.
Get familiar with the list of foods you should avoid to help prevent certain side effects of rasagiline.
Call your doctor if your Parkinson's symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using rasagiline.
Do not stop using rasagiline suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using rasagiline.
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, hallucinations, feeling agitated or irritable, muscle spasms in your neck or jaw, sweating, cold or clammy skin, shallow breathing, fainting, or seizure (convulsions).
What should I avoid while taking rasagiline?
Rasagiline may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you. 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.
Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of rasagiline. Especially avoid red wine, vermouth, and tap beers or ale.
Also avoid eating foods that are high in tyramine, such as aged cheeses, fava beans, soy sauce, herring, pickled or processed meats and fish, and meats that are aged, dried, smoked, or fermented. Eating tyramine while you are taking rasagiline can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels which could cause life-threatening side effects.
Rasagiline side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
extreme drowsiness or falling asleep suddenly, even after feeling alert;
unusual changes in mood or behavior;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
worsening symptoms of Parkinson's disease (especially uncontrolled muscle movements); or
Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Some people taking rasagiline with levodopa have fallen asleep during normal daytime activities such as working, talking, eating, or driving. Tell your doctor if you have any problems with daytime sleepiness or drowsiness.
You may have increased sexual urges, unusual urges to gamble, or other intense urges while taking this medicine. Talk with your doctor if this occurs.
Common side effects may include:
sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams;
involuntary muscle movements;
loss of appetite, weight loss;
joint pain or stiffness;
swelling in your hands or feet;
dry mouth, cough; or
flu symptoms (fever, chills, body aches).
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect rasagiline?
Taking rasagiline with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic medication, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures. Tell your doctor if you have taken an antidepressant during the 2-week period before you start taking rasagiline.
Many drugs can interact with rasagiline, and some drugs should not be used together. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
- Your doctor or pharmacist has more information about rasagiline.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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- Drug class: dopaminergic antiparkinsonism agents