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Generic Name: rizatriptan (RYE za TRIP tan)
Brand Name: Maxalt, Maxalt-MLT

What is rizatriptan?

Rizatriptan is a headache medicine that narrows the blood vessels around the brain. Rizatriptan also reduces substances in the body that can trigger headache pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and other migraine symptoms.

Rizatriptan is used to treat migraine headaches. Rizatriptan will only treat a headache that has already begun. It will not prevent headaches or reduce the number of attacks.

Rizatriptan should not be used to treat a common tension headache, a headache that causes loss of movement on one side of your body, or any headache that seems to be different from your usual migraine headaches. Use this medicine only if your condition has been confirmed by a doctor as migraine headaches.

Rizatriptan may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about rizatriptan?

You should not use this medicine if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart problems, a history of heart attack or stroke, or circulation problems that cause a lack of blood supply within the body.

Do not take rizatriptan within 24 hours before or after using another migraine headache medicine.

Do not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using rizatriptan?

You should not use rizatriptan if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • severe or uncontrolled high blood pressure;

  • past or present heart problems;

  • a history of coronary artery disease, angina (chest pain), heart attack, or stroke, including "mini-stroke";

  • a blood vessel disorder or circulation problems that cause a lack of blood supply within the body; or

  • a headache that seems different from your usual migraine headaches.

Do not use rizatriptan if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.

To make sure rizatriptan is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • high blood pressure, a heart rhythm disorder;

  • a condition for which you take propranolol (Hemangeol, Inderal, InnoPran); or

  • coronary heart disease (or risk factors such as diabetes, menopause, smoking, being overweight, having high cholesterol, having a family history of coronary artery disease, being older than 40 and a man, or being a woman who has had a hysterectomy).

Rizatriptan disintegrating tablets may contain phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using this form of rizatriptan if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

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 rizatriptan passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Rizatriptan is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 years old.

How should I use rizatriptan?

Your doctor may want to give your first dose of this medicine in a hospital or clinic setting to quickly treat any serious side effects that occur.

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take rizatriptan as soon as you notice migraine symptoms.

Take the regular tablet whole with a full glass of water.

To take the orally disintegrating tablet (Maxalt-MLT):

  • Keep the tablet in its blister pack until you are ready to take it. Open the package and peel back the foil. Do not push a tablet through the foil or you may damage the tablet.

  • Use dry hands to remove the tablet and place it in your mouth.

  • Do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing. If desired, you may drink liquid to help swallow the dissolved tablet.

After taking a tablet (for adults): If your headache does not completely go away, or goes away and comes back, take a second tablet 2 hours after the first. Do not take more than 30 mg of rizatriptan in 24 hours. If your symptoms have not improved, contact your doctor before taking any more tablets.

After taking a tablet (for children ages 6 to 17): If your headache does not completely go away, or goes away and comes back, contact your doctor before taking any more tablets.

Call your doctor if your headache does not go away at all after taking the first rizatriptan tablet.

Never use more than your recommended dose. Overuse of migraine headache medicine can make headaches worse.

Contact your doctor if you have more than four headaches in one month (30 days). Do not take migraine headache medication for longer than 10 days per month. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your migraine attacks.

Rizatriptan can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels. Your blood pressure may need to be checked often while you are using this medicine. If you use rizatriptan long-term, your heart function may need to be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG).

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since rizatriptan is used as needed, it does not have a daily dosing schedule. Call your doctor promptly if your symptoms do not improve after using rizatriptan.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using rizatriptan?

Do not take rizatriptan within 24 hours before or after using another migraine headache medicine, including:

  • medicines like rizatriptan--almotriptan, eletriptan, frovatriptan, naratriptan, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, and others; or

  • ergot medicine--dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, ergonovine, methylergonovine.

Rizatriptan may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Rizatriptan 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.

Stop using rizatriptan and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • sudden and severe stomach pain and bloody diarrhea;

  • cold feeling or numbness in your feet and hands;

  • heart attack symptoms--chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating;

  • high levels of serotonin in the body--agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fainting;

  • signs of a stroke--sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance; or

  • dangerously high blood pressure--severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure.

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness, tired feeling; or

  • pain or a feeling of pressure in your throat or chest.

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 rizatriptan?

Taking rizatriptan while you are using certain other medicines can cause high levels of serotonin to build up in your body, a condition called "serotonin syndrome," which can be fatal. Tell your doctor if you also use:

  • medicine to treat depression;

  • medicine to treat a psychiatric disorder;

  • a narcotic (opioid) medication; or

  • medicine to prevent nausea and vomiting.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with rizatriptan, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about rizatriptan.
  • 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.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 11.01.

Last reviewed: October 24, 2016
Date modified: November 30, 2016

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