Rizatriptan is a medication used for the treatment of migraine symptoms such as severe throbbing headaches accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to sound and light. This pain killer is specifically used in relieving migraine attacks. It’s Food and Drug Administration-approved for medical use since 1991. Rizatriptan is available both as generic and brand names. It’s great for relieving short-term, moderate to severe types of migraines than other triptans. It’s also used for the treatment of tension-type headaches. However, this drug is not a good choice if you have heart disease, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Rizatriptan belongs to the family of drugs known as triptans. Triptans are tryptamine-based drugs used for the treatment of clusters headaches and migraines. This type of drug works like a brain chemical serotonin that helps quite down an overactive pain nerve. Rizatriptan selective serotonin 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonists. It works by reducing the swelling of the blood vessels that surrounds the brain. Rizatriptan mimics the action of serotonin hormone that acts on the receptors of the blood vessel by stimulating directly the serotonin receptors. As a result, the blood vessel becomes narrow and so relieving migraine pain.
How to Use It
Your dose may be different from other patients. Take your medication according to your doctor’s instructions. Do not change your dose unless you are told to do so. Rizatriptan comes in a tablet form for you to take orally. The initial recommended dose for an adult is 5 mg or 10 mg.
Contact your doctor if your headache does not get better or if it occurs after taking your medication. If your migraine comes back after a while take another dose but it should be taken at least 2 hours after the last dose. The maximum recommended dose is 30 mg within 24 hours.
To help relieve your migraine faster, take Rizatriptan as soon as your headache begins. If you get warning signals such as an aura, you have to wait until the headache pain starts before you this drug. Aside from taking this medication, lying down in a dark room, avoiding noise may help relieve your migraine pain.
Possible Side Effects of Rizatriptan
If the following symptoms do not go away, inform your doctor:
- Dry mouth
- Muscle pain
In case of serious side effects, seek medical help as soon as possible:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Pain, pressure in the chest
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Numbness or weakness of an arm
- Shortness of breath
- Tingling, burn and pain sensation in the hands and feet
- Severe stomach pain
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
- Changes in vision
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
- Numbness or weakness of leg or arm
What should I know before taking Rizatriptan?
- Rizatriptan only works when you take it once your headache starts. It doesn’t prevent migraines or tension headaches. Do not use this to prevent migraine attacks.
- Do not use Rizatriptan if you have:
- Have had a heart attack
- Uncontrolled or moderate to severe high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Severely decreased liver or kidney function
- Have had a stroke or a mini-stroke
- An inadequate flow of blood to the heart such as a severe form of angina
- Rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption or the Lapp lactase deficiency.
- Basilar migraine, a type of migraine where that is characterized by total blindness followed by ringing in the ears, and speech disturbances.
- You are allergies to any of its ingredients.
- Use this with care among patients with:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Female who have gone through menopause
- Male over 40 years of age
- Heart ailments
- This drug is not also recommended for children below 18 years of age and adults 65 years and above.
Getting the Best Result from Rizatriptan
- Do not use this drug too often as this can cause headache rebounds. Using this medication and other pain killers too often or for a long time can only make your condition worse. If there is a need for you to use this drug frequently consult first with your doctor.
- Rizatriptan should be used only when there is a clear migraine diagnosis.
- This drug can cause a feeling of heaviness, warmth, tightness, pressure or pain in certain parts of the body including the throat or chest that can sometimes last for a few minutes. If this continues, do not take further medication and call your doctor right away.
- Do not take Rizatriptan if you have used other triptans within the past 24 hours.
- Drinking alcohol can make your headache worse or cause a new attack. Avoid drinking alcohols especially to those who suffer from severe headaches.
- Sometimes people feel drowsy or dizzy during or after a migraine or after taking Rizatriptan. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous if you’re dizzy.
- Check with your doctor if you have difficulty reading due to blurred vision, or any changes in your vision while under medication.
- It is particularly important to inform your health care provider if you are taking any other medications as medicines can cause interactions when used together with other drugs. This includes prescription and non-prescription drugs, supplements, vitamins and herbal medications.
- Do not take this medication for more than 10 days in a month. Headaches that are not relieved by this medication are sometimes caused by other conditions that need other treatments.
- This drug is intended to treat migraine headaches only. Do not use this in treating other forms of headache.
- The safety of Rizatriptan for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been well established. It is, therefore, advisable for pregnant and breastfeeding women to consult first with your doctor before using this medicine.