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riluzole

Pronunciation: RIL yoo zol

Brand: Rilutek

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

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You should not use this medication if you are allergic to riluzole.

Before you take riluzole, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease.

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

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Take riluzole on an empty stomach.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

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Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage.

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Avoid products that contain caffeine. Caffeine may cause too much riluzole to build up in your body.

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Smoking cigarettes may make riluzole less effective.

What is riluzole?

Riluzole works by decreasing your body's levels of glutamate, an amino acid that affects nerves that send messages from your brain to your muscles. People with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may have very high levels of glutamate, which can damage these nerve cells.

Riluzole is used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

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Riluzole is not a cure for ALS, but it may delay progression of the disease and prolong your life.

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

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking riluzole?

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You should not use this medication if you are allergic to it.

If you have liver or kidney disease, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication:

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FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether riluzole will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

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It is not known whether riluzole passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take riluzole?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

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Take this medicine with a full glass of water.

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Take riluzole on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.

Riluzole is usually taken twice a day, every 12 hours. Follow your doctor's instructions. It is important to take your medicine at the same times each day.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your liver function will need to be checked with blood tests every month during the first 3 months of treatment, and less often as treatment continues. Visit your doctor regularly.

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Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and bright light.

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?

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

What should I avoid while taking riluzole?

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

Multum noalcohol

Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage.

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Avoid coffee, tea, cola, or other products that contain caffeine. Caffeine may cause too much riluzole to build up in your body.

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Avoid smoking. Smoking cigarettes may make riluzole less effective.

What are the possible side effects of riluzole?

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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

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Stop using riluzole and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • chest discomfort, dry cough, trouble breathing;
  • cough with yellow or green mucus; or
  • stabbing chest pain, feeling short of breath.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dizziness, spinning sensation;
  • muscle stiffness;
  • weakness, drowsiness;
  • numbness or tingly feeling in or around your mouth;
  • mild nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation;
  • headache; or
  • runny nose.

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.

What other drugs will affect riluzole?

Many drugs can interact with riluzole. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol);
  • allopurinol (Zyloprim);
  • amitriptyline (Elavil, Vanatrip);
  • auranofin (Ridaura);
  • cancer medications
  • methyldopa (Aldomet);
  • omeprazole (Prilosec);
  • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine);
  • theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-24, Theochron, Uniphyl, and others);
  • tuberculosis medications;
  • birth control pills or other hormones;
  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall);
  • an ACE inhibitor such as benazepril (Lotensin), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), and others;
  • an antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), dapsone, erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), norfloxacin (Noroxin), ofloxacin (Floxin), or rifampin (Rifater, Rifadin, Rifamate);
  • antifungal medication such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), or ketoconazole (Extina, Ketozole, Nizoral, Xolegal);
  • cholesterol medications such as niacin (Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Slo-Niacin, and others), atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), and others;
  • HIV/AIDS medications such as abacavir/lamivudine/zidovudine (Trizivir), lamivudine (Combivir, Epivir), nevirapine (Viramune), tenofovir (Viread), or zidovudine (Retrovir);
  • an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine), indomethacin (Indocin), ketoprofen (Orudis), and others; or
  • seizure medications such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), felbamate (Felbatol), valproic acid (Depakene).
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This list is not complete and there are many other drugs that can interact with riluzole. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about riluzole.


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.

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