What is Riluzole used for?
Riluzole is used to treat a certain type of nerve disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease). Riluzole helps to slow down the worsening of this disease and prolong survival. However, it is not a cure for ALS, and it does not reverse nerve damage or muscle weakness. Riluzole is thought to work by protecting the nerves in the brain and spinal cord from too much of a natural substance called glutamate that may be part of the cause of nerve damage.
How should I take Riluzole?
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually every 12 hours on an empty stomach at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Do not increase your dose or take this drug more often or for longer than prescribed because your risk of side effects will increase.
How do I store Riluzole?
Riluzole is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Riluzole in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Riluzole that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush Riluzole down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using Riluzole?
Before taking riluzole, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, kidney disease.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.
Smoking may affect the level of this drug in your blood. Tell your doctor if you smoke or use nicotine or if you stop smoking.
Kidney and liver function decline as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys and liver. Therefore, the elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects of the drug.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Riluzole during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Riluzole. Riluzole is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk,
- B=No risk in some studies,
- C=There may be some risk,
- D=Positive evidence of risk,
What side effects can occur from Riluzole?
Dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach pain, or numbness/tingling around the mouth may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, such as: signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn’t go away, fever, chills, cough).
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, such as: nausea/vomiting that doesn’t stop, yellowing eyes/skin, severe stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, such as: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with Riluzole?
Some products that may interact with this drug are: other drugs that may cause liver problems (such as allopurinol, methyldopa, sulfasalazine), drugs affecting liver enzymes that remove riluzole from your body (such as amitriptyline, caffeine, omeprazole, rifampin, tacrine, quinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin).
Riluzole may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Does food or alcohol interact with Riluzole?
Riluzole may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with Riluzole?
Riluzole may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Riluzole.
What is the dose of Riluzole for an adult?
Usual Adult Dose for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
50 mg orally every 12 hours.
No increased benefit can be expected from higher daily doses, but adverse events are increased.
Riluzole tablets should be taken at least an hour before, or two hours after, a meal to avoid a food-related decrease in bioavailability.
Renal Dose Adjustments
It is not known if dosage adjustments are needed in patients with renal dysfunction. However, because riluzole metabolites and a small amount of the drug itself are eliminated via the kidney, caution is advised if riluzole is prescribed to a patient with renal dysfunction.
Liver Dose Adjustments
The manufacturer states that riluzole therapy should not be started in patients presenting with elevated baseline liver function tests (i.e. alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, gamma-glutamate transferase and/or bilirubin).
Riluzole is extensively metabolized in the liver. Riluzole should be prescribed cautiously to patients with a current or past history of liver disease. Clinical trials that have been published excluded patients with liver disease, hence there is no information for dosage adjustments in these patients.
If a patient is currently taking riluzole and develops ALT values less than 5 times the upper limit of normal, therapy may be continued with caution. There is no clinical experience with patients whose ALT has exceeded 5 times the upper limit of normal. The risk-to-benefit ratio of continued riluzole therapy should be considered by the clinician, patient and/or caregiver(s). If riluzole therapy is to continue, the manufacturer recommends weekly monitoring of complete liver function. Therapy should be discontinued if the ALT rises above 10 times the upper limit of normal.
Rechallenge in patients who have previously discontinued riluzole due to elevations of ALT has not been done.
What is the dose of Riluzole for a child?
The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How is Riluzole available?
Riluzole is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Oral tablet.
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Riluzole, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: April 21, 2018 | Last Modified: April 21, 2018
Riluzole. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-12138/riluzole-oral/details. Accessed April 13, 2018.
Riluzole Dosage. https://www.drugs.com/dosage/riluzole.html. Accessed April 13, 2018.