Rilutek

1 What is Rilutek?

Brand: Rilutek

Generic: Riluzole

Rilutek tablet is a prescription-only medicine that checks further worsening of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) or postpones the need of a tracheostomy (incision in the throat to facilitate breathing using a tube), though it does not cure ALS.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Rilutek, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Together with your doctor, you can decide whether the medication will do you more goods than the harms.

Here are some factors to be considered before deciding to use this medicine:

Allergies: Inform your doctor about the allergies you have, such as to this medication, other medications, or to foods, dyes, or preservatives.

Pediatric: Safety and efficacy of riluzole in children have not been well documented.

Geriatric: It may be used in elderly after adjusting the doses.

Pregnancy: It falls under pregnancy category C for all trimesters, meaning that due to lack of sufficient studies, it’s not clear if this medication is safe for use in pregnancy.

Breastfeeding: It may be used in a nursing mother after assessing risks and benefits of the use.

Drug Interactions: Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different Taking two medicines together can be harmful due to possible interactions.

In other cases, even if there is a possible interaction between two medicines your doctor may advise you to take them together after adjusting the dose or issuing precautions.

Though usually not recommended, your doctor may decide, after adjusting dose or frequency of one or both medicines, to use this medicine with:

  • Dasabuvir
  • Pixantrone
  • Sulfasalazine

Rarely and only when absolutely needed, this medicine may be used with the following medicines even if using them together may put you at risk of certain side effects.

In such cases, you may have to take the adjusted dose or change the frequency of intake.

Other Interactions: Taking your medicine together with certain foods or items such as alcohol or tobacco may cause undesirable interactions. Talk to your doctor to know if using this medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco is safe. Using this medicine with tobacco is not generally recommended.

Inform your doctor if you have any other medical condition, including:

Have a question aboutAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?Ask a doctor now

3 Proper Usage

To use Rilutek properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor and do not take more, less, more frequently or for a longer duration than recommended.

Follow an intake schedule and do not skip any dose. Take the tablet on an empty stomach and do not take any solid food for next one hour. If you are taking it after food, keep a gap of at least two hours after meals.

Dosing: For best results, follow your doctor to know what amount of medicine you should take in a single dose. The doses of a medicine can differ according to the conditions for which it is being prescribed, your age and your overall health status.

Remember your doses can differ. Consult your doctor if you have anything to ask. The doses of tablets for ALS are:

  • Adults: 50 milligrams (mg) two times a day.
  • Children: Your doctor will decide the use and dose.

Missed Dose: Take your missed dose once you remember but avoid it if it’s time to take your next dose, and follow your normal dosing schedule. Avoid taking double doses to make up for the missed dose.

Storage:

  • Store in a closed container at room temperature.
  • Keep away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Do not freeze.
  • Keep away from children.
  • Discard any unused or expired medicines.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Rilutek, there are some precautions you must take. Your progress should be regularly monitored to determine if you are responding to the treatment. You may also need blood tests to look for any undesirable effects. 

Discontinue the medicine and see your doctor immediately if you have symptoms indicating:

  • Serious liver condition, such as a rash, tender upper abdomen, clay-colored stools, pale urine, decreased appetite, nausea, excessive tiredness or weakness, or yellowish eyes or skin.
  • Serious lung condition, such as breathing troubles, rapid, shallow breathing, a non-productive cough, chest pain, fever, or chills.

Riluzole can make you more susceptible to infections. Therefore, you:

  • May avoid sick people, as far as possible.
  • Need to visit your doctor immediately if you develop fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back pain, or pain during urination.

You may feel dizzy or drowsy while taking this medicine. Therefore, exercise extra caution while driving, using machines or doing any activity that requires alertness.

Do not drink alcohol during the treatment with this medicine.

Consult your doctor before using any prescription or nonprescription medicines (OTC) and herbal or vitamin supplements.

5 Potential Side Effects

Make sure you meet with your doctor in using Rilutek to avoid unwanted potential side effects.

Consult your doctor immediately if you have any of the following side effects:

More common: 

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Blurry vision
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Increased cough
  • Joint pain
  • Movement problems
  • Nervousness
  • Severe muscle contractions
  • Thumping sound in the ears

Less common: 

  • Bladder pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Bluish discoloration of the lips or skin
  • Breathing or swallowing difficulty
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Excessive tiredness or weakness
  • Fever
  • Feeling dizzy when changing position
  • Headache
  • Increased nasal discharge
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in muscles, lower back or side
  • Productive cough
  • Rapid weight changes
  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • Sore throat
  • Sweating
  • Sleep problems
  • Swollen face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • Tingling sensations in the extremities
  • Unusual skin color

Rare:

  • Altered mood
  • Bluish color of the foot or leg
  • Coordination problems
  • Depression
  • Excessive thirst
  • Persistent mouth sores
  • Red, scaly skin
  • Swollen face, eyelids, mouth, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Seizures
  • Weak or painful muscles
  • Yellowish eyes or skin
  • Weakness

Mild and non-serious side effects usually go away on their own without requiring medical intervention. You may also ask your doctor to learn more about how you may prevent or reduce the side effects.

Talk to your doctor if the side effects persist or worry you, including:

More common: 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Burping
  • Drowsiness
  • Numb areas around the mouth
  • Tender eyes and cheekbones
  • Upset stomach
  • Weakness

Less common:

The side effects of the medicine are not limited to the ones listed above. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any side effects that are uncommon or worry you. To report side effects to the FDA, contact at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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