Generic Name: riluzole (RIL yoo zol)Brand Names: Rilutek
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.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 other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Before you take riluzole, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease.Riluzole can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert. Take riluzole on an empty stomach.
To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any appointments.Avoid drinking alcohol while taking riluzole. Alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage. Avoid products that contain caffeine. Caffeine may cause too much riluzole to build up in your body. Smoking cigarettes may make riluzole less effective.
If you have liver or kidney disease, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication:FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether riluzole is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. 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.
Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.Take this medicine with a full glass of water. 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. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor.Store riluzole at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and bright light.
See also: Riluzole dosage in more detail
Skip the missed dose and wait until it is time for your next dose to take the medicine. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Symptoms of a riluzole overdose are not known.
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;
cough with yellow or green mucus; or
stabbing chest pain, feeling short of breath.
Less serious side effects may include:
dizziness, spinning sensation;
numbness or tingly feeling in or around your mouth;
mild nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation;
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.
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.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:
amitriptyline (Elavil, Vanatrip);
theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-24, Theochron, Uniphyl, and others);
birth control pills or other hormones;
methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall);
an ACE inhibitor such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), quinapril (Accupril), 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 (Nizoral);
cholesterol medications such as niacin (Advicor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), 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).
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with riluzole. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.