Riluzole (By mouth)
Used in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease).
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to riluzole.
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- Take your medicine at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals and at the same time each day (such as in the morning and in the evening).
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose of this medicine, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not use two doses at the same time.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are using allopurinol (Zyloprim®), amitriptyline (Elavil®), methyldopa (Aldomet®), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine®), phenacetin, omeprazole (Prilosec®), rifampin (Rifadin®), tacrine (Cognex®), theophylline (Theo-Dur®), or medicine to treat an infection (such as ciprofloxacin, lomefloxacin, ofloxacin, norfloxacin, Cipro®, or Noroxin®).
- Avoid drinking beverages that contain caffeine and eating charcoal-broiled food. Tell your doctor if you smoke tobacco.
- Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine. Alcohol taken together with riluzole may cause liver problems.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease, or a low amount of white blood cells.
- Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have a rash; stomach pain; pale stools; dark urine; loss of appetite; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
- This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
- Check with your doctor right away if you think you are getting an infection or if you have a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
- Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you start having breathing problems, shortness of breath, a dry cough, chest pain, fever, or chills. These could be symptoms of a serious lung problem.
- This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
- Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Chest pain.
- Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat.
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
- Joint pain.
- Muscle pain, stiffness, or weakness.
- Shortness of breath or troubled breathing.
- Yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or upset.
- Feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings.
- Headache or dizziness.
- Loss of appetite.
- Numbness or tingling around your mouth.
- Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness.
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013