Rizatriptan

Sounds like 'rye-za-trip-tan'

Easy-to-read medicine information about rizatriptan – what it is, how to take rizatriptan safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Migraine treatment
  • Triptan
  • Rizamelt®
  • Maxalt Melt®



What is rizatriptan?

  • Rizatriptan is used to ease the symptoms of migraine headaches.
  • It works by releasing a natural chemical in the brain called serotonin, and this lowers the inflammation that causes headache.
  • Rizatriptan only works when a migraine attack has started. It will not stop you from getting an attack.
  • Read more about migraine headaches. 

Dose

  • Take 1 tablet or 1 wafer (10 milligrams) at the start of the migraine attack.
  • If your migraine improves at first, but then comes back, wait at least 2 hours before you take another tablet or wafer (10 milligrams).
  • Do not take more than 3 tablets or wafers (30 milligrams) in 24 hours.
  • If the first rizatriptan tablet does not relieve or help your migraine, do not take another rizatriptan tablet for this same attack. It is unlikely to work.

How to take rizatriptan

  • It is best to take sumatriptan tablets when your migraine headache begins or when other symptoms of migraine begin such as nausea (feeling sick), vomiting or your eyes become sensitive to light.
  • If you take your tablet later during the migraine attack, it will still work for you.
  • Rizatriptan tablets usually start to work within 30 minutes after taking the tablet.
  • Rizatriptan tablets or wafers should be placed on the tongue and allowed to dissolve then swallowed.
  • No water is needed for taking the wafer or tablet.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, rizatriptan can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Feeling sleepy,
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you
  • Feeling sick or vomiting
  • This may be due to the migraine attack
  • Avoid eating, until this feeling passes
  • Tell your doctor if this is troublesome
  • Pain, or tightness in your chest, jaw or throat
  • This is quite common when you first start taking rizatriptan. It will usually pass after a while
  • If the pain is intense or does not go away tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Signs of serotonin syndrome such as feeling agitated and restless, heavy sweating, shivering, fast heart rate or irregular heart beat, headache, diarrhoea and rigid or twitching muscles 
  • You are at increased risk of serotonin syndrome if you recently started taking rizatriptan or recently increased the dose
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116

Interactions

Rizatriptan interacts with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist. It may also interact some cold and flu preparations containing dextromethorphan such as Benadryl®.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on rizatriptan.

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet:

Rizamelt®

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Last reviewed: 04 Mar 2015