Generic Name: Rizatriptan

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Maxalt is a medicine used to treat migraine attacks with or without aura (vision, hearing, or movement disturbances). Maxalt is available as regular tablets and orally disintegrating tablets (called Maxalt-MLT).

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    A migraine occurs when swollen blood vessels in the brain press on nearby nerves. Maxalt works by narrowing those blood vessels, helping to improve your migraine symptoms.

    This medicine is not used to prevent migraine attacks. Always follow the instructions your healthcare provider gave you for preventing migraines.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: In addition to reducing headache pain, Maxalt has been shown to decrease other migraine symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

    When: Maxalt may start to relieve your migraine within 2 hours.

    How do I know it is working?

    You may feel relief in your migraine headache after you take Maxalt. This is a good indicator that the medicine is working. Recording your headache frequency and medication use may be helpful to you and your healthcare provider in monitoring your progress.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    More common side effects may include: weakness, fatigue, drowsiness, pain or pressure in your chest or throat, dizziness.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Heart attack with symptoms such as chest discomfort in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back; chest discomfort that feels like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain; pain or discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach; shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort; breaking out in a cold sweat; nausea or vomiting; or lightheadedness.

    Stroke with symptoms such as numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body; confusion; problems speaking or understanding; problems seeing in one or both of your eyes; problems walking; dizziness; loss of balance or coordination; or severe headache with no known cause.

    Blood vessel problems with symptoms such as stomach pain, bloody diarrhea, vision problems, or coldness and numbness of your hands and feet.

    Serotonin syndrome (a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that causes the body to have too much serotonin, a chemical produced by the nerve cells) with symptoms such as mental status changes (such as agitation or hallucinations), an increase in your heart rate and temperature, lack of coordination, overactive reflexes, muscle rigidity, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

    Maxalt may also increase your blood pressure.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Maxalt if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Maxalt if you have a history of heart problems, stroke or "mini-stroke," or blood vessel problems (including intestinal problems).

    Do not take Maxalt if you have high blood pressure that is not controlled with medications.

    Do not take Maxalt if you have taken similar medicines (such as almotriptan or eletriptan) or ergot-containing medicines (such as dihydroergotamine or methysergide) within the last 24 hours.

    Do not take Maxalt to treat certain types of migraines known as hemiplegic or basilar migraines.

    Do not take Maxalt if you take or have taken monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (such as phenelzine or tranylcypromine), a class of medications used to treat depression and other psychiatric conditions, within the last 2 weeks.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Maxalt. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have heart problems or any risk factors for heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, a family history of heart problems, or you have gone through menopause); kidney or liver problems; chest pain or shortness of breath; a condition called phenylketonuria (an inability to process phenylalanine, a protein in your body); or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 5 or 10 milligrams (mg). If the migraine returns, you can take a second dose 2 hours after the first dose. Do not take more than 30 mg in 24 hours.

    Children and adolescents 6-17 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his or her weight.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Maxalt exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Maxalt without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    To take Maxalt-MLT, remove the blister from the foil pouch. Do not push the tablet through the blister. Peel open the blister pack with dry hands and place the tablet on your tongue. The tablet will dissolve and be swallowed with your saliva. You do not need any liquid to take Maxalt-MLT.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or engage in other activities that require you to be alert until you know how Maxalt affects you.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Maxalt is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Maxalt with the following: certain antidepressants (such as fluoxetine or venlafaxine), ergot-containing medicines, MAOIs, other similar migraine medicines, or propranolol.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Maxalt during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    If you become pregnant while taking Maxalt tablets, talk to your healthcare provider about registering with the pregnancy registry at the Merck National Service Center. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the safety of Maxalt in pregnancy.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    Maxalt should be taken only as needed for migraine attacks.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

Check out my latest post on cholesterol drugs.

Maxalt Related Drugs