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Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Eletriptan

Eletriptan is the active ingredient of Relpax tablets (Nappi code: 702167-003, 702165-007, -015, and 702164-006).

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Eletriptan is the active ingredient of Relpax tablets (Nappi code: 702167-003, 702165-007, -015, and 702164-006).

General information
Eletriptan is an anti-migraine drug. Anti-migraine drugs are drugs that are used to prevent or reduce the severity of migraine headaches.

In South Africa eletriptan is registered for the treatment of acute migraine attacks.

Migraine headaches often cause a throbbing headache on one side of the head and may be accompanied by increased sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. In many patients the actual migraine headache is often preceded by an aura - an unusual sensation which may include seeing patterns of flashing light or a tingling sensation.

Although a single dose can relieve a migraine headache at any stage during an attack, treatment with this drug should be started as soon as possible after the onset of a headache. Although some sources state that treatment should start at the onset of an aura, it should best be taken only at the onset of a migraine headache, since not all auras lead to headaches.

It should be noted that eletriptan is not effective against any other kind of pain or headache, and should also not be taken to prevent migraine headaches.

How does eletriptan work?
Although the cause of migraine attacks is not fully understood, they are thought to be caused by electrical and chemical imbalances in certain parts of the brain. These imbalances affect the blood vessels in the brain — first tightening them up, and then widening them. This widening of the blood vessels is thought to cause the throbbing pain of migraine headaches.

Eletriptan works by stimulating chemical receptors in the brain. This relieves the pain of migraine headache by causing the blood vessels in the brain to narrow.

Fast facts
Drug schedule: schedule 4
Available as: eletriptan is available as tablets.
What does it do? Eletriptan relieves migraine headaches.
Overdose risk: medium
Dependence risk: Low
Is eletriptan available as a generic? no
Is eletriptan available on prescription only? yes

User information
Onset of effect: within 2 hours
Duration of action: up to 3 hours
Stopping this medicine: treatment with this medication can be safely stopped when no longer needed.
Prolonged use: eletriptan is not intended for chronic use. If the first dose of this medicine doesn't relieve your migraine headache, then you should not take another dose for the same attack, as research studies have shown that this is not effective. If the first dose however proves to be effective, but the headache returns, you may take a second dose, but not within two hours of the initial dose.

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

- you have heart disease
- you have kidney or liver disease
- you have a history of a heart attack or stroke
- you have high blood pressure
- you have epilepsy or a history of seizures
- you are a male over the age of 40
- you are a post-menopausal female
- you are taking any other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.
Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children.
The elderly: this medication should best be avoided in the elderly.
Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Sensation of tightness, pressure in any part of the body

 

X

X

 

Flushing

 

X

X

 

Weakness

 

X

X

 

sleepiness

 

x

x

 

dizziness

 

x

x

 

tingling sensation

 

x

x

 

abdominal pain/ indigestion

 

x

x

 

nausea/vomiting

 

x

x

 

increased blood pressure

 

x

x

 

visual disturbances

 

x

 

x

throat pain/ tightness

 

x

 

x

muscle/ joint pain

 

x

x

 

chest tightness

 

x

 

x

chest pain

 

x

 

x

change in heart rhythm

 

x

 

x

palpitations

 

x

 

x

tremors

 

x

 

x

confusion, agitation

 

x

 

x

wheezing

 

x

 

x

breathing difficulties

 

x

 

x

skin rash

 

x

 

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

ergotamine

prolonged vasospastic reactions. Wait at least 6 hours after taking eletriptan, before taking ergotamine, or 24 hours before taking eletriptan after taking ergotamine

lithium

risk of increased central nervous system side effects

monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressants

increased risk of eletriptan toxicity. Do not take eletriptan within 14 days of a MAOI antidepressant

erythromycin

increases plasma concentrations of eletriptan which lead to more side effects

isosorbide dinitrate

risk of coronary vaso-constriction

ergotamine/ caffeine

increase in blood pressure with this combination

isosorbide mononitrate

risk of coronary vaso-constriction

glyceryl trinitrate

risk of coronary vaso-constriction

other medicines that enhance the activity of serotonin (fluoxetine, citalopram, venlafaxine, St Johns wort, etc.)

risk of serotonin syndrome or migraine exacerbation

Disease interactions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have heart disease, kidney or liver disease,
you have a history of a heart attack or stroke, high blood pressure, you have epilepsy or a
history of seizures, or if you are a male over the age of 40.

 

Overdose action
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage
Adults, oral: 40mg, which may be repeated every 2 - 4 hours if the headache returns. Daily dose (24 hours) should not exceed 160 mg.


This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only.
Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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