What is it used for?
Rizatriptan is a medication used for the treatment of headaches associated with migraines with or without aura. Aura is the term used to describe the neurological side effects usually linked to migraines such as light sensitivity, visual field disturbances and nausea to name a few. Rizatriptan belongs to a group of medicines called the ‘Triptans’, it’s also more technically known as a 5HT1B/1D receptor agonist .
How does it work?
As mentioned above Rizatriptan acts on the 5HT1B/1D receptors in the brain. During a migraine headache blood vessels in and around the brain become dilated. This dilation attributes to inflammation on sensitive tissues around that area, and on the trigeminal sensory nerves leading to pain. Rizatriptan contracts these vessels back to their normal state so that pressure is reduced leading to relieved symptoms.(NHS)
How is Rizatriptan taken?
Rizatriptan should be taken as soon as possible after the onset of a migraine, whether you are experiencing aura or not. One tablet is usually sufficient to treat a migraine. If the headache comes back after the first has been treated a further tablet can be taken providing this is at least 2 hours after the first dose. So a further tablet can be taken for a NEW attack as long as it’s taken 2 hours after the first tablet. No more than 2 should be taken in any 24 hour period.
If however you do not experience symptomatic relief from the first dose it is not recommended to take a second dose for the same episode of migraine. At this stage you can use painkillers to help control the symptoms – please see below.
You should ideally take this medication on an empty stomach, as taking it with food or in a fed state can delay action by an hour.
How long does it take to work?
Rizatriptan can work as fast as 30 minutes after taking, as mentioned above this is in the absence of food, so best taken on an empty stomach. Please remember that if you don’t have any improvement after 2 hours then you can use painkillers.
Can I take painkillers with Rizatriptan?
Yes, if your first dose of Rizatriptan has not sufficiently controlled your migraine you can take aspirin, paracetamol or any other NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen. You can take painkillers along with Rizatriptan in the first instance if you need to. If you are on any other painkillers and are unsure please contact us first HERE.