Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:
GENERIC NAME: eletriptan
BRAND NAME: Relpax
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Eletriptan is an oral drug that is used for treating migraine headaches. It is in the "triptan" class of drugs that also includes sumatriptan (Imitrex), zolmitriptan (Zomig), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), almotriptan (Axert), and frovatriptan (Frova). Migraine headaches are believed to be the result of abnormal activity in the brain that leads to dilation of the blood vessels on the surface of the brain as well as the tissues that surround the brain. The dilation of the blood vessels is believed to be associated with inflammation. The triptan class of drugs, including eletriptan, constricts the blood vessels, thus preventing migraine headache. While it is very effective in relieving migraine, it does not prevent or reduce the number of attacks of migraine. In a large study, it was shown to be more effective than sumatriptan in relieving migraine headache pain within two hours. Eletriptan was approved by the FDA in December 2002.
PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 20 and 40 mg
STORAGE: Eletriptan should be stored at room temperature, 15-30 C (59-86 F), away from heat and light and out of the reach of children.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Eletriptan is used to relieve migraine headaches and its associated nausea and sensitivity to light. It does not prevent or reduce the number of attacks of migraine. It should not be used to treat non-migraine headaches.
DOSING: Eletriptan 20 or 40 mg is taken at the first sign of a migraine attack. The maximum single dose is 40 mg. If the symptoms improve but then return after two hours or longer, a second tablet may be taken before calling the doctor. In any case, no more than 80 mg of eletriptan should be taken in any 24-hour period.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Ergots, like dihydroergotamine (DHE 45) and ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot, Bellergal-S, Ergomar), or methysergide (Sansert) can causes constriction of blood vessels. It is possible that these effects may add to the effects of eletriptan. Therefore, it is recommended that ergot-containing drugs not be used within 24 hours of eletriptan.
Ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), nefazodone (Serzone), clarithromycin (Biaxin), ritonavir (Norvir), and nelfinavir (Viracept) may increase the amount of eletriptan in the blood by blocking an enzyme in the liver that's important in eliminating eletriptan. Eletriptan should not be taken if any of these medications have been taken within the previous 72 hours. Other drugs that block the same enzyme include diltiazem (Cardizem; Dilacor), Verapamil (Calan; Isoptin), fluconazole (Diflucan), voriconazole (VFend), indinavir (Crixivan), and erythromycin (Ery-Tab).
PREGNANCY: Safe use of eletriptan in pregnancy has not been established.
NURSING MOTHERS: Safe use of eletriptan in nursing mothers has not been established.
SIDE EFFECTS: Common side effects include dizziness, nausea, weakness, tiredness, drowsiness, abdominal cramps, and chest, jaw, or neck pain. More serious side effects include heat attacks, abnormal heart beats, severe blood pressure elevation, stroke, bleeding, and seizures.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Last Editorial Review: 7/31/2012
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