- A Visual Guide to Migraine Headaches Slideshow
- Headache and Migraine Triggers Slideshow
- Take the Migraines Quiz
- What is eletriptan, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the uses for eletriptan?
- What are the side effects of eletriptan?
- What is the dosage for eletriptan?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with eletriptan?
- Is eletriptan safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about eletriptan?
What is eletriptan, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
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.
What brand names are available for eletriptan?
Do I need a prescription for eletriptan?
What are the uses for eletriptan?
What are the side effects of eletriptan?
Common side effects include:
- abdominal cramps, and
- chest pain,
- jaw pain, or
- neck pain.
More serious side effects include:
What is the dosage for eletriptan?
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.
Which drugs or supplements interact with eletriptan?
Ergots, like dihydroergotamine (DHE 45) and ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot, Bellergal-S, Ergomar), or methysergide (Sansert) can cause 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).
Is eletriptan safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Safe use of eletriptan in pregnancy has not been established.
Safe use of eletriptan in nursing mothers has not been established.
What else should I know about eletriptan?
What preparations of eletriptan are available?
Tablets: 20 and 40 mg
How should I keep eletriptan stored?
Eletriptan should be stored at room temperature, 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F), away from heat and light and out of the reach of children.
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Eletriptan (Relpax) is a triptan drug that is prescribed to treat migraine headaches. Review side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety information prior to taking this medication.
Related Disease Conditions
Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are considered primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease. Headache symptoms vary with the headache type. Over-the-counter pain relievers provide short-term relief for most headaches.
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on one side of the head, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The exact cause of migraine headaches is not known. Triggers for migraine headaches include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, strong stimuli (loud noises), and oversleeping. Treatment guidelines for migraines include medicine, pain management, diet changes, avoiding foods that trigger migraines, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly. Prevention of migraine triggers include getting regular exercise, drinking water daily, reducing stress, and avoiding trigger foods.
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