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rizatriptan benzoate

Maxalt, Maxalt-MLT, Maxalt RPD (CA)

Pharmacologic class: Serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT1) receptor agonist

Therapeutic class: Antimigraine drug

Pregnancy risk category C


Thought to act as agonist at specific 5-HT1 receptor sites in intracranial vessels, causing vasoconstriction. Also may act on sensory trigeminal nerves, reducing transmission along pain pathways.


Tablets: 5 mg, 10 mg

Tablets (orally disintegrating): 5 mg, 10 mg

Indications and dosages

Acute migraine

Adults: 5 to 10 mg P.O.; may repeat in 2 hours, not to exceed 30 mg in 24 hours. For patients receiving propranolol concurrently, 5 mg P.O., up to a maximum of three doses in 24 hours.

Children ages 6 to 17 weighing 40 kg (88 lb) or more: 10 mg P.O. as a single dose. For patients receiving propranolol concurrently, 5 mg P.O., up to a maximum of three doses in 24 hours.

Children ages 6 to 17 weighing less than 40 kg (88 lb): 5 mg P.O. as a single dose. Don't prescribe drug for propranolol-treated children who weigh less than 40 kg.


• Hypersensitivity to drug or its components

• Ischemic heart disease or other significant cardiovascular disease

• Ischemic bowel disease

• Transient ischemic attacks

• Basilar or hemiplegic migraine

• Uncontrolled hypertension

• Use of other 5-HT1 agonists or ergot-type compounds (dihydroergotamine, methysergide) within 24 hours

• MAO inhibitor use within past 14 days


Use cautiously in:

• severe renal impairment (especially in dialysis patients), moderate hepatic impairment, cardiovascular risk factors

• phenylketonuria (PKU) in patients receiving orally disintegrating tablets

• pregnant or breastfeeding patients

• children younger than age 6 (safety not established).


• Place orally disintegrating tablet on patient's tongue to dissolve. Make sure he swallows it with saliva only. Don't give with beverages.

Don't give within 14 days of MAO inhibitors (may cause serious adverse reactions).

Adverse reactions

CNS: headache, dizziness, drowsiness, asthenia, fatigue, paresthesia, decreased mental acuity, euphoria, tremor

CV: chest pain, tightness, heaviness, or pressure; hypertensive crisis; arrhythmias, myocardial infarction (MI) (rare)

GI: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dry mouth

Respiratory: dyspnea

Skin: flushing

Other: neck, throat, or jaw pain, tightness, or pressure; hot flashes; warm or cold sensations; noncoronary vasospastic reactions, serotonin syndrome


Drug-drug. Ergot or ergot-type compounds (such as dihydroergotamine, methysergide), other 5-HT1 agonists: additive vasoactive effects

MAO inhibitors, propranolol: increased rizatriptan blood level, greater risk of adverse effects

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: weakness, hyperreflexia, incoordination

Drug-herbs. S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e), St. John's wort: increased risk of adverse serotonergic effects, including serotonin syndrome

Patient monitoring

• Monitor patient's response to drug. Assess need for repeat doses.

• Assess vital signs and cardiovascular status, especially if patient has cardiovascular risk factors. Discontinue drug if arrhythmia occurs.

Be aware that drug may cause noncoronary vasospastic reactions, such as peripheral vascular ischemia, GI vascular ischemia and infarction (abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea), splenic infarction, and Raynaud's syndrome. In patients who experience signs or symptoms suggestive of noncoronary vasospasm reaction, rule out the suspected vasospasm reaction before giving additional doses.

Be aware that drug may cause serotonin syndrome. Discontinue drug if serotonin syndrome is suspected.

Patient teaching

• Teach patient how to use drug. Stress that it's effective only in treating diagnosed migraine-not in preventing migraine or treating other types of headache.

• Advise patient to peel back blister pack of Maxalt-MLT with dry hands and place tablet on tongue. Tell him to swallow drug with saliva only, not beverages.

• Tell patient he may repeat dose in 2 hours if headache recurs, but should take no more than 30 mg in 24 hours.

• Inform patient with PKU that orally disintegrating tablets contain phenylalanine.

Teach patient how to recognize and immediately report signs and symptoms of significant increases in blood pressure, arrhythmia, MI, serotonin syndrome, and vasospastic reactions.

Instruct female patient to immediately report possible pregnancy.

• As appropriate, review all other significant adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs and herbs mentioned above.

McGraw-Hill Nurse's Drug Handbook, 7th Ed. Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


A trademark for the drug rizatriptan benzoate.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


A selective-serotonin receptor agonist (SSRA) used for acute management of migraines with or without aura. It does not prevent migraine attacks.

Adverse effects
Dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, regional pain.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Rizatriptan benzoate Neurology An agent used for the acute management of migraine. See Migraine.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
He suspects that physicians who equivocate about Maxalt's pain-fighting power with statements such as, "Let's give the drug a try and see if it works," end up lowering patients' expectations.
Maxalt comes in both an oral and orally disintegrating form, and is available as a generic drug.
Across labels, they found that "placebo" labeling resulted in a typical decrease in pain score of 26.1%, "Maxalt or placebo" labeling gave a 40.1% decline, and "Maxalt" labeling yielded a 39.5% decrease.
A separate study compared the safety of telcagepant with an older migraine drug, Maxalt, that's sold by Merck.
For example, the popular "triptan" drugs, including Relpax, Imitrex and Maxalt, may no longer be safe to take if you have since developed high blood pressure, poorly controlled diabetes or elevated blood cholesterol.
This dass of drugs includes sumatriptan (Imitrex), rizatriptan (Maxalt) and zolmitriptan (Zomig).
In the United States, seven triptans indicated for the short-term treatment of migraine with or without aura are available: sumatriptan (Imitrex), almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), and zolmitriptan (Zomig).
She was later diagnosed with migraine headaches and prescribed amitriptyline, 20mg BID and Maxalt, prn.
Rizatriptan (Maxalt) 5 mg tablets have also been studied in adolescents with migraine.
Currently approved "triptans" include Imitrex (sumatriptan), Zomig (zolmitriptan), and Maxalt (rizatriptan).
Maxalt is due to be officially launched by drug company Merck Sharp and Dohme during Migraine Awareness Week.
Two Merck pregnancy registries (800-986-8999) cover the following conditions: type 2 diabetes sitagliptin+metformin (Janumet) or sitagliptin (Januvia); and migraine headaches rizatriptan (Maxalt).