Rizatriptan is used for treating migraine headaches with or without aura (eg, flashing lights, wavy lines, dark spots). It should not be used to prevent migraines or to treat cluster headaches.
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What Is Rizatriptan?
Rizatriptan is a popular migraine treatment, which belongs to a class of medications known as triptans. Triptans are not the same as pain killers, instead they work by reversing the changes in the brain which can cause migraines. By reversing these changes, Rizatriptan works to treat the cause of the migraine as well as reducing the symptoms.
How does Rizatriptan Work?
Rizatriptan works by stimulating receptors called serotonin (or 5HT) receptors that are found in the brain, which causes the blood vessels in the brain to contract. The narrowing of the blood vessels reverses the widening, which is thought to be one of the causes of migraines.
What is a Migraine?
A migraine is a common condition, which affects millions of people across the UK. A migraine is characterized by a severe throbbing headache. Pain is usually felt at the front or side of the head. Approximately 20% of women and 7% of men experience migraines.
Like any medicines, Rizatriptan can cause side effects, but not everybody may experience them. Some symptoms may be caused by the migraine itself.
Common side effects of Rizatriptan include pain, heaviness, pressure or tightness in the chest, throat or other parts of the body, or unusual sensations, including numbness, tingling and warmth or cold. These effects may be intense but generally pass quickly. Some people also experience nausea, dry mouth and drowsiness. These side effects are usually mild and improve on their own.
Patient Information Leaflet
Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment. Patient information can be found here.
Over the counter pain-killers such as paracetamol, aspirin or nurofen may help to reduce the symptoms of migraines. They are most effective when taken as soon as the migraine starts.
Triptans are medications that can help to reverse the changes in the brain that may cause migraines.