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Maxalt is used to treat the headache phase, which is usually the most debilitating state, of a migraine.


What is the medicine, Maxalt?

Maxalt or rizatriptan (sometimes generally termed a ‘triptan’) is one of the medicines belonging to the group called 5HT1B/1D-receptor agonists. A natural chemical in the brain called serotonin or 5HT normally attaches to these receptors causing blood vessels to constrict. During a migraine attack, blood vessels in the brain widen resulting in the pain of the headache. Maxalt works by stimulating the 5HT1B/1D receptors (like serotonin), leading to narrowing of the brain’s enlarged blood vessels and relieving the pain.

A Free Consultation with our GP is available for this condition
On Diagnosis, treatments are sent direct to you
by our pharmacy using Next-Day delivery!

How you take Maxalt

Maxalt comes in two tablet forms – as a tablet to be swallowed whole with water, and as a tablet called Maxalt Melt that is dissolvable (or lyophilisate) in the mouth. Both forms of Maxalt are available as 5 mg and 10 mg but the usual dose is 10 mg. The dissolvable tablet must be handled with dry hands. Placed on the tongue, it should be given time to dissolve, and then swallowed with saliva. The dissolvable tablet is useful when drinks are unobtainable or if you get an upset stomach after taking tablets. Maxalt should be taken before eating; you can take it after food but it will take longer to exert its effect.


When and how to take Maxalt will be explained to you by your doctor. Importantly, Maxalt should be taken as soon as possible after the start of migraine headache. Maxalt will not stop the onset of the migraine attack so should not be used before the headache starts. Two doses only can be taken in any 24-hour period, and these should be at least 2 hours apart. Do not take the second dose for the same attack if the first dose does not give relief; only use the second dose to treat a different migraine attack. Get medical advice if you take too much.


Who can take Maxalt?

Maxalt is for use by people aged 18 to 65 years who experience migraine. Maxalt should not be taken if you are allergic to rizatriptan or to any of the tablets’ ingredients. As a precaution, report all of your allergies, any chest pain and, if at the time of your headache, you become dizzy, have problems walking, or weak limbs.


Before taking Maxalt, you need to discuss with your doctor your medical conditions, particularly if you have heart and blood vessel problems such as heart attack, angina, high blood pressure, blocked arteries, and stroke; and severe kidney or liver problems. Additionally, your risk factors for heart disease should be assessed, including whether you have a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, and are a smoker, a man over the age of 40, or a post-menopausal woman.


All your recent, current, and future medications (prescription, non-prescription and herbal) should also be reviewed. You may not be able to take Maxalt if you are already taking other agents to treat or prevent migraine (e.g., other ‘triptans’, ergotamine, and methysergide); monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) or St John’s wort for depression; propranolol; or the antibiotic linezolid.


Women who are pregnant or breast feeding should inform their doctor, as the effects of Maxalt on the unborn child are unknown and breastfeeding is not recommended for 24 hours after taking this medicine.


Side effects of Maxalt

Most frequently, the side effects of Maxalt are dizziness, and feeling tired and sleepy. Palpitations, tingling, flushed face digestive disturbances, body heaviness or stiffness, insomnia, and abnormal skin sensations are also common. Some people become unsteady, faint, and confused, and have blurred vision, high blood pressure, difficulty breathing, body tightness, and muscle pain/weakness. To note is that the symptoms of migraine also include some of these effects, and that taking Maxalt too frequently can lead to a chronic headache. Rarely, stroke and heart attack (in patients at risk of heart and blood vessel disease, i.e., they have high blood pressure, diabetes, relatives with heart disease/stroke or they smoke, are male and over 40 years of age, or female and postmenopausal), slow heartbeat, an allergic reaction, ‘serotonin syndrome’ (symptoms include fluctuating blood pressure, high body temperature, loss of consciousness and of muscle coordination, hallucinations, and anxiety), and seizures occur; importantly, these should be reported immediately to a doctor.

A Free Consultation with our GP is available for this condition
On Diagnosis, treatments are sent direct to you
by our pharmacy using Next-Day delivery!