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Maxalt (rizatriptan) is an abortive treatment for migraine headaches with or without aura. It is also used off-label to alleviate cluster headaches. In both cases the medication is only effective at stopping headaches that have already begun; it will not prevent future headaches from developing.
The active ingredient in Maxalt, rizatriptan, is in the triptan family of drugs. Like other triptans, Maxalt is highly effective at alleviating migraine pain and symptoms but does carry risk of potentially serious side effects. It is important to discuss use of this product with a doctor and to disclose any other medical conditions or medications being taken before starting treatment.
Maxalt for Maximum Migraine Relief
Like most headache treatments, Maxalt works best if taken at the earliest symptoms that a migraine is starting. For many individuals these early symptoms include aura, nausea or sensitivity to light or noise; for others it is the onset of pain.
Treatment can vary between individuals and guidelines may vary between countries. In most cases, the standard dose for otherwise healthy adults is 5 to 10 mg, which can be followed up with an additional 5 to 10 mg at 2-hour intervals if the symptoms persist or return. Regulatory agencies typically advise taking no more than 20 to 30 mg in a 24 hour period.
Maxalt's effects are dose-dependent; a higher dose provides greater relief. Unfortunately, higher doses also increase risk of potentially severe side effects. In most cases patients new to Maxalt start with 5 mg doses, increasing to 10 mg only if 5 mg proves insufficient. Starting with lower doses also gives an idea of how well a patient tolerates the medication at relatively safe levels.
Effects are noticeable within 15 to 30 minutes of taking a tablet and peak within 1 or 2 hours. Taking with food is optional; food may resolve stomach-related side effects, but the medication works faster if taken on an empty stomach. If vomiting occurs within 15 minutes of taking a dose, a replacement dose should be taken.
Additional methods that tend to alleviate migraine symptoms, such as laying down, dimming lights, taking a hot shower or whatever other techniques work for an individual, will further enhance the effects of Maxalt.
Using Maxalt for Cluster Headaches
As anyone with cluster headaches knows, treating this type of headache can be tricky. Generally more time-sensitive than migraines, the speed with which a cluster headache is treated is often the difference between success and failure. For this reason regular tablets are generally not the first choice for treatment; triptan rapidly-dissolving tablets, nasal sprays and injections are usually preferred.
That said, some patients do find Maxalt tablets successfully abort cluster headaches, particularly if taken at early stages. Dosage and administration is typically the same as for migraines; 5 to 10 mg per dose, repeated after 2 hours if needed.
Warnings & Side Effects
The majority of Maxalt users experience no side effects or only very mild, transient side effects, including:
Rarely more serious adverse effects occur, which warrant emergency medical attention:
Individuals who are under 18 and those who have medical conditions or are taking other medications will likely need adjusted doses to prevent potentially dangerous side effects. Speak with a doctor about potential risks before taking Maxalt if:
In most cases use should be avoided completely if:
If too much Maxalt is taken, or if children or pets consume an unknown amount, emergency medical attention is warranted even if no symptoms are apparent.
No current Rx required
Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.