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    Information about Riluzole

    Riluzole uses

    Riluzole is used in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

    How riluzole works

    Riluzole is a glutamate antagonist and used an an anticonvulsant (anti fits). It is believed to work by inhibiting the action of glutamate (chemical messenger) and also inactivates the voltage-dependent sodium channels. In this way it regulates the transmission of nerve signals in the brain.

    Common side effects of riluzole

    Weakness, Headache, Dizziness, Nausea, Abdominal pain, Diarrhea, Decreased pulmonary function, Paresthesia (tingling or pricking sensation), Sleepiness, Increased heart rate, Vomiting, Pain, Abnormal liver function tests
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Swati Mishra
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Khushbu Goel
    DM, MD
    Last updated on:
    18 Feb 2020 | 05:21 PM (IST)
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    Read Our Editorial Policy

    Available Medicine for Riluzole

    • ₹200
      Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
      1 variant(s)

    Expert advice for Riluzole

    • Take it twice a day, 1 hour before or 2 hours after the meal, preferably at the same time.
    • It may cause sleepiness. Don't drive or do anything requiring concentration until you know how it affects you.
    • Avoid smoking as it may make Riluzole less effective. 
    • Your doctor may monitor your liver function, lung function and blood count while you are taking this medicine. Inform your doctor if you develop yellowing of the skin, abdominal pain, fever, sore throat, new cough or shortness of breath while taking this medicine. 
    • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, planning pregnancy or breastfeeding. 

    Frequently asked questions for Riluzole


    Q. For how long I have to take Riluzole?

    The duration of therapy depends on your response to the treatment and how well you can tolerate Riluzole. Continue to take Riluzole even if you feel well. Riluzole may delay the progression of ALS but does not cure it. Do not stop taking Riluzole without consulting your doctor.

    Q. Can I take Riluzole with meals?

    No, Riluzole should not be taken with meals. Food interferes with working of Riluzole by decreasing the rate of Riluzole’s absorption due to which its effectiveness in improving your condition may decrease. It should be taken at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. High fatty meals should be avoided.

    Q. Does Riluzole cure amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?

    No, Riluzole does not cure amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a condition in which the nerves that control muscle movement slowly die, causing the muscles to shrink and weaken. Use of Riluzole extends survival of patients with ALS, which means that patients are alive without any requirement of external support for breathing (intubation, tracheostomy or mechanical ventilation).

    Q. What if somebody takes more than the recommended doses of Riluzole?

    On taking more than the recommended dose of Riluzole the patient may experience drowsiness, headache, tiredness, memory loss, and shortness of breath. The patient may also experience difficulty in concentrating, involuntary movements, discoloration of the skin (bluish), seizures, and coma. If any such symptoms occur, seek for immediate medical help in a nearby hospital.

    Q. Can Riluzole be crushed?

    Riluzole tablets can be crushed and given in a spoonful of sugar, food puree, or yoghurt. However, that crushed tablets can have an anesthetic effect on the tongue. If the patient faces some problem in taking the tablet then oral suspension of Riluzole can be given.

    Q. What are the early symptoms of ALS?

    The early symptoms of ALS include muscle twitches in the arm, leg, shoulder, or tongue, muscle cramps, tight and stiff muscles (spasticity), muscle weakness affecting an arm, a leg, neck or diaphragm. Also, one may experience slurred and nasal speech and difficulty in chewing or swallowing. It has been observed that for many individuals the first sign of ALS may appear in the hand or arm which creates difficulty in doing simple tasks such as buttoning a shirt, writing, or turning a key in a lock. In other cases, symptoms initially affect one of the legs because of which people experience awkwardness while walking or running, or they notice that they are tripping or stumbling more often.

    Q. How can we confirm if it is ALS?

    It is not possible for one test to provide a definitive diagnosis of ALS. ALS can be primarily diagnosed based on detailed history of the symptoms and signs observed by a physician during physical examination along with a series of tests such as Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction study (NCS). EMG is a special recording technique that detects electrical activity of muscle fibers and the other is NCS, which measures electrical activity of the nerves and muscles.

    Q. Can ALS be familial?

    About 5 to 10 percent of all ALS cases are familial, which means that an individual inherits the disease from his or her parents. The risk factors associated with ALS includes smoking and exposure to pesticides and insecticides. In one report it has been shown that service in the military can cause ALS. Researchers have suggested that exposure to toxins during warfare, or strenuous physical activity, are possible reasons because of which some veterans and athletes may be at increased risk of developing ALS.

    Content on this page was last updated on 18 February, 2020, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)