Why is this medication prescribed?
Eletriptan is used to treat the symptoms of migraine headaches (severe throbbing headaches that sometimes are accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to sound and light). Eletriptan is in a class of medications called selective serotonin receptor agonists. It works by narrowing blood vessels in the brain, stopping pain signals from being sent to the brain, and blocking the release of certain natural substances that cause pain, nausea, and other symptoms of migraine. Eletriptan does not prevent migraine attacks or reduce the number of headaches you have.
How should this medicine be used?
Eletriptan comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken at the first sign of a migraine headache. If your symptoms improve after you take eletriptan but return after 2 hours or longer, you may take a second tablet. However, if your symptoms do not improve after you take eletriptan, do not take a second tablet before calling your doctor. Your doctor will tell you the maximum number of tablets you may take in a 24-hour period. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take eletriptan exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
You may take your first dose of eletriptan in a doctor's office or other medical facility where you can be monitored for serious reactions.
Call your doctor if your headaches do not get better or occur more frequently after taking eletriptan.
If you take eletriptan more often or for longer than the recommended period of time, your headaches may get worse or may occur more frequently. You should not take eletriptan or any other headache medication for more than 10 days per month. Call your doctor if you need to take eletriptan to treat more than three headaches in a 1-month period.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking eletriptan,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to eletriptan, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in eletriptan tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- do not take eletriptan if you have taken any of the following medications in the past 24 hours: other selective serotonin receptor agonists such as almotriptan (Axert), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), sumatriptan (Imitrex, in Treximet), or zolmitriptan (Zomig); or ergot-type medications such as bromocriptine (Parlodel), cabergoline, dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), ergoloid mesylates (Hydergine), ergonovine (Ergotrate), ergotamine (Cafergot, Ergomar), methylergonovine (Methergine), methysergide (Sansert), and pergolide (Permax). Do not take eletriptan within 72 hours of clarithromycin (Biaxin), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), nefazodone (Serzone), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir), and troleandomycin (TAO).
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: acetaminophen (Tylenol); antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Asendin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil); aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); fluconazole (Diflucan); selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft); selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), sibutramine (Meridia),and venlafaxine (Effexor); and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan). Also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the following medications or have stopped taking them within the past two weeks: isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl), and tranylcypromine (Parnate). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart disease; a heart attack; angina (chest pain); irregular heartbeats; stroke or 'mini-stroke'; or circulation problems such as varicose veins, blood clots in the legs, Raynaud's disease (problems with blood flow to the fingers, toes, ears, and nose), or ischemic bowel disease (bloody diarrhea and stomach pain caused by decreased blood flow to the intestines). Your doctor may tell you not to take eletriptan.
- tell your doctor if you smoke or are overweight; if you have or have ever had high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or kidney or liver disease; if you have gone through menopause (change of life); or if any family members have or have ever had heart disease or stroke.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you plan to be sexually active while you are taking this medication, talk to your doctor about effective methods of birth control. If you become pregnant while taking eletriptan, call your doctor.
- you should know that eletriptan may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- talk to your doctor about your headache symptoms. Eletriptan should not be used to treat certain type of migraine headaches (hemiplegic or basilar migraines) or other types headaches (such as cluster headaches).
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Talk to your doctor about drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Eletriptan may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- dry mouth
- feeling warm or cold
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- tightness, pain, pressure, or heaviness in the chest, throat, neck, or jaw
- slow or difficult speech
- weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
- sudden or severe stomach pain
- bloody diarrhea
- rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- breaking out in a cold sweat
- cold sweat
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- paleness or blue color of the fingers and toes
- pain, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
Eletriptan may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly.
You should keep a headache diary by writing down when you have headaches and when you take eletriptan.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.