Maxalt melt tablets contain the active ingredient rizatriptan, which is a type of medicine called a serotonin (or 5HT) agonist. This type of medicine is also commonly known as a 'triptan'. It is a painkiller specifically used to relieve migraine attacks.
Although the cause of migraine attacks is not fully understood, it is thought that widening of blood vessels in the brain causes the throbbing pain of migraine headaches. Rizatriptan relieves this pain by causing the blood vessels in the brain to narrow.
Maxalt (rizatriptan) works by stimulating receptors called serotonin (or 5HT) receptors that are found in the brain. A natural substance called serotonin normally acts on these receptors, causing blood vessels in the brain to narrow. Rizatriptan mimics this action of serotonin by directly stimulating the serotonin receptors in the brain. This narrows the blood vessels and so relieves the pain of migraine headaches.
The dose of Maxalt (rizatriptan) should be taken as early as possible after the migraine headache has started, though it is also effective if taken at a later stage during the migraine attack. It should not be taken during the aura, or warning phase that can occur before a migraine headache, as the safety and effectiveness of the medicine have not been established during this period, and the medicine will not prevent the headache.
Maxalt melt tablets are designed to melt on the tongue in your saliva so they can be taken without the need for a drink of water. They may be particularly useful for people who feel sick or vomit during their migraine attack and are unable to drink, as well as for people who can't swallow conventional tablets.
Before you start taking Maxalt, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. It will give you more information about the active ingredient, rizatriptan, and a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
If you have recently had a meal, rizatriptan may take a little longer before it starts to work than if you had not eaten. This is because the food in your stomach can delay the absorption of the medicine. Although rizatriptan is better taken when your stomach is empty, you can still take it if you have had a meal.
If your migraine at first improves but then comes back again, you may take another wafer, providing it is at least two hours after you took the first one. If your migraine is not eased after taking the first dose, a further dose is unlikely to work, so do not take a second wafer.
Do not take more than two 10 mg wafers in 24 hours.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with Maxalt:
Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)
- Feeling weak or fatigued.
- Pins and needles or tingling sensations.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Feeling of tightness or heaviness in the throat or chest.
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest pain (see warning section above).
- Awareness of your heartbeat (palpitations).
- Increased heart rate.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Dry mouth.
Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)
- Blurred vision.
- Neck pain.
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
- Increase in blood pressure.
- Sensation of spinning (vertigo).
- Rash or itching.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer. For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Maxalt should be used with caution in:
- Mild to moderately decreased kidney function.
- Mild to moderately decreased liver function.
- People with risk factors for coronary heart disease, such as smoking, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, obesity, or a family history of heart disease.
- Men over 40 years of age.
- Post-menopausal women.
- People who suffer from phenylketonuria should be aware that Maxalt melt tablets contain aspartame, which is a source of phenylalanine.
Maxalt should NOT be used in:
- Severely decreased kidney function.
- Severely decreased liver function.
- People who have had a heart attack.
- Heart disease caused by inadequate blood flow to the heart (ischaemic heart disease), e.g. angina.
- A severe form of angina pectoris, not caused by exertion (Prinzmetal's angina).
- Narrowing of blood vessels in the extremities (peripheral vascular disease), e.g. problems with blood circulation in the legs or arms.
- Uncontrolled or moderate to severe high blood pressure (hypertension).
- People who have had a stroke.
- History of small temporary strokes (transient ischaemic attacks).
- A form of migraine associated with temporary paralysis of one side of the body (hemiplegic migraine).
- A type of migraine where there is a disturbance in brain function which initially presents with total blindness followed by dizziness, speech disturbances, ringing in the ears and double vision (basilar migraine).
- This medicine is not recommended for people aged over 65 years, as there is no information available regarding its safety and effectiveness in this age group.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
The patient information leaflet (PIL) is a leaflet containing specific information about medical conditions, doses and side effects. You can download a copy of the PIL here:
Patient Info Leaflet