What is riluzole?

Riluzole affects muscles and nerves in the body. The exact way that it works is unknown.

Riluzole is used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Riluzole may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.


Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you

  • have liver disease; or
  • have kidney disease.

You may not be able to take riluzole, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Riluzole is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether riluzole will be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not take riluzole without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether riluzole passes into breast milk. Do not take riluzole without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Riluzole may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities.

Use alcohol cautiously while taking riluzole. Alcohol may increase the risk of liver problems caused by riluzole.

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Seek emergency medical treatment.

Symptoms of a riluzole overdose have not been reported.

If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.

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Side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, contact your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical attention:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
  • a fever, chills or other signs of infection; or
  • liver problems (yellowing of the skin or eyes, nausea, abdominal pain or discomfort, severe fatigue).

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take riluzole and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • weakness;
  • drowsiness;
  • dizziness; or
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation or decreased appetite.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • theophylline (Theo-Dur, Slo-Bid, Elixophyllin, Bronkodyl, Aerolate, Slo-Phyllin, Theovent, Theoclear, Uniphyl, Uni-Dur, Respbid,), and many others;
  • allopurinol (Lopurin, Zyloprim);
  • methyldopa (Aldomet);
  • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine);
  • omeprazole (Prilosec);
  • amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep, others);
  • caffeine-containing products;
  • fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), ofloxacin (Floxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), or norfloxacin (Norflex); or
  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane).

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with riluzole. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products.

Other Names

Rilutek and riluzole

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Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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