"Most of us get headaches from time to time. Some are mild. Others cause throbbing pain. They can last for minutes or days. There are many different types of headaches. How you treat yours depends on which kind you have.
Myocardial Ischemia, Myocardial Infarction, and Prinzmetal's Angina
MAXALT should not be given to patients with ischemic or vasospastic coronary artery disease. There have been rare reports of serious cardiac adverse reactions, including acute myocardial infarction, occurring within a few hours following administration of MAXALT. Some of these reactions occurred in patients without known coronary artery disease (CAD). 5-HT1 agonists including MAXALT may cause coronary artery vasospasm (Prinzmetal's Angina), even in patients without a history of CAD.
Triptan-naTve patients who have multiple cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., increased age, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, obesity, strong family history of CAD) should have a cardiovascular evaluation prior to receiving MAXALT. If there is evidence of CAD or coronary artery vasospasm, MAXALT should not be administered [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. For patients who have a negative cardiovascular evaluation, consideration should be given to administration of the first MAXALT dose in a medically-supervised setting and performing an electrocardiogram (ECG) immediately following MAXALT administration. Periodic cardiovascular evaluation should be considered in intermittent long-term users of MAXALT who have cardiovascular risk factors.
Life-threatening disturbances of cardiac rhythm, including ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation leading to death, have been reported within a few hours following the administration of 5-HT1 agonists. Discontinue MAXALT if these disturbances occur.
Chest, Throat, Neck and/or Jaw Pain/Tightness/Pressure
As with other 5-HT1 agonists, sensations of tightness, pain, pressure, and heaviness in the precordium, throat, neck and jaw commonly occur after treatment with MAXALT and are usually non-cardiac in origin. However, if a cardiac origin is suspected, patients should be evaluated. Patients shown to have CAD and those with Prinzmetal's variant angina should not receive 5-HT1 agonists.
Cerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and stroke have occurred in patients treated with 5-HT1 agonists, and some have resulted in fatalities. In a number of cases, it appears possible that the cerebrovascular events were primary, the 5-HT1 agonist having been administered in the incorrect belief that the symptoms experienced were a consequence of migraine, when they were not. Also, patients with migraine may be at increased risk of certain cerebrovascular events (e.g., stroke, hemorrhage, transient ischemic attack). Discontinue MAXALT if a cerebrovascular event occurs.
As with other acute migraine therapies, before treating headaches in patients not previously diagnosed as migraineurs, and in migraineurs who present with atypical symptoms, care should be taken to exclude other potentially serious neurological conditions. MAXALT should not be administered to patients with a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
Other Vasospasm Reactions
5-HT1 agonists, including MAXALT, may cause non-coronary vasospastic reactions, such as peripheral vascular ischemia, gastrointestinal vascular ischemia and infarction (presenting with abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea), splenic infarction, and Raynaud's syndrome. In patients who experience symptoms or signs suggestive of non-coronary vasospasm reaction following the use of any 5-HT1 agonist, the suspected vasospasm reaction should be ruled out before receiving additional MAXALT doses.
Reports of transient and permanent blindness and significant partial vision loss have been reported with the use of 5-HT1 agonists. Since visual disorders may be part of a migraine attack, a causal relationship between these events and the use of 5-HT1 agonists have not been clearly established.
Medication Overuse Headache
Overuse of acute migraine drugs (e.g., ergotamine, triptans, opioids, or a combination of drugs for 10 or more days per month) may lead to exacerbation of headache (medication overuse headache). Medication overuse headache may present as migraine-like daily headaches, or as a marked increase in frequency of migraine attacks. Detoxification of patients, including withdrawal of the overused drugs, and treatment of withdrawal symptoms (which often includes a transient worsening of headache) may be necessary.
Serotonin syndrome may occur with triptans, including MAXALT particularly during co-administration with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and MAO inhibitors [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, hyperthermia), neuromuscular aberrations (e.g., hyperreflexia, incoordination) and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). The onset of symptoms can occur within minutes to hours of receiving a new or a greater dose of a serotonergic medication. MAXALT treatment should be discontinued if serotonin syndrome is suspected [see DRUG INTERACTIONS and PATIENT INFORMATION].
Increase in Blood Pressure
Significant elevation in blood pressure, including hypertensive crisis with acute impairment of organ systems, has been reported on rare occasions in patients with and without a history of hypertension receiving 5-HT1 agonists, including MAXALT. In healthy young adult male and female patients who received maximal doses of MAXALT (10mg every 2 hours for 3 doses), slight increases in blood pressure (approximately 2-3 mmHg) were observed. MAXALT is contraindicated in patients with uncontrolled hypertension [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-Approved Patient Labeling (PATIENT INFORMATION).
Risk of Myocardial Ischemia and/or Infarction, Prinzmetal's Angina, Other Vasospasm-related Events, and Cerebrovascular Events
Inform patients that MAXALT may cause serious cardiovascular side effects such as myocardial infarction or stroke. Although serious cardiovascular events can occur without warning symptoms, patients should be alert for the signs and symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, slurring of speech, and should ask for medical advice when observing any indicative sign or symptoms. Patients should be apprised of the importance of this follow-up [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Patients should be cautioned about the risk of serotonin syndrome with the use of MAXALT or other triptans, particularly during combined use with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIsJ [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, DRUG INTERACTIONS, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Inform patients that MAXALT should not be used during pregnancy unless the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus [see Use in Specific Populations].
Advise patients to notify their healthcare provider if they are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed [see Use In Specific Populations].
Ability To Perform Complex Tasks
Since migraines or treatment with MAXALT may cause somnolence and dizziness, instruct patients to evaluate their ability to perform complex tasks during migraine attacks and after administration of MAXALT.
Medication Overuse Headache
Inform patients that use of acute migraine drugs for 10 or more days per month may lead to an exacerbation of headache, and encourage patients to record headache frequency and drug use (e.g., by keeping a headache diary) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Handling of Orally Disintegrating Tablets Packages
Patients with Phenylketonuria
Inform phenylketonuric patients that MAXALT-MLT Orally Disintegrating Tablets contain phenylalanine (a component of aspartame). Each 5-mg orally disintegrating tablet contains 1.1 mg phenylalanine, and each 10-mg orally disintegrating tablet contains 2.1 mg phenylalanine [see Use In Specific Populations].
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Carcinoaenesis: Oral carcinogenicity studies were conducted in mice (100 weeks) and rats (106 weeks) at doses of up to 125 mg/kg/day. Plasma exposures (AUC) at the highest dose tested were approximately 150 (mice) and 240 times (rats) that in humans at the maximum recommended daily dose (MRDD) of 30 mg/day. There was no evidence of an increase in tumor incidence related to rizatriptan in either species.
Mutaaenesis: Rizatriptan was neither mutagenic nor clastogenic in a battery of in vitro and in vivo genetic toxicity studies, including: the microbial mutagenesis (Ames) assay, in vitro mammalian cell mutagenesis and chromosomal aberration assays, and the in vivo chromosomal aberration assay in mouse.
Impairment of Fertility: In a fertility study in rats, altered estrus cyclicity and delays in time to mating were observed in females treated orally with 100 mg/kg/day rizatriptan. The no-effect dose was 10 mg/kg/day (approximately 15 times the human exposure at the MRDD). There were no other fertility-related effects in the female rats. There was no impairment of fertility or reproductive performance in male rats treated with up to 250 mg/kg/day (approximately 550 times the human exposure at the MRDD).
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. MAXALT should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
In a general reproductive study in rats, birth weights and pre- and post-weaning weight gain were reduced in the offspring of females treated prior to and during mating and throughout gestation and lactation with doses of 10 and 100 mg/kg/day. In a pre- and post-natal developmental toxicity study in rats, an increase in mortality of the offspring at birth and for the first three days after birth, a decrease in pre- and post-weaning weight gain, and decreased performance in a passive avoidance test (which indicates a decrease in learning capacity of the offspring) were observed at doses of 100 and 250 mg/kg/day. The no-effect dose for all of these effects was 5 mg/kg/day, associated with a maternal plasma exposure (AUC) approximately 7.5 times that in humans receiving the MRDD. With doses of 100 and 250 mg/kg/day, the decreases in average weight of both the male and female offspring persisted into adulthood. All effects on the offspring in both studies occurred in the absence of any apparent maternal toxicity.
In embryofetal development studies, no teratogenic effects were observed when pregnant rats and rabbits were administered doses of 100 and 50 mg/kg/day, respectively, during organogenesis. Fetal weights were decreased in conjunction with decreased maternal weight gain at the highest doses tested. The developmental no-effect dose in these studies was 10 mg/kg/day in both rats and rabbits (maternal exposures approximately 15 times human exposure at the MRDD). Toxicokinetic studies demonstrated placenta! transfer of drug in both species.
Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., maintains a registry to monitor the pregnancy outcomes of women exposed to MAXALT while pregnant. Healthcare providers are encouraged to report any prenatal exposure to MAXALT by calling the Pregnancy Registry at 1-800-986-8999.
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when MAXALT is administered to a nursing woman. Rizatriptan is extensively excreted in rat milk, with levels in milk at least 5-fold higher than levels in maternal plasma.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients under 6 years of age have not been established.
The efficacy and safety of MAXALT in the acute treatment of migraine in patients aged 6 to 17 years was established in an adequate and well-controlled study [see Clinical Studies].
The incidence of adverse reactions reported for pediatric patients in the acute clinical trial was similar in patients who received MAXALT to those who received placebo. The adverse reaction pattern in pediatric patients is expected to be similar to that in adults.
Clinical studies of MAXALT did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients.
Although the pharmacokinetics of rizatriptan were similar in elderly (aged ≥ 65 years) and in younger adults (n=17), in general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, starting at the low end of the dosing range. This reflects the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Geriatric patients who have other cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, smoking, obesity, strong family history of coronary artery disease) should have a cardiovascular evaluation prior to receiving MAXALT [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Patients with Phenylketonuria
Orally Disintegrating Tablets contain phenylalanine (a component of aspartame). The 5 and 10 mg orally disintegrating tablets contain 1.1 and 2.1 mg phenylalanine, respectively.
Last reviewed on RxList: 1/5/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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