Maxalt Side Effects

Maxalt, according to Wikipedia, is marketed under the name of Rizatriptan by its parent company Merck, and is prescribed for the treatment of migraine headaches (in tablets of 5 and 10 mg.).  A second generation triptan, it was approved by the FDA in 1998.  Recently, however, an alarming number of side effects have appeared evident in several patients (admittedly not a large number) who respond adversely to the drug.

The Maxalt side effects for those few who experience them are so severe that one begins to wonder if the cure is not perhaps worse than the disease.

Maxalt was successfully prescribed and used for many years for migraines, whether or not aura was present (aura is the “sixth sense” that one is going to have a migraine, a sensation that some epilepsy sufferers report as a warning to prepare them for a seizure).

The drug was effectual only in the sense of immediate presence; that is, it treated a migraine that was already in existence, which the patient was undergoing at that moment, and for which the drug alleviated the symptoms.  It had no preventative qualities; that is to say, it would not prevent or curtail future migraines.

Maxalt Side Effects Can Lead to Heart Attack?

Apparently, most sources agree that Maxalt did its limited job well, but that was before the Maxalt side effects manifested themselves.  They included (one of the most serious side effects yet reported in a drug interaction) corony artery vasospasm.  This condition is a spasm of the blood vessels leading to the heart, which can cause the arteries to shrink (known as vasoconstriction) and limit blood supply to the heart and other vital organs.  This effect alone, once discovered, put Maxalt/Rizatriptan under more serious scrutiny by the FDA. (see related articles –  imitrex side effects)

Also present was a tendency towards transient myocardial ischemia, an imbalance in cardiac blood supply, which could result in angina, myocardial hibernation, “stunning” (the brief failure of the cardiac wall, almost along the lines of a miniature heart attack) and, most problematic and dangerous of all, myocardial infarction (a full scale heart attack).

Adding to the list (although these are far less frequent) were such difficulties as ventricular fibrillation (an arrhythmic heart murmur) and hypertensive crisis (high blood pressure).   Maxalt, while curing the head and nervous system of migraine symptoms, actually induces far more dangerous ones in the heart and blood flow.

Maxalt’s side effects, while alarming, have not occurred in any alarming numbers—that is to say, they are limited to a handful of patients.   The FDA, rather than banning the drug outright, is content to label its dangers and to advise against its use for patients given to heart trouble.

Consult a medical professional if you need further information about Maxalt.

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/PediatricAdvisoryCommittee/UCM235447.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rizatriptan#Adverse_effects
http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/maxalt/maxalt_pi.pdf