Riluzole is a drug which is classified as a glutamate release blocker. It is specifically made to treat people with ALS which is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, this neurodegenerative disease is very devastating. Riluzole is one of the first drugs that can help extend the survival of those afflicted with ALS. Riluzole works to slow down the release of glutamate, which is what has been found causing nerve damage in those with ALS. As of yet, there is no real cure for anyone that has this disease.
People that have a history of either kidney disease, or liver disease, will need to have Riluzole prescribed with great caution. The side effects to women that are pregnant are not as yet really known, and the same is true for those mothers that are nursing. If you are either pregnant or nursing however, you need to let your doctor know before taking Riluzole. Avoiding alcoholic drinks is also important when you are taking Riluzole. Riluzole is a drug that can affect your liver, and consumption of alcoholic drinks may increase your chances of greater liver dysfunction.
Your doctor will need to monitor you quite often while you are taking Riluzole, and take regular blood tests of liver functioning. If while taking Riluzole, you experience jaundice, pale stools, dark urine, abdominal pain, low grade fever, and nausea, then these are signs of liver problems which need to be reported to your doctor right away.
Riluzole is to be taken just as the medicine label recommends it for you. The usual dose is 50 milligrams twice daily and taken before you eat. Your doctor will also have specific instructions for you pertaining to foods to avoid while on Riluzole. You need to make sure that you take Riluzole at the same times every day. Your doctor should also know of other medications which you are taking since there are some that can interact in a negative way with Riluzole.
Riluzole may cause other serious side effects besides harming the liver. Angina pains, chills, fevers, and general feelings of having the flu may occur with this drug. Diarrhea, nasal symptoms, and coughing is also common for some people. Other effects reported have been feelings of numbness and tingling, stiff muscles, and headaches. Riluzole may also lower the white blood cell count in some people which makes it harder to fight infections. Seeing your doctor frequently is important while taking Riluzole to monitor these possible serious side effects.