Riluzole (By mouth)


Riluzole (RIL-ue-zole)

Used in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease).

Brand Name(s)


When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine


  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Take your medicine at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals and at the same time each day (such as in the morning and in the evening).

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose of this medicine, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not use two doses at the same time.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using allopurinol (Zyloprim®), amitriptyline (Elavil®), methyldopa (Aldomet®), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine®), phenacetin, omeprazole (Prilosec®), rifampin (Rifadin®), tacrine (Cognex®), theophylline (Theo-Dur®), or medicine to treat an infection (such as ciprofloxacin, lomefloxacin, ofloxacin, norfloxacin, Cipro®, or Noroxin®).
  • Avoid drinking beverages that contain caffeine and eating charcoal-broiled food. Tell your doctor if you smoke tobacco.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine. Alcohol taken together with riluzole may cause liver problems.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease, or a low amount of white blood cells.
  • Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have a rash; stomach pain; pale stools; dark urine; loss of appetite; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
  • This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Avoid people who are ill, and wash your hands often. Brush and floss your teeth gently, do not play rough sports, and be careful with sharp objects.
  • Check with your doctor right away if you think you are getting an infection or if you have a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
  • Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you start having breathing problems, shortness of breath, a dry cough, chest pain, fever, or chills. These could be symptoms of a serious lung problem.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Chest pain.
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Joint pain.
  • Muscle pain, stiffness, or weakness.
  • Shortness of breath or troubled breathing.
  • Yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or upset.
  • Feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings.
  • Headache or dizziness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Numbness or tingling around your mouth.
  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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