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Pronounced: AKS-ert
Generic name: Almotriptan

Why is this drug prescribed: Axert is a migraine treatment. It relieves the type of migraine that's accompanied by an aura (a set of symptoms that includes visual disturbances, speech difficulties, tingling, numbness, and weakness), as well as the kind that lacks an aura. Axert is a member of a family of drugs called selective serotonin receptor agonists. These medications are thought to work by stopping abnormal dilation of blood vessels in the head, fighting inflammation, and reducing pain transmissions along certain nerve pathways near the brain. Axert relieves migraines already in progress, but it won't prevent them from starting. It has not been tested for other types of headache, such as cluster headache, and should be used only for migraine attacks.

Most important fact about this drug: In people with heart disease, this type of drug has been known to trigger irregular heartbeat and heart attacks, sometimes leading to death. Do not take this medication if you have angina, a history of heart attack, or any other serious heart problem.

How should you take this medication: Take one Axert tablet when a migraine begins. If the headache comes back, consult your doctor. You may be able to take a second dose 2 hours after the first one. Do not take more than 2 tablets in 24 hours. --If you miss a dose... Axert should be used only when needed. Do not take it on a regular basis. --Storage instructions... Axert should be stored at room temperature.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Axert. Common side effects may include: Dry mouth, headache, nausea, sleepiness, tingling or burning feeling Less common or rare side effects may include: Abdominal pain or cramps, abnormal coordination, abnormal reflexes, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, bronchitis, changes in dreams, chest pain, chills, colitis, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), depressive symptoms, dermatitis, diarrhea, digestive disturbances, dizziness, double vision, dry eyes, ear infection, eye irritation, eye pain, fainting, fatigue, fever, heart palpitations, heightened sense of smell, high blood pressure, high spirits, hyperventilation, impaired concentration, increased salivation, increased thirst, indigestion, insomnia, itching, joint pain, laryngitis, muscle aches, muscle tightness or weakness, neck pain, nervousness, nerve disorders, nightmares, nosebleed, numbness, painful menstrual period, photosensitivity reaction, rapid heartbeat, rash, restlessness, rigid neck, ringing in ears, runny nose, sensitivity to sound, shakiness, shortness of breath, sinus problems, sleepiness, sneezing, sore throat, spasms in the voicebox, sweating, taste alteration, tremor, vertigo, vision disturbances, vomiting, weakness

Why should this drug not be prescribed: Do not take Axert if you have a history of heart attack, chest pain (angina), or any other condition that diminishes the supply of blood to the muscle of the heart. Axert could cause the coronary arteries to constrict, triggering an attack. Do not use Axert if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure. The drug could cause your pressure to rise. Do not use Axert within 24 hours of taking another serotonin agonist drug such as naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), sumatriptan (Imitrex), or zolmitriptan (Zomig). Also avoid Axert within 24 hours of taking an ergot-based drug such as ergotamine (Cafergot, Ergomar, Wigraine), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), or methylsergide (Sansert). Ask your doctor what kind of migraine headache you have. If it is categorized as hemiplegic or basilar migraine, you should not take Axert. If Axert gives you an allergic reaction, you will not be able to use this drug.

Special warnings about this medication: Some patients taking serotonin agonists have suffered strokes, though it's unclear whether the drug was at fault. If you've ever had a stroke or mini-stroke, make sure the doctor is aware of it. Symptoms such as tightness, pain, pressure, or a heavy feeling in the chest, throat, neck, or jaw may occur after taking Axert. If you develop any of these symptoms, or develop circulatory problems such as pale or blue fingers, notify your doctor. You will probably need to have a complete cardiac exam. Let your doctor know if you have liver or kidney problems. Axert should be used with caution. Axert is not for children under 18 years of age.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: Remember that Axert must never be used within 24 hours of taking another drug in its class, including Amerge, Maxalt, Imitrex, and Zomig. You should also avoid taking Axert within 24 hours of an ergot-based migraine remedy such as Cafergot, D.H.E. 45, Ergomar, Migranal, Sansert, or Wigraine If Axert is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Axert with any of the following. Antidepressants that boost serotonin levels, including Luvox, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. Erythromycin (E.E.S, E-Mycin, Ery-Tab, PCE) Itraconazole (Sporanox) Ketoconazole (Nizoral) Ritonavir (Norvir)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: Axert has not been studied in pregnant women. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known whether Axert appears in breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, caution is advised.

Recommended dosage: Take one tablet (either 6.25 or 12.5 milligrams) at the onset of the headache. If the headache returns, a second dose can be taken 2 hours later with your doctor's approval. Do not take more than 2 doses in 24 hours. Inform your doctor if you experience more than 4 headaches in a one-month period. If you have liver or kidney problems, you should use the 6.25-milligram tablets and should not exceed 12.5 milligrams per day.

Overdosage: Little is known about Axert overdose, but the most likely results would be a rise in blood pressure and other heart and circulatory problems. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

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