Generic name: Riluzole.

Rilutek is a glutamate-release blocker and the first effective drug used to treat the chronic nervous system disease ALS. It is thought to work by inhibiting the release of glutamate, a chemical that can injure motor neurons in the brains of people with ALS.

Quick Facts About Rilutek


Used to extend the lives of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Rilutek Dosage

Take on an empty stomach, at the same time every day (morning and evening), 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. Do not increase dose without consulting your doctor.

  • Usual adult dose: 50 milligrams twice per day (every 12 hours).
  • Usual child dose: not prescribed for children.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Rilutek Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

none reported; however, if you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: abdominal pain, appetite loss, diarrhea, dizziness (especially in women), fainting, lung problems, nausea, pneumonia, tingling sensation around the mouth, vomiting, weakness. Severity of side effects increases with increase in dosage; may warrant discontinuation of treatment.

Less common Rilutek side effects: back pain, cough, gas, headache, high blood pressure, joint aches, runny or stuffy nose, swelling in arms and legs, upset stomach. At high doses: dizziness when rising from a sitting or lying position, painful urination, urinary infection. Rare side effects: aggravation, eczema, general feeling of ill health, mouth infection, rapid heartbeat, vein irritation.


Inform your doctor before combining Rilutek with:

drugs that are liver-toxic such as allopurinol (Zyloprim), methyldopa (Aldomet), and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine); omeprazole (Prilosec); phenacetin; rifampin (Rifadin); tacrine (Cognex); theophylline (Theo-Dur); tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil).

Avoid caffeine, charcoal-broiled foods, cigarettes and cigarette smoke, and excess amounts of alcohol while taking Rilutek.

Special Cautions

Effect of Rilutek on pregnant women and nursing mothers not known. If pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, inform your doctor immediately. Potential benefits may outweigh potential risks.

Seniors with kidney or liver disease should use with caution.

Not prescribed for children.

  • Use with caution if you have a history of liver or kidney disease. Doctor should monitor liver and kidney function regularly.
  • Inform your doctor immediately if you develop a fever or feel ill; may indicate low white blood cell count.
  • May cause dizziness, feinting, and tiredness, and impair your ability to drive a car or operate machinery. Dc not take part in any activity that requires mental alertness until adjusted to medication.
  • Tablets may be sensitive to light and temperature. Store between 68°F and 77°F, away from bright light.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Rilutek side effects, please contact your healthcare provider