Relpax (Eletriptan) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Relpax
Relpax is an oral drug used for treating migraine. This medicine provides relief from migraine headaches and other symptoms of migraine attacks such as increased sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, and vomiting. Migraine attacks occur when certain blood vessels in the brain become dilated. Eletriptan (generic name of this drug) works by narrowing these dilated brain blood vessels. Relpax belongs to a category of drugs called Triptans.
Relpax is not a preventive medicine and cannot prevent or reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. It only provides relief from migraine symptoms once the migraine attack occurs.
This drug is only meant for the treatment of migraine headaches and should never be used to treat tension headaches or other types of headaches.
Side Effects for Relpax
Relpax may cause various side effects. While some side effects are serious in nature and must be addressed immediately, others are mild and dissipate on their own once the patient’s body gets used to the drug.
Stop taking Relpax and contact your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any of the following serious side effects: severe nausea, chest pain, sudden numbness, severe headache (not migraine), problems with speech, balance, or vision, bloody diarrhea, a cold or numb feeling in the hands or feet, blue nails, toes, or fingers, and severe abdominal pain.
Continue your medication if you experience the following mild side effects: dry mouth, mild dizziness, headache, stomach pain, drowsiness, mild weakness, or mild cramps.
Eletriptan may cause side effects that are not included above. Read the patient information leaflet that you receive when you buy Relpax to know the complete list of side effects. Before starting treatment, you may consider asking your doctor what side effects to expect, how to minimize their effects, and what you should do if the drug causes any serious side effects.
To ensure that you can safely take this medicine, inform your doctor about your medical history. You should not buy Relpax if you have: severe liver disease, coronary heart disease, blood circulation problems, chest pain, a history of heart attack, stroke, or heart disease, ischemic bowel disease, or a headache that is not a migraine. In addition to the above, migraine patients who are allergic to Eletriptan should not use this medicine.
It is unclear if Relpax harms an unborn child. If you are pregnant, use the drug only when directed by your doctor. Similarly, breastfeeding women should take this medicine only after their doctor approves the treatment.
The usual dose is Relpax 20 mg or 40 mg. Your doctor will prescribe the right dose for you after considering certain factors such as your response to Relpax, pre-existing conditions, and other medicines that you are taking.
Eletriptan is known to interact with various medicines, such as antidepressants, other migraine treatment drugs, blood pressure medicines, certain antibiotics, certain antifungal drugs, and HIV medicines. Before you start the treatment, inform your doctor about all the medicines that you are using. While you are using Relpax, do not take any new medicine without consulting your doctor.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.