Riluzole is a medication used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Riluzole delays the onset of ventilator-dependence or tracheostomy in some people and may increase survival by two to three months. Riluzole is available in tablet and liquid form.
|Trade names||Rilutek, Teglutik|
|Elimination half-life||9–15 hours|
|CompTox Dashboard (EPA)|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||234.199 g/mol g·mol−1|
|3D model (JSmol)|
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosisEdit
- Very common (>10% frequency): nausea; weakness; decreased lung function
- Common (1–10% frequency): headache; dizziness; drowsiness; vomiting; abdominal pain; increased aminotransferases
- Uncommon (0.1-1% frequency): pancreatitis; interstitial lung disease
- Rare (<0.1% frequency): neutropenia; allergic reaction (including angiooedema, anaphylactoid reaction)
Symptoms of overdose include: neurological and psychiatric symptoms, acute toxic encephalopathy with stupor, coma and methemoglobinemia. Severe methemoglobinemia may be rapidly reversible after treatment with methylene blue.
Contraindications for riluzole include: known prior hypersensitivity to riluzole or any of the excipients inside the preparations, liver disease, pregnancy or lactation.
Mechanism of actionEdit
Riluzole preferentially blocks TTX-sensitive sodium channels, which are associated with damaged neurons. Riluzole has also been reported to directly inhibit the kainate and NMDA receptors. The drug has also been shown to postsynaptically potentiate GABAA receptors via an allosteric binding site. However, the action of riluzole on glutamate receptors has been controversial, as no binding of the drug to any known sites has been shown for them. In addition, as its antiglutamatergic action is still detectable in the presence of sodium channel blockers, it is also uncertain whether or not it acts via this way. Rather, its ability to stimulate glutamate uptake seems to mediate many of its effects. In addition to its role in accelerating glutamate clearance from the synapse, riluzole may also prevent glutamate release from presynaptic terminals. Since CK1δ plays a key role in TDP-43 proteinopathy, a pathological hallmark of ALS, this could help to better decipher drug mechanism of action.
A reformulation of riluzole that originated at Yale University and is known by the code name BHV-0223 is under development for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder and mood disorders now by Biohaven Pharmaceuticals.
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- National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for prescription of riluzole in the UK 
- Manufacturer's website