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What Is Rasagiline?

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Rasagiline is a monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B) inhibitor. It works by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain.

Rasagiline is used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (stiffness, tremors, spasms, poor muscle control). Rasagiline is sometimes used with another drug called levodopa.

Rasagiline may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Many medicines can interact with rasagiline and should not be used at the same time. Your doctor may need to change your treatment plan if you use any of the following drugs: cyclobenzaprine (a muscle relaxer), dextromethorphan (a cough medicine), meperidine (Demerol), methadone, St. John's wort, or tramadol.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Rasagiline is used alone or in combination with another medication to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (a slowly progressing disease of the nervous system causing a fixed face without expression, tremor at rest, slowing of movements, walking with shuffling steps, stooped posture and muscle weakness). Rasagiline is in a class of medications called monoamine oxidase (MAO) type B inhibitors. It works by increasing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain.

How should this medicine be used?

Rasagiline comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take rasagiline at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take rasagiline exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your doctor may start you on a low dose of rasagiline and may increase your dose based upon your body's response to this medication.

Do not stop taking rasagiline without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking rasagiline, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as a fever; muscle stiffness; unsteadiness, wobbliness, or lack of coordination; or changes in consciousness. Tell your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms when your dose of rasagiline is decreased.

Rasagiline Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction:

  • hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Stop using rasagiline and call your doctor at once if you have:
  • extreme drowsiness, falling asleep suddenly, even after feeling alert;
  • unusual changes in mood or behavior;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • worsening symptoms of Parkinson's disease (especially uncontrolled muscle movements); or
  • dangerously high blood pressure--severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears, nosebleed, anxiety, confusion, severe chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats, seizure.

Some people taking rasagiline with levodopa have fallen asleep during normal daytime activities such as working, talking, eating, or driving. Tell your doctor if you have any problems with daytime sleepiness or drowsiness.

You may have increased sexual urges, unusual urges to gamble, or other intense urges while taking this medicine. Talk with your doctor if this occurs.

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness;
  • sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams;
  • depressed mood;
  • upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;
  • loss of appetite, weight loss;
  • constipation;
  • joint pain or stiffness;
  • swelling in your hands or feet;
  • dry mouth, cough; or
  • flu symptoms (fever, chills, body aches).