Tell us about your experiences with weight management. Take our survey!

Maxalt (rizatriptan benzoate)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2023

Maxalt® (rizatriptan benzoate) is a prescription medicine used for the acute treatment of migraine, with or without aura, in adults and in children ages 6 and up who have a clear migraine diagnosis. It is a type of drug known as a selective 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonist (triptan).1

Maxalt is designed to only treat a migraine that has already begun. It works best if it is taken as soon as migraine symptoms appear. Maxalt should not be used to prevent migraine attacks. It should not be used to treat other types of migraine, including hemiplegic migraine or basilar migraine.1

Overuse of acute migraine drugs like Maxalt can cause medication overuse headaches. If your migraine attacks worsen while taking Maxalt, your doctor may decide to stop your treatment with it.1

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

What are the ingredients in Maxalt?

The active ingredient in Maxalt is rizatriptan benzoate.1

How does Maxalt work?

Maxalt works by binding to 5-HT1B/1D receptors on blood vessels in the brain. This process helps narrow the blood vessels around the brain. In turn, this reduces inflammation in the body that can trigger head pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and other migraine symptoms.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Maxalt include:1

  • Feeling sleepy or tired
  • Pain or pressure in your chest or throat
  • Dizziness

These are not all the possible side effects of Maxalt. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Maxalt. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Maxalt.

Other things to know

Maxalt may cause dizziness, weakness, or fainting. If you have these symptoms, do not drive a car, use machinery, or do anything where you need to be alert.1

Do not take Maxalt if you have:1

  • Current or previous heart problems
  • Had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Current or previous blood vessel problems, including ischemic bowel disease
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Taken other triptan medicines in the last 24 hours
  • Taken ergot-containing medicines in the last 24 hours
  • Hemiplegic or basilar migraines
  • Taken monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors within the last 2 weeks
  • An allergy to rizatriptan

Before starting treatment with Maxalt, tell your doctor if you have:1

  • Current or previous heart problems, high blood pressure, chest pain, or shortness of breath
  • Any risk factors for heart or blood vessel problems, such as high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, or obesity
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Kidney or liver problems
  • Any other medical condition

There is not enough data to know if Maxalt is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding before taking Maxalt. They can help you decide if Imitrex is right for you.1

Maxalt can interact with other medicines and cause serious side effects. Before starting treatment with Maxalt, tell your doctor if you take:1

  • Propranolol-containing medicines such as Inderal®, Inderal® LA, or Innopran® XL
  • Medicines used to treat mood disorders, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

Before beginning treatment for migraine tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you take. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Maxalt.