Azilect Warnings and Precautions

Before starting Parkinson's treatment with Azilect, warnings and precautions for the medication should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Azilect may cause low blood pressure, involuntary muscle movements, or hypertensive crisis; notify your healthcare provider immediately if you develop signs of these conditions. Azilect warnings and precautions also apply to people who are allergic to components of the drug or are taking Parkinson's medications.

Azilect: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Azilect® (rasagiline mesylate) if you have:
  
  • Liver disease, such as liver failure, hepatitis or cirrhosis
  • Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
     
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
     
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Azilect Warnings and Precautions

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Azilect include the following:
 
  • The medication has several potentially lethal food and drug interactions. In order to take Azilect safely, you must commit to avoiding many foods and medications, including several non-prescription medications. Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any medications (see Azilect Drug Interactions and Azilect Food Interactions).
     
  • Azilect can cause hypertensive crisis, which is a life-threatening increase in blood pressure. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have symptoms of a hypertensive crisis, such as:
 
    • Headaches
    • Feelings of a rapidly or forcefully beating heart (palpitations)
    • Sore or stiff neck
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Sweating, with a high fever (or sometimes with cold, clammy skin)
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia) or low heart rate (bradycardia)
    • Chest pain or throat tightness
    • Dilated (wide open) pupils.
 
  • The liver helps to remove Azilect from the body. Therefore, if you have mild liver disease, you may need a lower Azilect dosage. The drug is not recommended for people with moderate or severe liver disease.
     
  • Taking Azilect with levodopa medications (such as Sinemet®, Sinemet® CR, Parcopa®, or Stalevo®) can increase the risk of involuntary muscle movements called dyskinesias due to levodopa. Although not usually dangerous, dyskinesias can be quite disturbing and intolerable. If you develop a severe dyskinesia while taking Azilect and levodopa, your healthcare provider may need to decrease your levodopa dosage.
     
  • Azilect can cause low blood pressure (hypotension). Let your healthcare provider know if you develop signs of low blood pressure, such as dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness, while taking the drug.
     
  • The medication can cause hallucinations (seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, or hearing things that aren't there). Let your healthcare provider know if you think you may be hallucinating while taking Azilect.
     
  • Studies have suggested that people who take Parkinson's medications (including Azilect) may have a higher risk of malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer). However, it is not clear whether this truly is a problem, since this may simply reflect the fact that people with Parkinson's have a higher risk of melanoma than normal.
     
  • Azilect is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Azilect and Pregnancy).
     
  • It is not known whether Azilect passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Azilect and Breastfeeding).
     
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