How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Flunarizine is used to prevent migraine headaches with or without aura (warning signs that occur before the headache begins). This medication should not be used for treatment of acute migraine headaches (headaches that have already started).
Flunarizine helps to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and, to a lesser extent, the severity of the attacks. Flunarizine does not appear to have an effect on how long attacks last. The effect of flunarizine may not be seen for several weeks. Do not stop taking the medication due to lack of effect within the first six to eight weeks.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Apo-Flunarizine® is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under flunarizine. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended adult dose of flunarizine is 10 mg daily taken in the evening with or without food. Those who have side effects may find 5 mg daily in the evening to be effective.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is very important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. It should be taken on a regular basis for maximum effectiveness. Flunarizine does not appear to have an effect on how long attacks last. The effect of flunarizine may not be seen for several weeks. Do not stop taking the medication due to lack of effect within the first six to eight weeks.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take flunarizine if you:
- are allergic to flunarizine or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- have or have a history of depression
- have or have a history of Parkinson’s disease or involuntary movement disorders (extrapyramidal symptoms)
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- dryness of the mouth
- increased appetite or weight gain
- muscle aches
- stomach pain
- trouble sleeping
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- irregular movements of the arms, face, or legs
- loss of balance control
- muscle spasms or contractions
- shuffling walk
- signs of depression (such as such as feeling sad, losing interest in things you used to enjoy, weight changes, changes in sleep habits, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, thoughts of self-harm)
- skin rash
- stiffness of the arms or legs
- trembling and shaking of the hands and fingers
- trouble speaking or swallowing
- unusual secretion of breast milk
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Depression: If you experience depression (such as depressed thoughts or mood, lack of interest in normal activities, sleep changes, or extreme fatigue), contact your doctor or health care professional immediately.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Do not operate vehicles or equipment until you know how flunarizine affects you. Avoid drinking alcohol, since it can add to the potential drowsiness caused by flunarizine.
Fatigue: Flunarizine can cause fatigue, which in rare cases can become progressively worse. Contact your doctor if you notice worsening fatigue or tiredness.
Lactose: This medication contains lactose. If you have hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption, talk to your doctor about whether this medication is appropriate for you.
Liver problems: Tell your doctor if you have ever had any liver problems.
Movement disorders: Flunarizine may cause movement problems such as slow movements, stiffness, and other symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease such as restlessness, tremor, muscle spasms, or uncontrolled movements of the face, arms or legs. Contact your doctor if you experience any of these effects.
Pregnancy: The safety of flunarizine for use by pregnant women has not been established. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if flunarizine passes into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication has not been established for use by children less than 18 years old.
Seniors: The effectiveness of this medication for use by seniors has not been established.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between flunarizine and any of the following:
- antihistamines (e.g., azelastine, bilastine, cetirizine, doxylamine, diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine, loratadine, rupatadine)
- antipsychotics (e.g., chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone)
- benzodiazepines (e.g., lorazepam, diazepam)
- chloral hydrate
- muscle relaxants (e.g., cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol, orphenadrine, tizanidine)
- narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone)
- seizure medications (e.g., carbamazepine, gabapentin, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, topiramate, valproic acid)
- tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, nortriptyline, desipramine)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Apo-Flunarizine