Ranolazine is a medication prescribed to treat angina, which is chest pain or pressure. Angina occurs when the heart does not receive sufficient amounts of oxygen. Ranolazine is an anti-anginal medication that works by helping to improve blood flow. It is only intended for use by patients who suffer from chronic, or long-term, angina. This medication cannot treat a sudden attack of angina, but rather it is for continued maintenance and prevention.
Adults will typically start with a dose no higher than 500 milligrams (mg) of ranolazine, taken twice daily. The doctor may then gradually increase the dose, depending on the patient's response to the medication. Patients must swallow the extended-release tablet whole, as splitting or breaking the tablet can cause too much of the drug to be released at once. This tablet may be taken with or without food, however it should never be taken with grapefruit juice or any other grapefruit product. Patients must avoid these products, as they can interfere with the absorption of the drug in the body.
Mild side effects with the use of ranolazine may include nausea, vomiting, and mild dizziness. Constipation may also occur, along with headache and dry mouth. These side effects are not typically cause for alarm, however if they become severe or persist, patients should contact their doctors.
Patients and caregivers should be aware of the signs of a possible overdose of ranolazine, which requires immediate medical help. Those who have overdosed may faint, become confused, or experience double vision. They may also have numbness, tingling, or even burning in any area of their bodies. Confusion, along with severe nausea, vomiting, and dizziness can also occur.
Other serious side effects may occur when using ranolazine. Patients should go to a hospital if they experience problems breathing or an irregular or pounding heartbeat. Shaking, tremors, and swelling of the extremities can occur. Other reported side effects include changes in the amount or frequency of urination, bloody urine, and muscle weakness.
Before taking ranolazine, patients must discuss their other medical conditions with their physicians. As of 2011, it is unknown whether this drug may harm an unborn or nursing baby. Patients who have liver disease, Long QT syndrome, or an irregular heartbeat may be unable to use this medicine. Kidney disease, low levels of potassium, and a previous abnormal electrocardiogram (EKG) may also preclude a person from using ranolazine.
This medication may interact with other drugs, including those to treat infections, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and cancer, as well as mental illnesses, heart rhythm disorders, and stomach conditions. It may also interact with certain antidepressants, erythromycin and St. John's wort. Digoxin, cyclosporine and barbiturates may also interact with the drug.