A member of the class of anti-anginal medication, Ranexa is a medication used for treating chronic angina, that is, ongoing chest pain or pressure that is felt when the heart does not get enough oxygen. It helps in ameliorating the blood flow in order to aid the heart work more effectively and efficiently.
The medication cannot be used during an emergency attack of angina. It is available in tablets which have 500 mg and 1000 mg of ranolazine as the active ingredient along with other ingredients.
How it works
The active ingredient, ranolazine, in the medications lessens or slows the flow of sodium ions into the heart muscle cells. Special channels on the cell surface named sodium-dependent calcium channels through which calcium ions usually enter the cells are impeded by the medication.
This, as a result, decreases the amount of calcium ions entering the heart muscle cells. These calcium ions usually cause the heart muscles to contract. Due to this reduction in the flow of calcium in the cells, ranolazine aids the heart to relax, thus, improving the blood flow to the heart muscle; relieving the symptoms of angina pectoris.
How to use this medication
Before the intake of the medication or before getting a refill, one should read the medication guide, if available from one’s pharmacist. One’s doctor may occasionally change the number of doses that one is given in order to ensure that one gets the best results. The most advised starting dose of Ranexa is 375 mg twice a day.
The dose should or can be increased to 500 mg twice a day after two to four weeks and then later followed by 750 mg dosage twice a day, depending on the patient’s response. Patients who have certain specific side effects, their dosage might be decreased by their doctors.
Elderly patients, patients who weigh less than 60 kg, and patients who have any problems with their heart, liver or kidney, their dosage needs to be closely administered and needs to be carefully carried out. Ranexa tablets must be swallowed whole and should not be split, crushed, or chewed and can be consumed either with or without food.
One should not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. The dosage of Ranexa is based on your medical condition as well as response to treatment.
Even though it is rare, one should seek emergency medical help if any allergic reactions to Ranexa occur. The doctor has prescribed Ranexa because he or she has judged that the benefit that the medication offers is greater than the risk of side effects. However, if the following symptoms of serious reactions occur, one should seek medical assistance immediately:
- Itching/ swelling (including the face/ tongue/ throat)
- Severe dizziness
- Difficulty in breathing
The following are some of the side effects which are common and can be reduced by the intake of a low dosage:
- A spinning sensation
- Stomach pain
- A headache
- Dry mouth
- Ringing in your ears,
- Swelling in the hands, ankles, or feet
- Slow, fast, or irregular heartbeats
- Blood in urine
- Shortness of breath
However, one should promptly contact a doctor or a healthcare specialist if the less occurring yet more serious side effects occur. These include:
- Bloating or swelling of the hands, face, arms, feet, or lower legs
- Continuous ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
- Difficult or labored breathing
- Fast, pounding, irregular or racing heartbeat or pulse
- A feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
- Sensation of spinning
- Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles," or a tingling feeling
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Decreased urine output
- Shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
- Slow or irregular heartbeat
- Trembling or shaking of the limbs
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
One should talk to a doctor or pharmacist if they want any more information about the possible side effects of Ranexa.
The first precaution to take is to consult the doctor and tell him whether you have any allergies either to the medication, any of the ingredients in Ranexa extended-release tablets, or any other allergies.
It is vital for the doctor to check one at regular visits and look for any problems or unwanted effects that might be caused by this medicine.
A change in the heart rhythm called prolongation of the QT interval can be caused by the medication. This may change the way one’s heart beats and can cause palpitations or fainting spells. One should check with the doctor right away if one starts having any of these symptoms.
One should not eat or drink grapefruit since it may increase the effects of ranolazine by increasing the amount of medicine in the body.