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ethosuximide
ethosuximide


ethosuximide

Generic Name: ethosuximide (ETH oh SUX i mide)Brand Names: Zarontin

What is ethosuximide?

Ethosuximide is an anti-epileptic medication, also called an anticonvulsant.

Ethosuximide is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat absence seizures (also called "petit mal" seizures) in adults and children.

Ethosuximide may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about ethosuximide?

Ethosuximide can cause a decrease in many types of blood cells (white cells, red cells, platelets). Call your doctor at once if you have any unusual bleeding, weakness, or any signs of infection, even if these symptoms first occur after you have been using the medication for several months.

Ethosuximide may also cause liver damage. Call your doctor if you have symptoms such as loss of appetite, stomach pain, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking this medication. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

Call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, or if you feel agitated, hostile, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Do not stop taking ethosuximide without first talking to your doctor, even if you feel better. You may have increased seizures if you stop taking ethosuximide suddenly. You will need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.

Contact your doctor if your seizures get worse or you have them more often while taking ethosuximide.

Carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet stating that you are taking ethosuximide, in case of emergency. Any doctor, dentist, or emergency medical care provider who treats you should know that you are taking a seizure medication.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking ethosuximide?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to ethosuximide or to other seizure medications.

If you have lupus, liver disease, or kidney disease, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take ethosuximide.

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking this medication. Tell your doctor if you have new or worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several months of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether ethosuximide is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Your name may need to be listed on a pregnancy registry if you use seizure medication during pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and delivery to evaluate whether the medication had any effect on the baby.

Ethosuximide passes into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not give this medication to a child younger than 3 years old without the advice of a doctor.

How should I take ethosuximide?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Ethosuximide can cause a decrease in many types of blood cells (white cells, red cells, platelets). This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Call your doctor at once if you have any unusual bleeding, weakness, or any signs of infection, including flu-like symptoms. These symptoms may first develop even after you have been using the medication for several months.

To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood may need to be tested on a regular basis while taking ethosuximide. Your kidney and liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

Do not stop taking ethosuximide without first talking to your doctor, even if you feel better. You may have increased seizures if you stop taking ethosuximide suddenly. You will need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.

Contact your doctor if your seizures get worse or you have them more often while taking ethosuximide.

Carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet stating that you are taking ethosuximide, in case of emergency. Any doctor, dentist, or emergency medical care provider who treats you should know that you are taking a seizure medication.

It is important to use ethosuximide regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Store ethosuximide at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

See also: Ethosuximide dosage in more detail

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, extreme drowsiness, and weak or shallow breathing.

What should I avoid while taking ethosuximide?

Ethosuximide can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Ethosuximide side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, or if you feel agitated, hostile, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), mouth sores, unusual weakness;

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • joint pain or swelling with fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, chest pain;

  • patchy skin color, red spots, or a butterfly-shaped skin rash over your cheeks and nose (worsens in sunlight);

  • fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash; or

  • worsening of seizures.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • diarrhea;

  • hiccups, vomiting, weight loss;

  • swelling in your tongue or gums;

  • dizziness, drowsiness, nervousness, confusion;

  • blurred vision;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • lack of balance or coordination; or

  • unusual vaginal bleeding.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Ethosuximide Dosing Information

Usual Adult Dose for Seizures:

Initial dose: 500 mg (10 mL) orally dailyMaintenance dose: Dosage may be increased by small increments, for example 250 mg daily every 4 to 7 days, until optimal seizure control with minimal side effects is achieved. Dosages greater than 1.5 g per day, in divided doses, should be administered only under strict supervision of a physician.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Seizures:

3 to 6 years:Initial dose: 250 mg (5 mL) orally dailyMaintenance dose: Dosage may be increased by small increments, for example 250 mg daily every 4 to 7 days, until optimal seizure control with minimal side effects is achieved. For most pediatric patients the optimal dose is 20 mg/kg/day in divided doses. Dosages greater than 1.5 g per day, in divided doses, should be administered only under close supervision by a physician.> 6 to 18 years:Initial dose: 500 mg (10 mL) orally dailyMaintenance dose: Dosage may be increased by small increments, for example 250 mg daily every 4 to 7 days, until optimal seizure control with minimal side effects is achieved. For most pediatric patients the optimal dose is 20 mg/kg/day in divided doses. Dosages greater than 1.5 g per day, in divided doses, should be administered only under close supervision by a physician.

What other drugs will affect ethosuximide?

Before taking ethosuximide, tell your doctor about all other seizure medications you use, especially:

  • phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton); or

  • phenytoin (Dilantin).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with ethosuximide. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about ethosuximide.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.02. Revision Date: 07/08/2009 4:56:52 PM.
  • ethosuximide Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
  • Ethosuximide Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Ethosuximide Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Ethosuximide MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Zarontin Prescribing Information (FDA)

See Also...

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