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All about: Ethosuximide

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Generic Name: Ethosuximide Capsules (eth-oh-SUX-ih-mide)
Brand Name: Zarontin

Ethosuximide is used for:

Controlling absence epilepsy (previously known as petit mal seizures). It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Ethosuximide is an anticonvulsant. It acts in the brain to reduce the number of absence seizures.

Do NOT use Ethosuximide if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Ethosuximide or similar medicines

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Ethosuximide :

Some medical conditions may interact with Ethosuximide . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have liver or kidney disease, lupus, or the blood disorder porphyria
  • if you have a history of mood or mental problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Ethosuximide . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by Ethosuximide
  • Valproic acid because it may affect the amount of Ethosuximide in your blood

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Ethosuximide may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Ethosuximide :

Use Ethosuximide as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with Ethosuximide . Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take Ethosuximide by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • If you miss a dose of Ethosuximide , take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for you next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Ethosuximide .

Important safety information:

  • Ethosuximide may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Ethosuximide with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using Ethosuximide ; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Increasing or decreasing the dose as well as adding or stopping other medicines should be done slowly. Rapidly stopping Ethosuximide may suddenly make absence seizures worse.
  • Ethosuximide may cause swelling and tenderness of your gums. Brush and floss your teeth on a regular schedule and have regular dental checkups.
  • Lab tests, including blood counts and liver function and kidney function tests, may be performed while you use Ethosuximide . These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Ethosuximide should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 3 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Ethosuximide while you are pregnant. Ethosuximide is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Ethosuximide , check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Ethosuximide :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; loss of appetite; stomach pain; stomach upset; nausea; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); depression; increased number of seizures; mood or mental changes; nightmares; red, swollen, or blistered skin; signs of infection (eg, fever, sore throat); thoughts of suicide; trouble concentrating; trouble sleeping; unusual bruising or bleeding.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include absent reflexes; blood in urine; central nervous system depression (eg, coma with slow, shallow breathing); confusion; depression; dizziness; drowsiness; excess protein in urine; fatal bone marrow aplasia; hangover; high or low body temperature; incoordination; irritability; liver dysfunction; low blood pressure; muscle weakness; nausea; poor judgment; rash; skin discoloration; sleepiness; swelling around the eye; unsteadiness; vomiting.

Proper storage of Ethosuximide :

Store Ethosuximide at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Keep Ethosuximide out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Ethosuximide , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Ethosuximide is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Ethosuximide . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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