Meds and you

27 September 2013

Ethosuximide

Ethosuximide is an anticonvulsant. Anticonvulsants are drugs that are used to treat or prevent convulsions, i.e. the seizures seen in epilepsy.

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Ethosuximide is the active ingredient of Zarontin (Nappi Code: 77892-009, 779105-001).

General information
Ethosuximide is an anticonvulsant. Anticonvulsants are drugs that are used to treat or prevent convulsions, i.e. the seizures seen in epilepsy.

In South Africa ethosuximide is registered for the treatment of petit mal epilepsy, a type of epilepsy which can be described as brief clouding of consciousness.

Do not stop using this antiepileptic drug abruptly as a sudden stop may cause seizures. It is advised that you decrease your dose gradually, and only as directed by your doctor.

Because ethosuximide may cause dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation, driving and any hazardous tasks should be avoided until you know how this medication affects you.

How does ethosuximide work?
Ethosuximide stabilises electrical activity in the brain and therefore reduces the risk of seizures.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 3
Available as: ethosuximide is available as capsules and as syrup.
What does it do? Ethosuximide reduces the risk of seizures.
Overdose risk: medium
Dependence risk: low
Is ethosuximide available as a generic? no
Is ethosuximide available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: the full effect of this drug is only seen after a few days of treatment.
Duration of action: 24-48 hours
Stopping this medicine: do not stop using this antiepileptic drug abruptly as it may cause seizures. It is advised that you decrease your dose gradually, and only as directed by your doctor.
Prolonged use: periodic blood tests are required to monitor the levels of the drug in the body.

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

Pregnancy: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.
Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children under the age of 3.
The elderly: no special precautions need to be taken.
Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Side Effect
Frequency
Consult your doctor

Common
Rare
Only if severe
In all cases
diarrhoea
X

X

abdominal pain
X

X

loss of appetite
X

X

nausea/vomiting
X

X

drowsiness

X
X

headache

X
X

dizziness

X
X

balance/coordination disturbance

X

X
depression

X

X
puschosis

X

X
skin rash

X

X
swollen tongue

X

X
fever

X

X
sore throat

X

X
unusual bleeding/bruising

X

X

Interactions

carbamazepine reduced effect of ethosuximide
isoniazid risk of ethosuximide toxicity
oral contraceptives risk of contraceptive failure
phenytoin risk of phenytoin toxicity and decreased ethosuximide effect
sodium valproate risk of ethosuximide toxicity

Disease interactions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have liver or kidney disease.

Overdose action
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage
Adults: oral, 500-1500 mg/day

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.
 
 

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