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Why is this medication prescribed?
Ethosuximide is used to manage absence seizures (petit mal) (a form of seizure in which there is a very short loss of awareness during which the person may stare straight ahead or blink his eyes and does not respond to others). Ethosuximide is among a class of drugs called anticonvulsants. It affects the brain’s aberrant electrical activity by lowering it.
How should this medicine be used?
Both a liquid syrup and a capsule form of ethosuximide are available for oral use. Typically, it is taken once or more each day. Every day, take ethosuximide at around the same time(s). Ask your doctor or chemist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Follow the medication instructions precisely. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.
Your doctor will generally start you on a low dose of ethosuximide and progressively raise your dose, usually once every 4 to 7 days.
Although it won’t treat your disease, ethosuximide may help you manage it. Despite feeling fine, keep taking ethosuximide. Even if you have adverse effects like strange changes in behaviour or mood, you shouldn’t stop taking ethosuximide without first consulting your doctor. Your seizures can get worse if you abruptly stop using ethosuximide. Most likely, your dosage will be gradually reduced by your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Other prescriptions for this drug are possible. For more information, consult your physician or chemist.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking ethosuximide,
- If you have any drug allergies, including those to ethosuximide, methsuximide (Celontin), or other substances, tell your doctor and chemist.
- Inform your doctor and chemist about all prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products that you are now taking or intend to use. Antidepressants, additional seizure medications such phenytoin (Dilantin) and valproic acid (Depakene, Depakote), medications for pain, sedatives, sleeping pills, or tranquillizers should all be mentioned. Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
- Inform your doctor if you suffer from, or have ever suffered from, renal or liver problems.
- Inform your doctor if you are expecting, intend to get pregnant, or are nursing a baby. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking ethosuximide.
- Be sure to inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking ethosuximide if you are having surgery, including dental surgery.
- You should be aware that this medicine may cause you to feel sleepy. Prior to understanding how this drug affects you, avoid using machinery or driving a car.
- Inquire with your doctor if drinking is okay for you to do while taking this medicine.
- You should be aware that while taking ethosuximide, your mental health could alter in unexpected ways and that you could experience suicidal thoughts the desire to hurt or kill oneself or act suicidally. One in 500 adults and children aged 5 and older who were treated with anticonvulsants like ethosuximide for a variety of diseases during clinical studies developed suicidal thoughts while on the medication. One week after they began taking the medicine, several of these folks started exhibiting suicidal thoughts and actions. If you use an anticonvulsant drug like ethosuximide, there is a chance that you could experience changes in your mental state; but, there is also a chance that if your condition is left untreated, such changes could happen to you as well. You and your doctor will determine whether taking an anticonvulsant drug carries more dangers than not taking it. Any of the following symptoms should prompt you, your family, or your carer to call your doctor immediately away: panic attacks, agitation or restlessness, as well as newly-appearing or worsening irritation, worry, or depression; risky impulses acting on; trouble falling or keeping asleep; harsh, irate, or confrontational behaviour Mania (an irrationally frantic and ecstatic state); expressing or having thoughts of desiring to harm or terminate one’s life; abandoning family and friends; obsession with dying and death; donating prized possessions ; or any other odd alterations in mood or behaviour. Make sure your family or carer is aware of any symptoms that could be dangerous so they can contact the doctor on your behalf if you are unable to call for help.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you miss a dosage, take it as soon as you recall. If your next dose is approaching, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing regimen. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
There may be negative effects from ethosuximide. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:
- Stomach pain or cramps
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Enlargement of the tongue
- Excessive gum growth
- Unexpectedly waking up terrified from sleep
- Having trouble concentrating
- Hair growth in strange areas
- Uterine bleeding
Some adverse effects may be serious. Call your doctor right away if you suffer any of the symptoms listed below or those cautioned about in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section:
- Fever, chills, and other symptoms of illness in addition to a painful throat
- Edoema or joint pain
- Body aches
- Rash that is red and irritating, especially on the face
- Unknown cause of fever
Ethosuximide may produce other adverse effects. If you have any strange side effects while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right once.
You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch or by phone at 1-800-332-1088 if you suffer a serious side event.
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Keep it at room temperature and out of the bathroom and away from light, too much heat, and moisture. Keep the syrup from freezing.
Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the ideal approach to get rid of your medicines. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your chemist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back program, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p for additional information.
As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.
Overdose symptoms could include:
- Decreased vigilance
- Decreased breathing
- Coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time)
What other information should I know?
Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. Your doctor will prescribe certain lab tests to assess your body’s response to ethosuximide.
No one else should take your medication. Any queries you may have regarding prescription refills should be directed to your chemist.
You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.