Ethosuximide

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Ethosuximide Brand Name(s): Ethosuximide and Ethosuximide.

Uses

What is Ethosuximide used for?

Ethosuximide is commonly used alone or with other medications to prevent and control a certain type of seizure (absence or petit mal seizure). It works by controlling the abnormal electrical activity in the brain that occurs during a seizure.

How should I take Ethosuximide?

Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once or twice daily or as directed by your doctor.

If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.

Dosage is based on your age, medical condition, blood levels of ethosuximide, and response to treatment. For children, the dosage may also be based on their weight.

It is very important to follow your doctor’s dosing instructions exactly. Your doctor will start you on a low dose and slowly increase your dose. It may take several weeks or months to reach the best dose for you and to get the full benefit from this medication. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time(s) each day.

Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.

Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.

How do I store Ethosuximide?

Ethosuximide is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Ethosuximide in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Ethosuximide that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Ethosuximide down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Ethosuximide?

Before taking ethosuximide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to methsuximide; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, kidney disease, mental/mood disorder (such as depression, psychosis).

This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.

Liquid products may contain sugar and/or alcohol. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, alcohol dependence, liver disease, or any other condition that requires you to limit/avoid these substances in your diet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness, loss of coordination, or fainting. These side effects can increase the risk of falling.

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

This medication passes into breast milk, but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Ethosuximide during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Ethosuximide. Ethosuximide is pregnancy risk category N according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Ethosuximide?

Drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness, headache, stomach upset, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, or loss of coordination may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A small number of people who take anticonvulsants for any condition (such as seizure, bipolar disorder, pain) may experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems. Tell your doctor right away if you or your family/caregiver notice any unusual/sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior including signs of depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, thoughts about harming yourself.

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: fainting, aching swollen joints, severe tiredness, easy bruising/bleeding, rapid breathing, signs of liver problems (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn’t stop, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine), signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine, pink/bloody urine).

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Ethosuximide?

A product that may interact with this drug is: orlistat.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness, including alcohol, marijuana, antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine).

Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.

Ethosuximide may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Ethosuximide?

Ethosuximide may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Ethosuximide?

Ethosuximide may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Ethosuximide.

What is the dose of Ethosuximide for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Seizures

Initial dose: 500 mg (10 mL) orally daily

Maintenance 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.

Renal Dose Adjustments

Administer with extreme caution in patients with renal dysfunction.

Liver Dose Adjustments

Administer with extreme caution in patients with liver dysfunction

Precautions

NARROW THERAPEUTIC INDEX:

-This drug should be considered a narrow therapeutic index (NTI) drug as small differences in dose or blood concentrations may lead to serious therapeutic failures or adverse drug reactions.

Recommendations:

– Generic substitution should be done cautiously, if at all, as current bioequivalence standards are generally insufficient for NTI drugs.

-Additional and/or more frequent monitoring should be done to ensure receipt of an effective dose while avoiding unnecessary toxicities.

Monotherapy with ethosuximide in patients with mixed types of epilepsy may increase the probability of grand mal seizures in some patients.

Dosage changes of ethosuximide, as well as, the addition and/or elimination of other medications should be done slowly. In addition, withdrawal of ethosuximide therapy should be done gradually.

Ethosuximide may impair the mental and/or physical abilities necessary for potentially hazardous tasks such as driving or operating machinery.

What is the dose of Ethosuximide for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Seizures

3 to 6 years:

Initial dose: 250 mg (5 mL) orally daily

Maintenance 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 daily

Maintenance 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.

How is Ethosuximide available?

Ethosuximide is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Oral Solution
  • Soft Gel

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Ethosuximide, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 26, 2018 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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