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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

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Ethosuximide . However, no specific interactions with Ethosuximide are known at this time.

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.

  • Ethosuximide may be taken with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • Ethosuximide comes with an additional patient leaflet. Read it carefully and reread it each time you get Ethosuximide refilled.
  • If you miss a dose of Ethosuximide and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If several hours have passed or if it is nearing time for the next dose, do not double the dose to catch up, unless advised by your health care provider. 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. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Ethosuximide . Using Ethosuximide alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or taking other medications that cause drowsiness (eg, sedatives, tranquilizers) while taking Ethosuximide . Ethosuximide will add to the effects of alcohol and other depressants. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines are depressants.
  • 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 check-ups.
  • LAB TESTS, including blood cell counts and liver function tests, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Ethosuximide is not recommended for use in CHILDREN younger than 3 years of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Ethosuximide during pregnancy. It is unknown if Ethosuximide is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using Ethosuximide , check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the 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:

Abnormal gum growth; abnormal hair growth; aggressiveness; appetite loss; blood in urine; clumsiness; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; exaggerated sense of well-being; headache; hiccups; hives; hyperactivity; inability to concentrate; increased sex drive; irritability; itching; lack of energy; nausea; nearsightedness; night terrors; rash; sleep disturbances; stomach cramps; stomach pain; tiredness; upset stomach; vaginal bleeding; vomiting; weakness; weight loss.

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

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); fever; increased number of generalized tonic-clonic (previously known as grand mal) seizures; increased state of depression with thoughts of suicide; lupus; paranoia; sore throat; unsteadiness when standing; 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

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (, 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: November 1, 2006
Database Edition
Copyright © 2006 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


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