Ethosuximide is used to control absence seizures (petit mal) (a type 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 in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It works by reducing abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
Ethosuximide comes as a capsule and as a syrup (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken one or more times a day. Take ethosuximide at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take ethosuximide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of ethosuximide and gradually increase your dose, usually once every 4 to 7 days.
Ethosuximide may help to control your condition, but will not cure it. Continue to take ethosuximide even if you feel well. Do not stop taking ethosuximide without talking to your doctor, even if you experience side effects such as unusual changes in behavior or mood. If you suddenly stop taking ethosuximide, your seizures may worsen. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking ethosuximide,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Ethosuximide may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects may be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, or those mentioned in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:
Ethosuximide may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature, away from light, excess heat, and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not allow the syrup to freeze.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body's response to ethosuximide.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.