Ethosuximide is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat certain kinds of epilepsy (also known as fits or seizures). It is used to control absence seizures (also called petit mal seizures which involve a brief, sudden loss of consciousness) and myoclonic seizures (uncontrolled jerking movements).
Take Ethosuximide exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
This medicine is available as a capsule, oral solution, or syrup.
If you are taking an oral solution or syrup, shake the bottle well before you take it to ensure that the liquid is evenly mixed. Use the measuring spoon or cup provided to measure your dose.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the severity of your condition and your response to the medication.
Ethosuximide must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it suddenly as this may worsen your condition.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have porphyria (an inherited disorder that causes skin or nervous system abnormalities) as Ethosuximide may not be suitable for you.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- history of mental illness
- liver disease
- kidney disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Ethosuximide to a child. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine tests (e.g. liver and kidney functions, complete blood count, Ethosuximide levels in the blood) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
- Regular monitoring of signs of depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviour, and skin reactions may also be needed.
Ethosuximide may cause drowsiness or dizziness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and cramps, tiredness, sleep disturbances, hiccups, decreased appetite, irritability, swollen tongue, enlarged gums, and disturbance in attention.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth, or eyes accompanied by fever
- having thoughts of self-harm or unusual changes in mood or behaviour (being too depressed, agitated, or having compulsive and impulsive behaviour)
- swollen lymph nodes, swelling of the face, weakness, low-grade fever, widespread rash, yellowing of the skin or eyes
- rashes on the cheeks or other body parts, muscle or joint pain, extreme tiredness, sensitivity to sunlight, shortness of breath, chest pain
- twitching, restlessness, fidgeting, swaying of the body
Ethosuximide may cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets to drop.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds, and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Inform your doctor if you have a fever, cough, or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Inform your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other medicines for fits or seizures e.g. carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, lamotrigine, valproic acid
- isoniazid (medicine to treat TB, a lung infection known as tuberculosis)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Ethosuximide.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements, and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
The oral solution should be used within 2 months after opening. Do not freeze the oral solution. Protect it from light.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.