Precautions and Warnings With Ethosuximide
Understanding the precautions and warnings with ethosuximide prior to taking it can help ensure a safe treatment process. Some of these precautions include the danger of suddenly stopping the medication and the safety of taking the drug when pregnant or breastfeeding. Prior to taking ethosuximide, be sure to discuss your medical history with your healthcare provider, and let him or her know if you have conditions such as any blood disorder, liver disease, or any allergies.
Ethosuximide: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking ethosuximide (Zarontin®) if you have:
- Any blood disorder
- Liver disease, including liver failure, hepatitis, or cirrhosis
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or simply lupus for short)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Precautions and Warnings With EthosuximideSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking ethosuximide include the following:
- Seizure medications, including ethosuximide may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you feel depressed or have any suicidal thoughts.
- Ethosuximide can affect the bone marrow's ability to make blood cells. Let your healthcare provider know if you have any signs of low blood cells, such as if you bruise or bleed easily or have frequent infections. It is also recommended that you have blood tests periodically to check for these problems.
- If used alone to treat mixed types of epilepsy (involving more than one type of seizure), ethosuximide can increase the risk of seizures, including grand mal seizures. In general, ethosuximide should not be used alone to treat seizures other than absence seizures.
- Your healthcare provider may need to monitor you very closely if you have liver or kidney disease and take ethosuximide, as the drug has been reported to cause liver and kidney problems (or make these problems worse).
- There have been reports of ethosuximide causing lupus. If you develop lupus while taking ethosuximide, your healthcare provider should consider ethosuximide to be one of the possible causes of your condition.
- As with all seizure medications, ethosuximide should not be stopped suddenly (see Zarontin Withdrawal).
- Ethosuximide can cause concentration problems, speech problems, drowsiness, and problems with coordination. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you develop any of these ethosuximide side effects. Also, make sure to see how ethosuximide affects you before driving or operating any machinery.
- Ethosuximide can interact with other medications (see Drug Interactions With Ethosuximide).
- Ethosuximide is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for pregnant women. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy (see Zarontin and Pregnancy).
- Ethosuximide passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Zarontin and Breastfeeding).