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Precautions and Warnings With Ethotoin

People who have anemia, blood disorders, or liver disease should talk to their healthcare provider before beginning treatment with ethotoin. Warnings for safely using this drug also include precautions for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, this medicine can cause potentially severe side effects like suicidal thoughts, life-threatening skin reactions, or lymph node problems, which may require immediate medical treatment.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking ethotoin (Peganone®) if you have:
  • Anemia or other blood disorders
  • Liver disease, such as cirrhosis, liver failure, or hepatitis
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Ethotoin Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this drug include the following:
  • Seizure medications, including ethotoin, may increase the risk for suicidal thoughts or behaviors (see Seizure Medications and Suicide). Please seek immediate medical attention if you have thoughts of suicide, a low mood, depression, or any unusual changes in your mood or behavior while taking this drug.
  • There have been reports of lymph node problems occurring in people taking ethotoin. However, it is not known if the drug is the cause of these problems. These problems include swollen and tender lymph nodes, which may be a sign of certain cancers or other complications. Usually, these problems go away when ethotoin is stopped, if it is indeed the cause.
  • Because ethotoin can cause serious and even life-threatening skin rashes, tell your healthcare provider right away if you notice a rash. Most likely, you will need to stop the medicine either temporarily or permanently.
  • There have been cases of certain blood problems with medications like ethotoin. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you develop any signs of these problems, such as unusual bruising or bleeding or frequent or persistent infections.
  • Because ethotoin can affect folic acid, it may increase the risk of megaloblastic anemia. Your healthcare provider may want to monitor you for this problem.
  • As with all seizure medications, ethotoin should not be stopped suddenly.
  • Ethotoin is a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use in pregnant women. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy (see Peganone and Pregnancy).
  • Ethotoin passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Peganone and Breastfeeding).
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Ethotoin Drug Information

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