A healthcare provider may prescribe ethosuximide to treat simple or complex absence seizures in people with epilepsy. The medication has been approved to treat these seizures in adults and children as young as three years old. It is not known how ethosuximide works to treat absence seizures, although it may work by affecting certain calcium channels in the brain. There are currently no universally accepted off-label ethosuximide uses.
Absence seizures are a certain type of epileptic seizure. Epilepsy is a brain condition that occurs when there are sudden, brief changes in the electrical system of the brain. These changes in brain activity can lead to seizures (see Epilepsy Symptoms). Depending on which part of the brain is affected, seizures may affect the person's consciousness, body movements, emotions, or senses.
In over half of all cases, the cause of epilepsy is not known. When the cause of epilepsy is known, it may be one of the following:
A brain tumor or brain infection, such as meningitis
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