Ethosuximide

Medication Information Leaflet

There are certain restrictions in the supply of Ethosuximide. Ethosuximide is not available in community/retail pharmacies and is only available in selected healthcare institutions via prescription from in-house doctors. Please check with your healthcare provider if they are able to supply it. 

What is this medication for?

Ethosuximide is used to control seizures (fits).

How should I take/use this medication?

Follow the instructions on your medication label and take the medication as prescribed by your doctor.

You can take this medication with or after food. 

If you are taking capsules, swallow the capsules with a glass of water.

If you are using oral syrup, shake the bottle well before using. Use a medicine spoon or graduated syringe provided to measure your medication. Do not use household spoons as they may not be accurate. 

You may not experience any benefits immediately after starting the medication as it may take up to a few weeks before this medication can exert its full effects. You should continue to take your medication regularly as instructed by your doctor even if you feel well. Stopping your medication without informing your healthcare professional may cause your condition to worsen quickly. 

Do not stop taking or adjust the dose of this medication without consulting your healthcare professional. Do not change brands or dosage forms of the medication without informing your healthcare professional. 

What should I do if I forget to take/use this medication?

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only the usual dose. Do not double your dose or use extra medicine to make up for the missed dose. 

What precautions should I take?

Inform your healthcare professional if you have the following medical conditions before starting on Ethosuximide:
  • Any symptoms of depression and/or suicidal ideation
  • Drug allergies

For women: Tell your doctor if you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding. Your doctor would have discussed the potential benefits and side effects with continuing/starting this medication.

Consult your healthcare professional immediately if your seizures get worse or become different after you start on this medication. 

Be careful when driving or operating machinery as this medication may cause drowsiness or reduction in your reaction to respond quickly to unexpected and sudden events. 

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

Like all medicines, this medication may cause some possible side effects but not everyone experiences them. Consult your healthcare professional if any of the side effects lasts more than a few days or become severe and bothersome.

The common side effects of Ethosuximide include:
  • Dizziness
    • Get up slowly from sitting or lying down position
  • Drowsiness
    • Avoid driving or engaging in activities that requires concentration
  • Diarrhoea
    • Drink more water to replace loss of fluids
  • Nausea, vomiting
    • Take the medicine with or after food to reduce nausea and vomiting
    • Avoid food that is too rich, spicy or has strong smells
  • Headache
    • Take Paracetamol if needed to relieve headache
  • Loss of appetite, abdominal pain
  • Hiccups
  • Poor muscle coordination

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:
  • Swollen face / eyes/ lips / tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

If the following serious side effects happen, you should consult your healthcare professional immediately:
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash due to Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN)
    • SJS and TEN are rare and serious skin reactions. Symptoms include face swelling, blisters on skin, skin rashes that spread within hours to days. It usually occurs within the first few months (monitor closely for the first 3 months) of treatment. 
    • As SJS and TEN progress rapidly, please consult your healthcare professional if you show the first sign of a rash.
  • Unusual bleeding and bruising
  • Prolonged fever, sore throat and mouth sores
  • Rash, joint swelling, swelling at neck and armpits
  • Unusual movement disorders

In rare cases, this medication may cause the following changes to a person’s mental condition, especially in the first few weeks of treatment or during dose changes:
 
  • Worsening agitation, restlessness, violent behaviour
  • New or worsening thoughts of harming yourself or ending your life
  • Other changes in mood or behaviour
 
Please inform your doctor as soon as possible, or for your family or caregiver to inform your doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own. 
 
Do not stop taking this medication on your own without discussing with your doctor. 
 
It is important to note that your doctor has prescribed this medication as he/ she feels you will benefit more from taking this medication over the possible side effects that it may cause, which have a low chance of occurring. Most people take this medication without any such problems.

What food or medication should I avoid when I take this medication?

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medication as it can cause excessive drowsiness. 

How should I store this medication?

Store in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Keep this medication away from children.

How should I throw away this medication safely?

Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing it into the rubbish chute or bin.




Disclaimers
If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.


This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.


Last updated on Aug 2021




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Ethosuximide

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