Ethosuximide is a medicine used in treatment of absence (vacant seizures) epilepsy. It may be used as an adjunct in other types of seizures, but rarely used.
This medicine has become available only recently in India, at the time of preparation of this information, there was only one brand available in India, which is aptly labelled as ABSENZ.
Why is Ethosuximide important for my child’s treatment?
It is important that your child takes Ethosuximide regularly so that they have no Seizures or fewer seizures.
Do not stop giving Ethosuximide suddenly, as your child may have more seizures.
What is Ethosuximide available as?
ONLY as Liquid medicine in India, other countries have tablets/capsules as well.
When should I give Ethosuximide?
Twice a day; morning and evening. Ideally, 10-12 hours apart.
For example, anytime between 7 to 8 am and right after 12 hours between 7 to 8 pm. You can adjust the time slot according to your schedule.
However, there are some exceptions when your doctor may advise to give it thrice a day. Please follow your doctor’s instructions in such case.
It should ideally be given at the same time every day to establish a routine as it minimizes the chances of missing a dose.
What if I miss Dose?
Liquids: The child can be given the missed dose, if you remember to give it within a lapse of 6 hours. If you fail to give the missed dose within 6 hours, then might as well leave it. It is advisable to wait until the time of next routine dose.
Never give a double dose of Ethosuximide.
If your child vomits out the content within 30 minutes of taking the medicine dosage then you can give the dose again; but if your child vomits after 30 minutes of taking the dose, then just leave it be and do not give it again.
How much of the drug should I give?
Your doctor will work out the accurate amount of Ethosuximide (the dose) for your child and write the dosage in your prescription.
When you first start giving Ethosuximide to your child, you are supposed to give them a small amount and then increase the dose little by little over a course of few days or weeks. This helps your child’s body to get use to the medicine. Your doctor will clarify what steps to take.
It is mandatory to follow the instructions given by your doctor about the dosage of medication
Ultimately, when your child is free of seizures or convulsions (fits) and has no obvious side effects, you will know that the dosage is just correct..
How should I give the medicine? “Giving Medicines”
Liquid or syrup: Measure out the right amount using an oral syringe or medicine spoon. You can get these from any pharmacist. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount.
Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the accurate amount of the drug.
Could this medication have any side effects on my child? “Side effects”
Although medicines are given to make children feel better, sometimes, they may cause some unwanted side effects.
Side-effects that you must do something about – Rare
Nausea, Vomiting are common side effects in the first two weeks after starting treatment.
Liver disease: If your child’s health deteriorates and falls sick every few hours, suffers from stomachache, skin and eyes are pale yellow in color, feels Liver disease:
Occasionally, Ethosuximide causes a reduction in the blood platelets, which help the blood to clot after cuts. However, it rarely causes a matter of concern, but if your child does develop unexplained bruising or bleeding, you should contact your doctor who will arrange a blood test for your child.
Your child may get these side-effects when they first start taking Ethosuximide. They will be able to settle down within a course of week or so as their body gets use to the medicine. Continue to give Ethosuximide to your child as your doctor has directed you to.
If your child starts developing skin Rash, Stop Medications right there and SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ADVICE from your DOCTOR.
Sometimes your child may experience other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice any abnormalities with your child’s body or behavior, do not hesitate and immediately contact your doctor.
Despite this long list of side effects, Ethosuximide is a very effective anti-epileptic (anticonvulsant) medicine for Absence seizure and has very little effect on the child’s level of alertness, behavior and learning abilities.
Can other common medicines be given at the same time as Ethosuximide ?
Medications like ibuprofen, paracetamol, antibiotics or any of the other over the counter medicines can be given when necessary, except the ones your doctor has prohibited you from.
- Consult with your doctor before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.
- Some other medicines used to treat epilepsy may affect how well Ethosuximide works or may cause side effects. If your child is experiencing more fits or seizures, or any other side effects after using other medications, talk to your doctor immediately.
Where should I keep this medicine?
Keep the medicine in a cupboard, secured away from heat and direct sunlight. It is not a must to keep the medicine in the refrigerator though.
- Make sure the medicine is out of your child’s reach.
- Store the medication in the same box it was packed in.
For more information please see the manufacturer’s information leaflet.
1. IAP Drug Formulary Web Update 2020(3) Edition 58, https://www.iapdrugformulary.com/Home
2. Consumer Medicines Information (CMI), https://www.tga.gov.au/consumer-medicines-information-cmi
3. British National Formulary for Children (BNFC)
4. Food and Drug Administration, USA https://www.fda.gov
The medical information provided on this platform is deliberately simplified to make it conceivable for a layman. Remember the fact that, every individual has a different pathophysiology for the disease that requires individual medical attention to address the same. Content available on the internet cannot be taken as a substitute to the medical advice given by your health practitioner. Sometimes the information may not be precise and accurate, misleading at times. It is hence non-negotiable to seek medical consultation for any queries you may have.
Dr. C P Ravi Kumar
Consultant Paediatric Neurologist