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Ethosuximide (Zarontin)

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Ethosuximide (Zarontin)

Ethosuximide, also known by its trade name Zarontin, is a first line anticonvulsant drug used in the treatment of absence seizures, also known as petit mal seizures. It works by suppressing neurons in the thalamus responsible for generating absence seizures. More specifically, it does so by blocking thalamic T-type calcium channels. Possible side effects include Steven-Johnson syndrome, fatigue, diarrhea, and blood dyscrasias. This medication should not be discontinued abruptly.
First Line Absence Seizure
First-place Absent-mind Caesar

Ethosuxamide is used as a first line agent to treat absence seizures (petit mal seizures), and is preferred over other agents because this drug does not cause hepatotoxicity.

Blocks Thalamic T-Type Ca2+ Channels
Block-guy blocking Thor-T on Calcium-cow at Channel

This medication binds and blocks thalamic T-type Ca2+ channels. T-type channels serve pacemaking functions in both central neurons and support calcium signaling, and are also involved in the modulation of firing patterns of neurons.

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Ethosuxamide can trigger Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a life threatening skin condition, which is a hypersensitivity complex affecting the skin and mucous membranes.


Patients taking ethosuximide can complain of fatigue, as this is a common side effect.


Patients taking this drug often have the side effect of diarrhea and GI upset.

Blood Dyscrasias
Blood-cell Disc-razor

Although rare, patients taking ethosuximide may develop blood dyscrasias. Examples include leukopenia, agranulocytosis, and aplastic anemia.

Do Not Stop Abruptly
Can't Stop Cold-turkey

This medication should not be discontinued abruptly. Dosage should be reduced gradually when withdrawing ethosuximide.


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