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.
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.
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.
Although rare, patients taking ethosuximide may develop blood dyscrasias. Examples include leukopenia, agranulocytosis, and aplastic anemia.
This medication should not be discontinued abruptly. Dosage should be reduced gradually when withdrawing ethosuximide.
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