Zonisamide is used with other medications to prevent and control seizures (epilepsy). Zonisamide is a sulfonamide anticonvulsant and a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. It is unknown how zonisamide works to prevent seizures.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking zonisamide and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 1 to 2 times a day with or without food. Swallow the capsules whole. To prevent kidney stones from forming, drink plenty of liquids while taking this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. It is very important to follow your doctor's dosing instructions exactly. Your doctor will start you on a low dose and slowly increase your dose. It may take several weeks or months to reach the best dose for you and to get the full benefit from this medication.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. This drug works best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. To help you remember and to keep a constant level, take zonisamide at the same time(s) each day.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Dizziness, drowsiness, trouble sleeping, lack of coordination, lightheadedness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and double vision may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any unlikely but serious side effects, including: easy bruising/bleeding, signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat), mental/mood problems (such as confusion, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, agitation, irritability), speech problems, decreased sweating, sudden back/side/abdominal pain, painful urination, pink/bloody urine.
A small number of people who take anticonvulsants for any condition (such as seizure, bipolar disorder, pain) may experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems. Tell your doctor right away if you or your family/caregiver notice any unusual/sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior including signs of depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, thoughts about harming yourself.
This medication may cause a serious metabolic problem (metabolic acidosis). Get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms: bone pain/breakage, rapid breathing, fast/irregular heartbeat, sudden/unexplained tiredness, severe drowsiness/difficulty staying awake.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Before taking zonisamide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, kidney disease (such as kidney stones), lung/breathing problems, long-term diarrhea, metabolic imbalance (metabolic acidosis), a special diet (ketogenic diet), mental/mood problems (such as depression, psychosis).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This medication may make you sweat less, making you more likely to get heat stroke. Avoid doing things that may cause you to overheat, such as hard work or exercise in hot weather, or using hot tubs. When the weather is hot, drink a lot of fluids and dress lightly. If you overheat, quickly look for a place to cool down and rest. Get medical help right away if you have a fever that does not go away, mental/mood changes, headache, or dizziness.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness, lightheadedness, or lack of coordination. These side effects can increase the risk of falling.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may harm an unborn baby. However, since untreated seizures are a serious condition that can harm both a pregnant woman and her unborn baby, do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, immediately talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (such as acetazolamide).
Other medications can affect the removal of zonisamide from your body, which may affect how zonisamide works. Examples include other medications to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone), rifamycins (such as rifabutin), St. John's wort, among others. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose of zonisamide if you are on these medications.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: slow/shallow breathing, severe dizziness, loss of consciousness.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as kidney function, bicarbonate level, complete blood count) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is important to take each dose at the scheduled time. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised August 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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