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Brand & Generic Names


Basic Information

  • Habit forming? No
  • Prescription needed? Yes
  • Available as generic? No
  • Drug class: Anticonvulsant (dione)


    Controls but does not cure petit mal seizures (absence seizures).

Dosage & Usage Information

How to take:
Tablets, capsules or liquid: Take with food or milk to lessen stomach irritation.

When to take:
At the same time each day.

If you forget a dose:
Take as soon as you remember up to 2 hours late. If more than 2 hours, wait for next scheduled dose (don't double this dose).

What drug does:
Raises threshold of seizures in cerebral cortex. Does not alter seizure pattern.

Time lapse before drug works:
1 to 3 hours.

Don't take with:
Any other medicine without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.


Bleeding, nausea, drowsiness, ataxia, coma.


  • Dial 911 (emergency) or O (operator) for an ambulance or medical help. Then give first aid immediately.
  • If patient is unconscious and not breathing, give mouth-to- mouth breathing. If there is no heartbeat, use cardiac massage and mouth-to-mouth breathing (CPR). Don't try to make patient vomit. If you can't get help quickly, take patient to nearest emergency facility.
  • See EMERGENCY Information.

Possible Adverse Reactions or Side Effects


    In case of overdose, see Overdose section.


    Dizziness, drowsiness, headache, rash.


    Itching, nausea, vomiting, confusion, insomnia, hair loss.


  • Changes in vision; sore throat with fever and mouth sores; bleeding gums; easy bleeding or bruising; smoky or bloody urine; jaundice; puffed hands, face, feet or legs; swollen lymph glands; unusual weakness and fatigue.
  • Sensitivity to light.

Warnings & Precautions

Don't take if:
You are allergic to this drug or any anticonvulsant.

Before you start, consult your doctor:

  • If you are pregnant or plan pregnancy.
  • If you have blood disease.
  • If you have liver or kidney disease.
  • If you have disease of optic nerve or eye.
  • If you will have surgery within 2 months, including dental surgery, requiring general or spinal anesthesia.

Over age 60:
Adverse reactions and side effects may be more frequent and severe than in younger persons.

Risk to unborn child outweighs drug benefits. Don't use.

No problems proven. Avoid if possible. Consult doctor.

Infants & children:
Use only under close medical supervision of clinician experienced in convulsive disorders.

Prolonged use:

  • Have regular checkups, especially during early months of treatment.
  • Talk to your doctor about the need for follow-up medical examinations or laboratory studies to check complete blood counts (white blood cell count, platelet count, red blood cell count, hemoglobin, hematocrit), liver function, kidney function, eyes, urine.

Skin & sunlight:
Increased sensitivity to sunlight or sun lamp. Avoid overexposure.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:
Don't drive or pilot aircraft until you learn how medicine affects you. Don't work around dangerous machinery. Don't climb ladders or work in high places. Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take medicine affecting alertness and reflexes, such as antihistamines, tranquilizers, sedatives, pain medicine, narcotics and mind-altering drugs. Be especially careful driving at night because medicine can affect vision.

Don't discontinue without consulting doctor. Dose may require gradual reduction if you have taken drug for a long time. Doses of other drugs may also require adjustment.

Arrange for eye exams every 6 months as well as blood counts and kidney-function studies.

Possible Interaction with Other Drugs

------------------------ -----------------------
Any other medicine Unpredictable effect on seizure
Amiodarone Increased or toxic effect of anti-
Anticoagulants* Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Antidepressants, Greater likelihood
tricyclic (TCA)* of seizures.
Antipsychotic Greater likelihood
medicines* of seizures.
Anticonvulsants* Increased chance of blood toxicity.
Clozapine Toxic effect on the central nervous
Ethinamate Dangerous increased effects of
ethinamate. Avoid combining.
Fluoxetine Increased depressant effects of
both drugs.
Guanfacine May increase depressant effects of
either drug.
Leucovorin High alcohol content of leucovorin
may cause adverse effects.
Methyprylon Increased sedative effect, perhaps
to dangerous level. Avoid.
Sedatives*, sleeping Extreme drowsiness.
pills, alcohol, Avoid.
Sulfadoxine and Increased risk of toxicity.

Possible Interaction with Other Substances

--------------- ---------------
Alcohol: Increased chance of seizures and
liver damage. Avoid.
Caffeine drinks. May decrease anticonvulsant effect.
Cocaine: Increased chance of seizures.
Foods: No problems expected.
Marijuana: Increased chance of seizures.
Tobacco: Decreased absorption of medicine
leading to uneven control of

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