A nurse is caring for a patient receiving ethosuximide for the treatment of epilepsy. Which symptom would indicate to the nurse that the patient is experiencing a side effect of this medication?

diarrhea

Explanation

• Ethosuximide (Zarontin) is used to treat petit mal seizures or absence seizures and most commonly causes GI distress such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

• Additional adverse effects may include ataxia, irritability, hyperactivity, headaches, rash, and gingival hyperplasia.

• Ethosuximide is not recommended during pregnancy (Catagory D) or for mothers who are breastfeeding.

• Ethosuximide works by depressing the motor cortex of the brain and raising the threshold for seizures in the central nervous system.

• Urinary retention, constipation, sedation, and blurred vision are not commonly associated with this medication.

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