A nurse is caring for a patient receiving ethosuximide for the treatment of epilepsy. Which of the following would the nurse recognize as a side effect(s) of this medication?

Diarrhea
Nausea

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.

• Other common side effects include ataxia, irritability, hyperactivity, headaches, rash, and gingival hyperplasia.

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

• Urinary retention, dry mouth, and blurred vision are all side effects associated with anticholinergic medications, which ethosuximide is not.

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