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zonisamide (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking zonisamide (Zonegran)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to zonisamide, or to other sulfa drugs such as sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol), sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin), or sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra, Sulfatrim, SMX-TMP, and others). A sulfa drug allergic reaction can be fatal.

To make sure you can safely take zonisamide, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • stomach flu or illness causing diarrhea;
  • a growth disorder;
  • a bone disorder that causes soft or weak bones or low bone mineral density;
  • asthma or other breathing problems;
  • a history of suicidal thoughts or actions; or
  • if you have been on a high-protein, low-carb diet.

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking this medication. Tell your doctor if you have new or worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several months of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

FDA pregnancy category C. Zonisamide can cause metabolic acidosis, which could harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

In animal studies, zonisamide caused birth defects and infant death. It is not known whether these effects would occur in people using doses recommended for human use. Ask your doctor about your personal risk.

Zonisamide can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using zonisamide.

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 16 years old without the advice of a doctor.

How should I take zonisamide (Zonegran)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take zonisamide with a full glass of water. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day to prevent kidney stones while you are taking zonisamide.

Zonisamide can be taken with or without food.

Swallow the zonisamide capsule whole. Do not crush, chew, open, or break it.

While using zonisamide, you may need blood tests at your doctor's office. Visit your doctor regularly.

Seizures are often treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using zonisamide. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Do not stop taking zonisamide without first talking to your doctor, even if you feel fine. Stopping zonisamide suddenly may cause you to have seizures. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.

If you do stop taking zonisamide for any reason, talk with your doctor before restarting the medication. You may need to restart at a lower dose.

Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take zonisamide. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take seizure medication.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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