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zonisamide (cont.)

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

Do 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, Cotrim, and others). A sulfa drug allergic reaction can be fatal.

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication. Before you take zonisamide, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • asthma or other breathing problems;
  • stomach flu or illness causing diarrhea; or
  • if you have been on a high-protein, low-carb diet.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether this medication is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking zonisamide, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

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.

It is not known whether zonisamide passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

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 this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take this medicine 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.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor.

Seizures are often treated with a combination of different drugs. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor.

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.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are taking zonisamide.

Carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet stating that you are taking zonisamide, in case of emergency. Any doctor, dentist, or emergency medical care provider who treats you should know that you are taking a seizure medication.

Store zonisamide 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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