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Pronounced: ZAH-nah-gran
Generic name: Zonisamide

Why is this drug prescribed: Zonegran helps reduce the frequency of partial epileptic seizures, a form of epilepsy in which neural disturbances are limited to a specific region of the brain and the victim remains conscious throughout the attack. The drug is used in combination with other antiseizure medications, not by itself.

Most important fact about this drug: Do not stop taking this drug on your own. If the doctor decides to discontinue Zonegran, he will tell you how to taper off slowly. Abrupt discontinuation of Zonegran can cause seizures.

How should you take this medication: Zonegran capsules should be swallowed whole and can be taken with or without food. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at the same time. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature in a dry place. Protect from light.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Zonegran. More common side effects may include: Abdominal pain, agitation, confusion, depression, diarrhea, difficulty concentrating, difficulty with memory, dizziness, double vision and other visual disturbances, drowsiness, fatigue, flu syndrome, headache, insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite, loss of muscle coordination, mental slowing, nausea, prickling or burning skin, rash, speech abnormalities, tiredness Less common side effects may include: Abnormal walk, accidental injury, alterations in taste sensation, anxiety, bruises, constipation, convulsions, difficulties in verbal expression, dry mouth, indigestion, nasal stuffiness, nervousness, psychotic behavior, rash, runny nose, sensitivity to touch, tremor, vomiting, weakness, weight loss Rare side effects may include: Abnormal dreams, abnormal hair growth, abnormal sense of smell, acne, allergic reaction, anemia, arthritis, black stools, bleeding gums, breast growth in males, chest pain, coughing up blood, decreased sex drive, dehydration, difficulty swallowing, dry skin, euphoria, eye problems, facial swelling or paralysis, fainting, fatigue, fluid retention, gallstones, gas, hair loss, hearing loss, heart irregularities and problems, high blood pressure, impotence, inability to breathe, incontinence, increased pressure in the eye, increased cough, inflammation of the gums and inside of the mouth, itching, jaundice, joint aches, leg cramps, low blood pressure, lupus erythematosus, malaise, mental problems, missed menstrual periods, movement disorders, muscle aches, muscle weakness, neck rigidity, nerve pain, painful breasts, painful urination, rapid heart rate, rash, rectal bleeding, ringing in the ears, skin disorders, sore throat, spasms, speech difficulties, stroke, sweating, thirst, twitching, urinary problems, uterine bleeding, vertigo, vomiting blood, weight gain

Why should this drug not be prescribed: Do not take Zonegran if you are allergic to sulfa drugs such as Bactrim.

Special warnings about this medication: If you develop a rash while taking Zonegran, call your physician immediately. It could be a sign of an allergic reaction. Zonegran may cause drowsiness. Do not drive a car or operate dangerous machinery until you know how the drug affects you. People who take Zonegran are prone to develop kidney stones. To reduce the risk of stone formation, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Call your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms of kidney stones such as back pain, abdominal pain, painful urination, or blood in the urine. Call your doctor if you start to bruise easily or develop a fever, a sore throat, or blisters in the mouth. These could be signs of anemia or other blood problems that Zonegran has been known to trigger in very rare cases. Contact your doctor immediately if your seizures worsen. Zonegran may interfere with a child's ability to perspire and control body temperature, leading to a medical emergency. Zonegran is not approved for use in children under 16.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Zonegran is taken with certain other drugs, the effects if either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Zonegran with the following: Carbamazepine (Tegretol) Phenobarbital Phenytoin (Dilantin) Valproate (Depakote)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: In most cases, Zonegran should not be taken by pregnant women because there is a chance that it could harm the developing baby. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. It is not known whether Zonegran appears in breast milk, but because it could cause a serious reaction if it did, you'll probably need to make a choice between breastfeeding and continuing your Zonegran therapy. Be sure to discuss the question with your doctor.

Recommended dosage: The recommended starting dose for adults over the age of 16 is 100 milligrams once a day. Your physician may wish to increase the dose by 100 milligrams every 2 weeks to a maximum of 600 milligrams per day. Larger doses can be divided into two smaller doses taken twice a day.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of Zonegran overdose may include: Diminished breathing, loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, slow heartbeat

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Only your healthcare provider should diagnose your healthcare problems and prescribe treatment.