What is Zonisamide and how does it work?
Zonisamide is used for the treatment of epilepsy. This drug stabilizes electrical activity in the brain. The brain and nerves are made up of many nerve cells that communicate with each other through electrical signals. These signals must be carefully regulated for the brain and nerves to function properly. When abnormally rapid and repetitive electrical signals build up and spread through the brain, the brain becomes over-stimulated. The normal function is disturbed also.
This medication prevents epileptic fits by preventing excessive electrical activity in the brain. It is thought to act on sodium and calcium channels found on the nerve cells in the brain. Sodium needs to move into the nerve cells for an electrical signal to build up and then be passed on to other nerve cells. Zonisamide may prevent sodium from entering the nerve cells when they begin to fire abnormally rapid and repetitive electrical signals. This helps stabilize the electrical activity in the brain. This also prevents the excessive seizure that causes signals from spreading through the brain.
Zonisamide may also affect the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA. Neurotransmitters are natural body chemicals that are stored in nerve cells. They are also involved in transmitting messages between the nerve cells. It helps keep the nerve activity in the brain in balance. Zonisamide may enhance the activity of GABA and so help calm the nerve activity in the brain.
How to use Zonisamide?
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. This is usually taken 1 to 2 times a day with or without food. Swallow the capsule as a whole. To prevent kidney stones from forming, drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment. Your doctor will start you on a low dose and slowly increase your dose. It may take several weeks or months to reach the best dose for you and to get the full benefit from this medication.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
- Tired feeling
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Sore throat
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Trouble sleeping
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- This may cause drowsiness or difficulty concentrating. If affected, you should take care when performing potentially hazardous tasks.
- The drug can make you sweat less which can make your body temperature increase. For this reason, it is important to make sure you drink sufficient water while you are taking this medicine. Drinking water helps keep the body cool and prevent you from overheating.
- This medicine can cause loss of appetite and people taking the drug should be weighed regularly. If you are losing too much weight your doctor will ask you to increase the amount you are eating.
- If you develop an unexplained rash, itching, skin peeling, blistering, or other unexplained skin reaction while taking this medicine you should consult your doctor. On very rare occasions, this medicine can cause potentially serious skin reactions.