Ethosuximide is a medication used to treat absence seizures. It can be used as a standalone therapy
or with other antiseizure medications like valproic acid. Ethosuximide is taken by mouth. It is
approved for absence seizures. Ethosuximide is a drug of choice for treating absence seizures as it
lacks the idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity of the valproic acid.
Ethosuximide sold under the brand name Zarontin among others.
Bayer Ag filed for the first patents and got them approved for medical use in the United States in
1960. Ethosuximide is listed on WHO's List of Essential Medicines and sold as a generic medication.
Dosage Forms & Strengths
Ethosuximide is available as a capsule in 250 mg strength and as a syrup in 250mg/5mL. In the
treatment of Absence Seizures, the usual recommended dose is 500 a day which can be increased by
250 mg a day but generally not exceeding 1.5 g a day in total dose. In the Therapeutic range, the dose is
between 40-100 mg/L and will need between 4-7 days to reach steady-state
The Price of Ethosuximide
In the USA, the consumers pay an average retail price of $256.30 for the supply of 120 capsules of a
generic brand. However, the price of this medicine is significantly cheaper in the developing world,
for example, the generic version of a bottle containing 50mg of this costs around USD 0.22.
How does Ethosuximide work?
Ethosuximide’s exact mechanism of action is not yet been entirely understood fully. However, it has
been postulated that Ethosuximide work through a partial antagonism of T-type calcium channels of
the thalamic neurons. The result of this antagonism is a decrease in burst firing of Thalamocortical
neurons, all this cascading effect stabilizes the nerve activity in the brain resulting in the prevention of
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