July 7, 2015
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"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Aptiom (eslicarbazepine acetate) as an add-on medication to treat seizures associated with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder caused by abnormal or excessive activity in the brain"...


Side Effects


The most commonly observed adverse events related to treatment with ZONEGRAN (an incidence at least 4% greater than placebo) in controlled clinical trials and shown in descending order of frequency were somnolence, anorexia, dizziness, ataxia, agitation/irritability, and difficulty with memory and/or concentration.

In controlled clinical trials, 12% of patients receiving ZONEGRAN as adjunctive therapy discontinued due to an adverse event compared to 6% receiving placebo. Approximately 21% of the 1,336 patients with epilepsy who received ZONEGRAN in clinical studies discontinued treatment because of an adverse event. The adverse events most commonly associated with discontinuation were somnolence, fatigue and/or ataxia (6%), anorexia (3%), difficulty concentrating (2%), difficulty with memory, mental slowing, nausea/vomiting (2%), and weight loss (1%). Many of these adverse events were dose-related (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS).

Adverse Event Incidence in Controlled Clinical Trials

Table 4 lists treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred in at least 2% of patients treated with ZONEGRAN in controlled clinical trials that were numerically more common in the ZONEGRAN group. In these studies, either ZONEGRAN or placebo was added to the patient's current AED therapy. Adverse events were usually mild or moderate in intensity.

The prescriber should be aware that these figures, obtained when ZONEGRAN was added to concurrent AED therapy, cannot be used to predict the frequency of adverse events in the course of usual medical practice when patient characteristics and other factors may differ from those prevailing during clinical studies. Similarly, the cited frequencies cannot be directly compared with figures obtained from other clinical investigations involving different treatments, uses, or investigators. An inspection of these frequencies, however, does provide the prescriber with one basis by which to estimate the relative contribution of drug and non-drug factors to the adverse event incidences in the population studied.

Table 4. Incidence (%) of Treatment-Emergent Adverse Events in Placebo-Controlled, Add-On Trials (Events that occurred in at least 2% of ZONEGRAN-treated patients and occurred more frequently in ZONEGRAN-treated than placebo-treated patients)

  Headache 10 8
  Abdominal Pain 6 3
  Flu Syndrome 4 3
  Anorexia 13 6
  Nausea 9 6
  Diarrhea 5 2
  Dyspepsia 3 1
  Constipation 2 1
  Dry Mouth 2 1
  Ecchymosis 2 1
  Weight Loss 3 2
  Dizziness 13 7
  Ataxia 6 1
  Nystagmus 4 2
  Paresthesia 4 1
  Confusion 6 3
  Difficulty Concentrating 6 2
  Difficulty with Memory 6 2
  Mental Slowing 4 2
  Agitation/Irritability 9 4
  Depression 6 3
  Insomnia 6 3
  Anxiety 3 2
  Nervousness 2 1
  Schizophrenic/Schizophreniform Behavior 2 0
  Somnolence 17 7
  Fatigue 8 6
  Tiredness 7 5
  Speech Abnormalities 5 2
  Difficulties in Verbal Expression 2 < 1
  Rhinitis 2 1
  Rash 3 2
  Diplopia 6 3
  Taste Perversion 2 0

Other Adverse Events Observed During Clinical Trials

ZONEGRAN has been administered to 1,598 individuals during all clinical trials, only some of which were placebo-controlled. During these trials, all events were recorded by the investigators using their own terms. To provide a useful estimate of the proportion of individuals having adverse events, similar events have been grouped into a smaller number of standardized categories using a modified COSTART dictionary. The frequencies represent the proportion of the 1,598 individuals exposed to ZONEGRAN who experienced an event on at least one occasion. All events are included except those already listed in the previous table or discussed in WARNINGS or PRECAUTIONS, trivial events, those too general to be informative, and those not reasonably associated with ZONEGRAN.

Events are further classified within each category and listed in order of decreasing frequency as follows: frequent occurring in at least 1:100 patient; infrequent occurring in 1:100 to 1:1000 patients; rare occurring in fewer than 1:1000 patients.

Body as a Whole: Frequent: Accidental injury, asthenia. Infrequent: Chest pain, flank pain, malaise, allergic reaction, face edema, neck rigidity. Rare: Lupus erythematosus.

Cardiovascular: Infrequent: Palpitation, tachycardia, vascular insufficiency, hypotension, hypertension, thrombophlebitis, syncope, bradycardia. Rare: Atrial fibrillation, heart failure, pulmonary embolus, ventricular extrasystoles.

Digestive: Frequent: Vomiting. Infrequent: Flatulence, gingivitis, gum hyperplasia, gastritis, gastroenteritis, stomatitis, cholelithiasis, glossitis, melena, rectal hemorrhage, ulcerative stomatitis, gastro-duodenal ulcer, dysphagia, gum hemorrhage. Rare: Cholangitis, hematemesis, cholecystitis, cholestatic jaundice, colitis, duodenitis, esophagitis, fecal incontinence, mouth ulceration.

Hematologic and Lymphatic: Infrequent: Leukopenia, anemia, immunodeficiency, lymphadenopathy. Rare: Thrombocytopenia, microcytic anemia, petechia.

Metabolic and Nutritional: Infrequent: Peripheral edema, weight gain, edema, thirst, dehydration. Rare: Hypoglycemia, hyponatremia, lactic dehydrogenase increased, SGOT increased, SGPT increased.

Musculoskeletal: Infrequent: Leg cramps, myalgia, myasthenia, arthralgia, arthritis.

Nervous System: Frequent: Tremor, convulsion, abnormal gait, hyperesthesia, incoordination. Infrequent: Hypertonia, twitching, abnormal dreams, vertigo, libido decreased, neuropathy, hyperkinesia, movement disorder, dysarthria, cerebrovascular accident, hypotonia, peripheral neuritis, reflexes increased. Rare: Dyskinesia, dystonia, encephalopathy, facial paralysis, hypokinesia, hyperesthesia, myoclonus, oculogyric crisis.

Behavioral Abnormalities -Non-Psychosis-Related: Infrequent: Euphoria.

Respiratory: Frequent: Pharyngitis, cough increased. Infrequent: Dyspnea. Rare: Apnea, hemoptysis.

Skin and Appendages: Frequent: Pruritus. Infrequent: Maculopapular rash, acne, alopecia, dry skin, sweating, eczema, urticaria, hirsutism, pustular rash, vesiculobullous rash.

Special Senses: Frequent: Amblyopia, tinnitus. Infrequent: Conjunctivitis, parosmia, deafness, visual field defect, glaucoma. Rare: Photophobia, iritis.

Urogenital: Infrequent: Urinary frequency, dysuria, urinary incontinence, hematuria, impotence, urinary retention, urinary urgency, amenorrhea, polyuria, nocturia. Rare: Albuminuria, enuresis, bladder pain, bladder calculus, gynecomastia, mastitis, menorrhagia.

Drug Abuse And Dependence

The abuse and dependence potential of ZONEGRAN has not been evaluated in human studies (see WARNINGS, Cognitive/Neuropsychiatric Adverse Events subsection). In a series of animal studies, zonisamide did not demonstrate abuse liability and dependence potential. Monkeys did not self-administer zonisamide in a standard reinforcing paradigm. Rats exposed to zonisamide did not exhibit signs of physical dependence of the CNS-depressant type. Rats did not generalize the effects of diazepam to zonisamide in a standard discrimination paradigm after training, suggesting that zonisamide does not have abuse potential of the benzodiazepine-CNS depressant type.

Read the Zonegran (zonisamide) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


Effects of ZONEGRAN on the pharmacokinetics of other antiepilepsy drugs (AEDs): Zonisamide had no appreciable effect on the steady state plasma concentrations of phenytoin, carbamazepine, or valproate during clinical trials. Zonisamide did not inhibit mixed-function liver oxidase enzymes (cytochrome P450), as measured in human liver microsomal preparations, in vitro. Zonisamide is not expected to interfere with the metabolism of other drugs that are metabolized by cytochrome P450 isozymes.

Effects of other drugs on ZONEGRANpharmacokinetics: Drugs that induce liver enzymes increase the metabolism and clearance of zonisamide and decrease its half-life. The half-life of zonisamide following a 400 mg dose in patients concurrently on enzyme-inducing AEDs such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, or phenobarbital was between 27-38 hours; the half-life of zonisamide in patients concurrently on the non-enzyme inducing AED, valproate, was 46 hours. Concurrent medication with drugs that either induce or inhibit CYP3 A4 would be expected to alter serum concentrations of zonisamide.

Interaction with cimetidine: Zonisamide single dose pharmacokinetic parameters were not affected by cimetidine (300 mg four times a day for 12 days).

Drug Interactions with CNS Depressants: Concomitant administration of ZONEGRAN and alcohol or other CNS depressant drugs has not been evaluated in clinical studies. Because of the potential of zonisamide to cause CNS depression, as well as other cognitive and/or neuropsychiatric adverse events, zonisamide should be used with caution if used in combination with alcohol or other CNS depressants.

Other Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors: Concomitant use of ZONEGRAN, a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, with any other carbonic anhydrase inhibitor (e.g., topiramate, acetazolamide or dichlorphenamide), may increase the severity of metabolic acidosis and may also increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Therefore, if ZONEGRAN is given concomitantly with another carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, the patient should be monitored for the appearance or worsening of metabolic acidosis (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Interactions of Zonisamide with Other Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors subsection).

Read the Zonegran Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions

Last reviewed on RxList: 10/12/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Side Effects

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