|Type of medicine||Anti-epileptic|
|Used for||Seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in adults or children over 4 years of age|
Having epilepsy means that you have had repeated seizures. A seizure is a short episode of symptoms caused by a burst of abnormal electrical activity in your brain. Different parts of the brain control different parts and functions of your body. Therefore, the symptoms that occur during a seizure depend on where the abnormal burst of electrical activity occurs. Symptoms that may occur during a seizure can affect your muscles, sensations, behaviour, emotions, consciousness, or a combination of these.
Rufinamide is used in the treatment of a type of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This is a severe form of epilepsy which usually begins in early childhood. It works by stabilising the electrical activity of the brain, which prevents the seizures from occurring. It is used alongside other anti-epileptic medicines.
Before taking rufinamide
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you (or your child if you are their carer) start taking rufinamide, it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you have liver problems.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
How to take rufinamide
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the brand of rufinamide you have been given, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
- Rufinamide should be taken regularly every day, exactly as your doctor has told you. It is taken twice each day, one dose in the morning and one in the evening. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how many tablets should be taken each time. The dose will also be on the label of your pack.
- When first starting taking rufinamide, your doctor will advise a small dose and then gradually increase this. This allows your doctor to make sure that the dose helps the condition and avoids any unwanted symptoms.
- The tablets should be taken with (or straight after) meals. They are best swallowed with a drink of water. You can crush the tablets to make them easier to swallow if preferred.
- Try to ensure the doses are taken at the same times on each day. This will help to avoid missing any doses.
- If you do forget to take a dose, it should be taken as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for the next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from this treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your (or your child's) progress.
- When first starting a new treatment for epilepsy there may be a change in the number or type of seizures you experience. Your doctor will advise you about this.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take alongside your other medicines. This is because some medicines, including herbal remedies such as St John's wort, should not be taken with rufinamide.
- If you are a woman using hormonal contraception ('the pill'), discuss this with your doctor, as you may need to use an alternative method of contraception. This is because rufinamide makes 'the pill' less effective. If you want to have a family, make sure you discuss this with your doctor well in advance of becoming pregnant. This is so that you can be given advice from a specialist before you become pregnant. If you become pregnant while you are taking rufinamide, you must tell your doctor straightaway.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice before taking rufinamide and alcohol. Your doctor may recommend that you do not drink alcohol while you are on this medicine.
- While taking rufinamide, there is a small risk of developing mood changes or distressing feelings, and thoughts about suicide. If this happens to you (or if it is your child who is taking rufinamide and you notice any changes in their behaviour), you must tell your doctor straightaway.
- People with epilepsy must stop driving at first. If this affects you, your doctor will advise you about when it may be possible for you to resume driving again.
- If you (or your child) are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment about taking rufinamide.
- Do not stop this medicine unless your doctor tells you to do so. Stopping rufinamide suddenly can cause problems and your doctor will probably want to reduce the dose gradually if this is necessary.
Can rufinamide cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common rufinamide side-effects - these affect around 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling dizzy, tired or sleepy||Be aware that this may cause falls and injuries. Do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Headache||Ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Feeling or being sick, indigestion, stomach ache||Stick to simple meals - avoid rich and spicy food|
|Infections, nose bleeds, lack of appetite, difficulties sleeping, poor coordination, being unsteady, eyesight problems, acne, constipation or diarrhoea||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor for advice|
Important: if you notice any of the following, contact your doctor or go to your local accident and emergency department straightaway, as these could be symptoms of an allergic reaction:
- A skin rash.
- A high temperature or swollen glands.
- Any blood in urine.
- Any signs of jaundice, such as your skin or the whites of your eyes yellowing.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store rufinamide
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Inovelon® Tablets,; Manufacturer's PIL, Inovelon® Tablets, Eisai Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2012.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Helen Huins|
|Last Checked: 14/03/2012||Document ID: 13853 Version: 1||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.