Generic Name: rufinamide (roo FIN a mide)
Brand Name: Banzel
What is rufinamide?
Rufinamide is a seizure medication, also called an anti-epileptic or anticonvulsant.
Rufinamide is used together with other medicines to treat seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of childhood epilepsy that also causes developmental and behavior problems. Rufinamide is for use in adults and children who are at least 1 year old.
Rufinamide may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about rufinamide?
You should not use this medicine if you have a severe liver disease, or a genetic heart rhythm disorder called "Short QT syndrome."
Do not stop using rufinamide suddenly or you may have increased seizures.
Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking seizure medication. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking rufinamide?
You should not use rufinamide if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
a genetic heart rhythm disorder called "Short QT syndrome"; or
severe liver disease.
To make sure rufinamide is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis); or
a history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts or actions.
You may have thoughts about suicide while taking this medicine. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
Do not start or stop taking seizure medication during pregnancy without your doctor's advice. Having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both mother and baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of rufinamide on the baby.
Rufinamide can make hormonal birth control less effective. Use a barrier form of birth control (condom or diaphragm with spermicide). Hormonal contraception (birth control pills, injections, implants, skin patches, and vaginal rings) may not be effective enough to prevent pregnancy during your treatment.
Rufinamide may pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using rufinamide.
Rufinamide should not be given to a child younger than 1 year old.
How should I take rufinamide?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Take rufinamide with food.
The rufinamide tablet may be swallowed whole, crushed, or cut in half.
Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose.
Measure the liquid using the dosing syringe and bottle adapter provided with this medicine. Insert the adapter into the bottle and snap it into place. Insert the syringe into the adapter and turn the bottle upside down. To measure your dose, pull the plunger to the correct number of milliliters marked on the side of the syringe. Rinse the syringe with water after each use.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Contact your doctor if your seizures get worse or you have them more often while taking rufinamide.
Do not stop using rufinamide suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take rufinamide. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take seizure medication.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
Store the liquid medicine in an upright position. Do not try to remove the bottle adapter once it is in place. The cap will fit properly over the bottle adapter.
Use rufinamide regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking rufinamide?
Rufinamide may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you.
Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of rufinamide.
Rufinamide side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Seek medical treatment if you have a skin rash with other symptoms of a serious allergic reaction that can affect other parts of your body, including:
dark urine, blood in your urine;
swollen glands, sore throat;
extreme weakness or tiredness;
unusual bruising or bleeding;
muscle pain; or
jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, irritable, hyperactive, talkative, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
loss of balance or coordination;
trouble walking; or
worsening or increased seizures.
Common side effects may include:
nausea, vomiting; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Rufinamide dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome:
Initial dose: 400 to 800 mg orally per day administered in 2 equally divided doses in the morning and evening
The dose should be increased by 400 to 800 mg per day every 2 days until a maximum daily dose of 3200 mg/day, administered in 2 equally divided doses is reached. It is not known whether doses lower than 3200 mg are effective.
Use: For adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome in pediatric patients 1 year of age and older and in adults
Usual Pediatric Dose for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome:
1 year of age and older:
Initial dose: 10 mg/kg/day orally administered in 2 equally divided doses in the morning and evening
The dose should be increased by approximately 10 mg/kg every other day to a target dose of 45 mg/kg/day or 3200 mg/day, whichever is less, administered in 2 equally divided doses. It is not known whether doses lower than the target dose are effective.
Use: For adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome in pediatric patients 1 year of age and older
What other drugs will affect rufinamide?
Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking rufinamide with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Tell your doctor about all your current seizure medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
valproic acid (Depakene, Stavzor).
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with rufinamide, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about rufinamide
- Other brands: Banzel
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about rufinamide.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01.
Date modified: January 10, 2017
Last reviewed: May 15, 2015