Carbamazepine is an anticonvulsant. It works by decreasing nerve impulses that cause seizures and nerve pain, such as tregimenal neuralgia and diabetic neuropathy. Carbamazepine is also used to treat bipolar disorder.
Carbamazepine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide. Carbamazepine oral tablet is available as brand-name drugs and as a generic drug.
Carbamazepine comes in five forms:
- oral immediate-release tablet,
- oral extended-release tablet,
- oral chewable tablet,
- oral suspension, and
- oral extended-release capsule.
Carbamazepine oral tablet is used to treat epilepsy and trigeminal neuralgia.
Carbamazepine is used to prevent and control seizures. This medication is known as an anticonvulsant or anti-epileptic drug. It is also used to relieve certain types of nerve pain (such as trigeminal neuralgia). This medication works by reducing the spread of seizure activity in the brain and restoring the normal balance of nerve activity.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take carbamazepine if you have a history of bone marrow suppression, or if you are allergic to carbamazepine or to an antidepressant such as amitriptyline, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, or nortriptyline.
Do not use carbamazepine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include furazolidone, isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.
Carbamazepine may cause severe or life-threatening skin rash, and especially in people of Asian ancestry. Your doctor may recommend a blood test before you start the medication to determine your risk.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- heart problems;
- liver or kidney disease;
- low sodium levels;
- depression, mood disorder; or
- suicidal thoughts or actions.
How it works
It’s not completely known how this drug treats epilepsy or trigeminal nerve pain. It is known to block sodium currents in your brain and body. This helps to reduce abnormal electrical activity between your nerve cells.
Before taking carbamazepine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other anti-seizure medications (such as phenobarbital, phenytoin) or tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline, desipramine); or if you have any other allergies.
This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems.
Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: decreased bone marrow function (bone marrow depression), blood disorders (such as porphyria, anemia), glaucoma, heart disease (such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat), kidney disease, liver disease, mental/mood disorders (such as depression), mineral imbalances (such as low levels of sodium or calcium in the blood ).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Get medical help right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially, confusion, unsteadiness, or irregular heartbeat. Confusion and unsteadiness can increase the risk of falling.
Older adults may also be at greater risk of developing a type of mineral imbalance (low levels of sodium in the blood), especially if they are also taking “water pills” (diuretics).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may harm an unborn baby. However, since untreated seizures are a serious condition that can harm both a pregnant woman and her unborn baby, do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor.
If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, discuss with your doctor right away the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, prenatal care that includes tests for birth defects is recommended.
Since birth control pills, patches, implants, and injections may not work if used with this medication (see also Drug Interactions section), discuss reliable forms of birth control with your doctor.
This medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding
Carbamazepine side effects
Carbamazepine oral tablet may cause drowsiness. It can also cause other side effects. More common side effects The more common side effects that can occur with carbamazepine include:
- problems with walking and coordination
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
- severe skin reaction, symptoms can include: skin rash, hives, swelling of your tongue, lips, or face, blisters on your skin or the mucous membranes of your mouth, nose, eyes, or genitals
- low blood cell counts, symptoms can include: sore throat, fever, or other infections that come and go or don’t go away, bruising more easily than normal, red or purple spots on your body, bleeding from your gums or nosebleeds, intense fatigue or weakness
- heart problems, symptoms can include: fast, slow, or pounding heart rate, shortness of breath, feeling lightheaded, fainting
- liver problems, symptoms can include: yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes, dark-colored urine, pain on the right side of your stomach, bruising more easily than normal, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting
- suicidal thoughts, symptoms can include: thoughts about suicide or dying, attempts to commit suicide, new or worsened depression, new or worsened anxiety, feeling agitated or restless, panic attacks
- trouble sleeping
- new or worsened irritability
- acting aggressive or violent or being angry
- acting on dangerous impulses
- an extreme increase in activity or talking
- other unusual behavior or mood changes
- low sodium levels in your blood, symptoms can include: headaches, new seizures or more frequent seizures, concentration problems, memory problems, confusion, weakness, trouble balancing