What is Carbamazepine?
Carbamazepine is an anti convulsant medication. It is sold under different brand names across the globe in various nations, some of which are Tegretol, Zeptol (made by Sun Pharma) and Tegrital (made by Novartis). Carbamazepine is prescribed mainly for the treatment of seizures and nerve pain like trigeminal neuralgia and diabetic neuropathy. This medication is also used to treat bipolar disorder.
Carbamazepine may also be prescribed for other conditions which are not listed here.
Important Information about Carbamazepine
You must not take Carbamazepine anti convulsant medication (Tegretol, Zeptol, Tegrital) if you have a past of bone marrow suppression, if you are also taking nefazodone, or if you are allergic to an antidepressant like amitriptyline, desipramine, or nortriptyline. Carbamazepine usage may lead to a severe and life threatening form of skin rash which may make it necessary for your blood to be tested for the risk of developing a rash.
Carbamazepine is a FDA pregnancy category D drug. Pregnant women must not start or stop taking this medication without their doctor’s advice. Carbamazepine may harm an unborn baby, but seizure during pregnancy can also be detrimental for both mother and baby. Let your doctor know immediately if you become pregnant while taking Carbamazepine. This medication can get into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby and hence Carbamazepine is not recommended for nursing mothers. Carbamazepine has the potential of reducing the effectiveness of birth control pills. Hence, while taking this medication, an alternative form of contraception is recommended like condoms or diaphragm with spermicide
Certain drugs can interact with Carbamazepine and make it less effective or cause severe side effects. Tell your doctor about all present medications you may be using so that he or she can judge whether Carbamazepine is safe for you. Also let your doctor know if you have any of these conditions: heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, liver or kidney disease, glaucoma, thyroid problems, lupus, porphyria, or a history of some mental illness. Your doctor may weigh the conditions with the safe use of Carbamazepine for you.
Carbamazepine usage may lead to suicidal thoughts. This side effect may require you to undergo regular follow up checks by your doctor. You must notify your doctor about any new or deteriorating symptoms like mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, suicidal or self hurting thoughts, increased agitation, hostility, restlessness, hyperactivity (mentally or physically
Before using Carbamazepine
Before taking Carbamazepine anti convulsant medication (Tegretol, Zeptol, Tegrital), take care of all precautions mentioned above and discuss them with your doctor.
How should I take Carbamazepine?
Take Carbamazepine anti convulsant medication strictly according to your doctor’s direction or according to the instructions on the medication label. Do not alter the dosage unless your doctor advises you to do so. Your doctor may occasionally change the dosage over several weeks or months to ensure proper treatment. Follow your doctor’s directions properly.
Carbamazepine medication may take about 4 weeks to show some visible or realizable effects. Make sure that you take this medication regularly as prescribed. Avoid stopping Carbamazepine medication suddenly without the advice of your doctor, even if you feel alright. Your condition may deteriorate with increased incidences of seizures if you cease taking this medication suddenly.
Always store Carbamazepine medication in a cool and dry place, away from heat and moisture.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Carbamazepine, take it as soon as you remember. Don’t take the missed dose if the time to take the next dose is almost up. Taking multiple doses near to each other can lead to excess medication in your body which can be harmful.
What if I overdose?
In case of an overdose of Carbamazepine, get emergency medical attention or call the Doctor immediately. Overdose may lead to blurred vision, breathing shortness, less or no urination, muscle twitching, tremors, or staggering while walking.
Things and Activities to avoid while taking Carbamazepine
Carbamazepine may cause blurred vision and impact your thinking capability and reflexes which can make activities like driving difficult and intimidating. Be extra careful while indulging in such activities or keep them to minimum and do it when absolutely necessary while taking this medication. Also avoid alcohol consumption as alcohol increases the risk of side effects of Carbamazepine. Grapefruit and its products are also not recommended.
Side Effects of Carbamazepine
Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Zeptol, Tegrital) like all medications may have side effects. Some side effects of this medication are dizziness, drowsiness, headache, blurred or double vision, loss of coordination, shaking (tremor), nausea, vomiting, or upset stomach. If any of these conditions persist for too long and deteriorate, seek immediate medical attention. A severe and life threatening skin rash is a possible side effect of Carbamazepine. Be on alert and lookout for this condition while taking this medication.
Some people who take Carbamazepine are known to suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts or attempts, or any other mood or behavior based problems. Let your doctor know right away if you, your family member or caregiver witness any odd mood changes or behavior in you while taking Carbamazepine.
A severe allergic reaction due to Carbamazepine usage is very rare and unlikely; but seek emergency medical attention if you get skin hives, breathing problems, or swelling in face, mouth, lips, or throat. These are not the only side effects of Carbamazepine anti convulsant medication. There may be others. Contact your doctor right away if you experience any serious side effects or if your condition worsens after taking Carbamazepine.?
Carbamazepine Dosing Information
Carbamazepine dosage will be fixed by your doctor after examining you properly. Dosage may depend on a range of factors like age, sex, drug allergies, or seriousness of the condition among several other factors. Stick to your doctor’s prescription strictly.
Interaction with other Medications
Certain drugs can interact with Carbamazepine like theophylline, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, an antibiotic, drugs to cure tuberculosis, antifungal drugs like fluconazole, blood thinner like warfarin, anti cancer medicines, heart or blood pressure medications, HIV or AIDs medications, antidepressants, steroids, or thyroid replacement medication.
The drugs mentioned here are not the only ones that can interact with Carbamazepine anti- convulsant medication. There may be others as well. Share the list of all type of medications and related products which you are using with your doctor and never start a new medication without his or her advice.