Carbamazepine

Carbamazepine
(kar-ba-MAZ-e-peen)

Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol

Carbamazepine
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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.

This drug may also be used to treat certain mental/mood conditions (such as bipolar disorder) and other types of nerve pain.

Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions (such as seizures) may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.

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Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine) during treatment with this medication. Most MAO inhibitors should also not be taken for two weeks before treatment with this medication. Ask your doctor when to start or stop taking this medication.

Other medications can affect the removal of carbamazepine from your body, which may affect how carbamazepine works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as itraconazole), macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), rifamycins (such as rifabutin), St. John's wort, among others.

Carbamazepine can speed up the removal of other drugs from your body, which may affect how they work. Examples of affected drugs include artemether/lumefantrine, boceprevir, certain calcium channel blockers (such as nifedipine, nimodipine), nefazodone, HIV NNRTI (such as delavirdine, efavirenz, etravirine, rilpivirine), praziquantel, ranolazine, voriconazole, warfarin, among others.

This medication may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal birth control such as pills, patch, or ring. This could cause pregnancy. Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist if you should use additional reliable birth control methods while using this medication. Also tell your doctor if you have any new spotting or breakthrough bleeding, because these may be signs that your birth control is not working well.

Common side effects of Carbamazepine include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Unsteadiness

If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mouth sores, swollen lymph nodes, persistent vomiting, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, change in the amount of urine, persistent or severe headache, fainting, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, unusual eye movements (nystagmus), vision changes (such as blurred vision), joint pain, swelling of the ankles/feet, pain/redness/swelling of the arms or legs, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet, sun sensitivity, signs of low levels of sodium in the blood (such as persistent nausea, extreme drowsiness, mental/mood changes including confusion, seizures).

A small number of people who take anticonvulsants for any condition (such as seizure, bipolar disorder, pain) may experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems. Tell your doctor immediately if you or your family/caregiver notice any unusual/sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior including signs of depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, thoughts about harming yourself.

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