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All about: Carbamazepine

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Generic Name: Carbamazepine Tablets (KAR-ba-MAZE-uh-peen)
Brand Name: Examples include Epitol and Tegretol

Carbamazepine may rarely cause serious bone marrow and blood problems (eg, aplastic anemia, agranulocytosis). If you develop symptoms such as fever, chills, sore throat, unusual fatigue, or unusual bruising or bleeding, contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor should perform blood tests before you start taking Carbamazepine and periodically while you are taking Carbamazepine to check for these effects.


Carbamazepine is used for:

Controlling certain types of seizures and relieving pain in patients with nerve pain in the face, jaw, tongue, or throat.

Carbamazepine is an anticonvulsant. It works by controlling abnormal nerve impulses in the brain. In trigeminal neuralgia, it reduces the activity of nerve impulses in the nerves to the face, decreasing pain.

Do NOT use Carbamazepine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Carbamazepine
  • you are allergic to tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline, imipramine, desipramine) or similar medications
  • you have a history of bone marrow depression, the blood disorder porphyria, or other serious blood disorders
  • you have a heart condition known as atrioventricular block
  • you are taking or have taken a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (eg, phenelzine) within the last 14 days

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Carbamazepine :

Some medical conditions may interact with Carbamazepine . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you are allergic to other seizure medicines (eg, phenytoin, phenobarbital)
  • if you have a history of increased pressure in the eye (glaucoma), liver or kidney problems, blood problems, heart problems or congestive heart failure, mood or mental problems, seizures, multiple sclerosis, or severe skin reactions (eg, Stevens-Johnson syndrome)
  • if you consume alcohol-containing beverages or have a history of alcoholism

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Carbamazepine . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Androgens (eg, testosterone), cimetidine, clarithromycin, diltiazem, fluconazole, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), isoniazid, itraconazole, ketoconazole, lamotrigine, loratadine, macrolide antibiotics (eg, erythromycin), nefazodone, niacinamide, progabide, propoxyphene, stiripentol, terfenadine, theophylline, tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline), troleandomycin, valproic acid, verapamil, or viloxazine because the side effects of Carbamazepine may be increased
  • Lithium because the risk of severe nervous system side effects may be increased
  • Antineoplastics (eg, cisplatin, doxorubicin), felbamate, hydantoins (eg, phenytoin), phenobarbital, primidone, rifampin, or theophylline because the effectiveness of Carbamazepine may be decreased
  • Acetaminophen, anticoagulants, (eg, warfarin), butyrophenones (eg, haloperidol), clozapine, trazadone, tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline), or valproic acid because the side effects of these medicines may be increased by Carbamazepine
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), benzodiazepines (eg, alprazolam), birth control pills (eg, ethinyl estradiol/norethindrone) or any other hormone-type contraceptive (eg, levonorgestrel implant), butyrophenones (eg, haloperidol), clozapine, corticosteroids (eg, hydrocortisone), cyclosporine, doxycycline, erlotinib, ethosuximide and its derivatives, etretinate, felbamate, felodipine, HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (eg, simvastatin), imatinib, itraconazole, lamotrigine, methylphenidate, nifedipine, nondepolarizing muscle relaxants (eg, vecuronium), praziquantel, quetiapine, sertraline, tiagabine, topirimate, tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline), or voriconazole because the effectiveness of these medicines may be decreased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Carbamazepine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Carbamazepine :

Use Carbamazepine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Carbamazepine may be taken with or without food.
  • Take Carbamazepine regularly to receive the most benefit from it.
  • Taking Carbamazepine at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
  • Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice may affect the amount of Carbamazepine in your blood. Talk with your doctor before including grapefruit or grapefruit juice in your diet.
  • If you miss a dose of Carbamazepine , take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Carbamazepine .

Important safety information:

Important safety information about Carbamazepine :

  • Carbamazepine may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Carbamazepine . Using Carbamazepine alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Carbamazepine may cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Avoid exposure to the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Carbamazepine . Use sunscreen or protective clothing if you must be outside for a prolonged period of time.
  • Before you have any medical or dental surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking Carbamazepine .
  • Carbamazepine may interfere with certain lab tests, including thyroid function tests. Be sure your doctor or laboratory personnel know you are taking Carbamazepine .
  • This medicine may interfere with some pregnancy test results. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking Carbamazepine and have questions or concerns about the result of a pregnancy test.
  • LAB TESTS, including blood cell counts, blood iron levels, liver function, kidney function, eye exams, and carbamazepine blood levels, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Carbamazepine has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. Avoid becoming pregnant while taking Carbamazepine . If you think you may be pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Carbamazepine during pregnancy. Carbamazepine is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Carbamazepine .

Possible side effects of Carbamazepine :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Blurred vision; confusion; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth or throat; headache; nausea; unsteadiness; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bone, joint, or muscle pain; chills; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever; hair loss; hallucinations; involuntary muscle movements; pain, tenderness, or unusual swelling in the neck, groin, or under the arms; rapid eye movement; reddened, blistered, or swollen skin; ringing in the ears; seizures; severe sweating; shortness of breath; sore throat; stomach pain; swelling of ankles or fingers; ulcers or sores in the mouth; unusual bruising or bleeding; vision changes; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include fast or irregular heartbeat; inability to urinate; muscle twitching or tremor; seizures; severe dizziness; severe drowsiness or loss of consciousness; slow, shallow, or irregular breathing.

Proper storage of Carbamazepine :

Store Carbamazepine between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Protect from moisture. Keep in a tight container. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Carbamazepine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Carbamazepine , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Carbamazepine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Carbamazepine . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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