Carbamazepine is an anti-convulsant medicine, that is useful in the treatment of seizures (fits or convulsions), and a type of pain in the face (called trigeminal neuralgia).
Uses of Carbamazepine
- Seizures or fits causing convulsions on both sides (right and left) associated with loss of consciousness (generalized tonic-clonic seizures)
- Mild to severe pain in the face, which can start suddenly, when speaking, brushing or chewing
- Prevention of a type of mental disorder that involves extreme highs (mania) or extreme lows (depression), known as bipolar disorder (or manic-depressive illness)
Contraindications of Carbamazepine
When should one not use Carbamazepine
- If you have allergy to Carbamazepine, or any of its components or any other medicine of the same class such as Oxcarbazepine, Phenytoin, Amitriptyline
- Certain anti-depressants (Phenelzine, Selegiline, Rasagiline, etc.)
- If you have a history of heart or bone marrow problems
Side effects of Carbamazepine
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and dizziness
- Swollen ankles or lower legs, fluid retention, weight gain
- Low levels of sodium in the blood causes headache, confusion, being sick
- Lethargy, muscular twitching
- Vision problems, headache
- Dry mouth
- Increased tendency to bruise or bleed, increase in a type of white blood cells (eosinophilia)
- Increase in alkaline phosphatase (an enzyme found in body tissues such as liver and bone
- Severe allergic skin reactions like swelling of the face, lips, throat, breathing difficulty with itching, rashes, blisters, jaundice (yellowing of skin)
Precautions and Warnings of Carbamazepine
Can I take Carbamazepine during pregnancy?
Carbamazepine may harm an unborn baby. However, untreated seizures are a serious condition which can harm both the mother and the unborn baby. Inform your doctor as soon as you are pregnant or about to plan pregnancy. Do not stop the intake of this medicine unless directed by your doctor.
Can I take Carbamazepine while breastfeeding?
Carbamazepine secretes in breast milk. You can discontinue taking medicine or breastfeeding. But if you choose to breastfeed while on Carbamazepine, monitor the baby closely for any symptoms like drowsiness or skin reactions.
Can I drive if I have consumed Carbamazepine?
Driving when there is a chance of seizure attack is not recommended. Carbamazepine is known to cause side effects such as drowsiness, blurred vision, lack of coordination of movements (ataxia), and hence extreme caution is recommended.
Can I consume alcohol with Carbamazepine?
It is advised to avoid alcohol while taking Carbamazepine, as it may cause more side effects.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- Heart, liver or kidney problems
- Increased pressure in the eye (glaucoma)
- Water pills that cause excess urination (Furosemide, Hydrochlorothiazide)
- Difficulty in retaining urine
- History of psychiatric problems
- Any other type of seizures
- Altered blood cell counts
- Taken Carbamazepine in the past
- You must chew the Carbamazepine chewable tablet before swallowing
- Do not crush, eat or break the extended-release tablet
- Take Carbamazepine with a full glass of water. Drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration
- The liquid medicine should be measured in a measuring device and then consumed
- Do not stop taking medicine without consulting the physician as it may cause a relapse of the symptoms
Mode of Action of Carbamazepine
How Does It Work?
Carbamazepine acts by reducing the sodium levels in the brain and thereby, activity. As the main cause of seizures is an increase or uninterrupted signals or action, this medicine will control seizures by controlling the increased activity.
Interactions of Carbamazepine
Interactions with other medicines
- Anti-seizure medications (Lamotrigine, Phenytoin, Primidone, Valproate, Phenobarbitone, Ethosuximide, Topiramate, Vigabatrin, Levetiracetam)
- Blood-thinning agents (Warfarin, Acenocoumarol)
- Medicines that reduce stomach acidity (Cimetidine, Omeprazole)
- Medicines to treat mental illness, depression, anxiety disorders (Lithium, Haloperidol, Olanzapine, Risperidone, Clozapine, Quetiapine, Paliperidone, Aripiprazole, Clonazepam, Alprazolam, Imipramine, Fluoxetine, Sertraline, Amitryptiline, Citalopram, Trazodone, Bupropion)read less
- Medicines used to treat infections (Doxycycline, Isoniazid, Erythromycin, Rifampicin, Isoniazid, Ciprofloxacin, Albendazole)
- Antifungals (Itraconazole, Fluconazole, Ketoconazole, Voriconazole)
- Immunosuppressants (Prednisolone, Dexamethasone, Cyclosporine, Tacrolimus, Sirolimus)
- Pain killers containing Paracetamol, Dextropropoxyphene, Methadone, Tramadol, Buprenorphine)
- Medicines to treat heart problems (Felodipine, Digoxin, Verapamil, Diltiazem), Diuretics or water pills (Furosemide, Hydrochlorothiazide)
- Pancuronium (muscle relaxant), Isotretinoin (treats acne)
- Theophylline and Aminophylline (for asthma)
- Thickness of the lining of the endometrium (endometriosis)
- Birth control pills, hormone treatments (Tibolone), Tadalafil (to treat impotence)
- Anti-cancer medicines (Imatinib, Lapatinib, Toremifene, Cisplatin, Doxorubicin, Temsirolimus, Cyclophosphamide)
- Mefloquine (to treat malaria)
- Medicines used to treat HIV/AIDS (Indinavir, Ritonavir, Saquinavir)
- Levothyroxine (for thyroid problems)
- Anti-smoking aids, anti-allergics (Loratadine), Vitamin B supplements
Interactions with food items
A person can take Carbamazepine before or after meals, with a glass of water.
Dosage of Carbamazepine
In case of overdose with Carbamazepine, inform the doctor immediately. Symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, irregular and fast heartbeats, fainting, vomiting are symptoms of high dose. In the presence of such symptoms, there is a need to reduce the dose.
Missed a Dose
Take the missed dose as early as you remember. Do not take extra medicine or double dose to compensate for the missed dose. Ideally, there should be 6-8 hours gap between dosages.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is there anything else I should know before taking Carbamazepine?
A: Do not stop taking medicine without the knowledge of your doctor. It can cause symptoms to reappear and difficult to manage later. Prescribing the correct dose for Carbamazepine is difficult, and the exact dose will be known after you start taking medicine. Inform the doctor of any symptoms like drowsiness, difficulty in breathing, fast heartbeats, fainting, or vomiting, as these indicate that the dose is high. Your doctor may have to decrease the dose gradually. Drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration while taking Carbamazepine. Carbamazepine should not be used in children less than five years old.
Q: What are the precautions that are required to be taken by a person suffering from seizures (epileptic)?
A: Have plenty of sleep in the night. Stick to a schedule for eating, working, and sleeping. Do not stress yourself. Be relaxed. Inform people around you and carry some identity with the description of your condition. Drinking plenty of water reduces the frequency of seizures. Avoid foods like chocolates, sweets, cold drinks, salt, and spices. Keep doors unlocked from inside. Avoid glass doors and windows. Use showers in the bathrooms. Do not use appliances like water heaters directly. Stay away from smoking and alcohol.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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