Carbamazepine is an anticonvulsant medication, which is prescribed to manage certain types of seizures in individuals diagnosed with epilepsy, either alone or in conjunction with other drugs. It is also utilized to alleviate facial nerve pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia. Carbamazepine extended-release capsules are employed to treat manic or mixed episodes in patients with bipolar I disorder. This drug functions by reducing abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
Uses and Dosage
If you are prescribed extended-release tablets, make sure to take them orally with food, twice a day, according to your doctor’s instructions. Do not chew or crush the tablets, as this can result in the drug being released all at once, increasing the possibility of side effects. Do not split the tablets unless there is a score line, and your physician or pharmacist advises you to do so. Swallow the tablets whole or split, without crushing or chewing. Prior to taking them, examine the tablets for any cracks or chips, and do not consume any that are damaged.
For extended-release capsules, swallow them whole with or without food, twice daily, as prescribed by your doctor. Do not chew or crush the capsules.
If you have difficulty swallowing the capsules, open them and sprinkle the contents onto a spoonful of soft food, such as applesauce. Consume the mixture immediately without chewing, and avoid preparing it in advance.
The appropriate dosage will be based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To minimize the possibility of side effects, your physician may instruct you to start with a low dosage and gradually increase it.
While taking this medication, avoid consuming grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice unless your doctor or pharmacist states that it is safe to do so. Grapefruit can amplify the side effects of this drug.
To reap the maximum benefits, take this medication on a regular basis at the same times each day. Continue to take it even if you feel well.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Suddenly discontinuing this drug can exacerbate some conditions like seizures. Gradual dosage reduction may be required.
Notify your doctor if your condition does not improve or deteriorates.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- thinking abnormal
- difficulty speaking
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- dry mouth
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- dark urine
- pain on the right side of your stomach area
- loss of appetite
- vision changes
- swelling of your face, eyes, eyelids, lips, or tongue
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
- severe headache
- new or increased number of seizures
- difficulty concentrating
- confusion, weakness, or unsteadiness
Before taking carbamazepine, inform your healthcare provider if you are allergic to it, to other anti-seizure medications such as oxcarbazepine, fosphenytoin, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, or to tricyclic antidepressants like desipramine, amitriptyline, or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients that could cause allergic reactions or other problems.
Inform your doctor or pharmacist of your medical history before using this medication, especially if you have bone marrow depression, blood disorders such as porphyria or anemia, glaucoma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, mental or mood disorders such as depression, mineral imbalances such as low levels of sodium or calcium in the blood.
This medication can cause dizziness or drowsiness. Drinking alcohol or using marijuana can increase the risk of dizziness or drowsiness. Avoid activities that require alertness such as driving or using machinery until you can do them safely.
This medication can increase sun sensitivity. Limit your sun exposure, avoid sunlamps and tanning booths, and wear protective clothing and sunscreen when outdoors. If you get sunburned or have skin blisters or redness, seek medical attention immediately.
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.
During pregnancy, use this medication only if clearly necessary as it may harm an unborn baby. Untreated seizures or bipolar disorder can be severe conditions that can harm both a pregnant woman and her unborn baby. Therefore, do not discontinue this medication without your doctor’s instructions. If you are planning to get pregnant, already pregnant, or suspect you are pregnant, discuss the benefits and risks of using this medication with your doctor. If you are pregnant, your doctor may recommend prenatal care that includes tests for birth defects. Reliable forms of birth control should be used when taking this medication.
This medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Tegretol is available in the following forms and strengths:
Is it safe to take Tegretol long term?
Many people take Tegretol safely for many months or years. However, there are some side effects that can happen over a long time.
Does Tegretol affect your teeth?
Yes, Tegretol does make gums look red and swollen.