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Carbamazepine (By mouth)

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

Treats seizures. Also treats nerve pain or bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness).

Brand Name(s):

Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol XR, Tegretol-XR

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to carbamazepine or to certain medicines for depression (such as amitriptyline, desipramine, imipramine, nortriptyline, protriptyline). Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or if you have had bone marrow depression (low blood counts). Do not use this medicine if you use nefazodone (Serzone®) or certain medicines for HIV/AIDS (such as delavirdine, efavirenz, Atripla®, Rescriptor®, Sustiva®). Do not use this medicine if you also use an MAO inhibitor (MAOI, such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®) or if you have used an MAOI in the last 14 days.

How to Use This Medicine:

Long Acting Capsule, Liquid, Tablet, Chewable Tablet, Long Acting Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • This medicine may be used alone or together with other seizure medicines. Your dose needs to be adjusted slowly if you are already using another seizure medicine.
  • Tablets, capsules, and liquid forms of this medicine work in different ways. Use only the form of this medicine that is prescribed by your doctor.
  • Chewable tablet:
    • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
    • Chew the tablet well before swallowing it.
  • Capsule:
    • Swallow the capsule whole. Do not break, crush, or chew it.
    • You may open the capsule and pour the medicine into a small amount of soft food such as pudding, yogurt, or applesauce. Stir this mixture well and swallow it without chewing.
    • You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • Tablet:
    • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
    • Swallow the tablet whole. Do not break, crush, or chew it.
    • Do not use an extended-release tablet that is cracked or chipped.
  • Liquid:
    • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
    • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.Shake the bottle well just before each use.
    • Do not take this medicine at the same time as other oral liquid medicines.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you also use acetaminophen, acetazolamide (Diamox®), albendazole (Albenza®), aprepitant (Emend®), buspirone (Buspar®), cimetidine (Tagamet®), danazol (Danocrine®), ibuprofen (Advil®), isoniazid (Nydrazid®), levothyroxine (Levoxyl®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), loratadine (Claritin®), methadone (Dolophine®), niacinamide or nicotinamide (Vitamin B3), omeprazole (Prilosec®), oxybutynin (Ditropan®), praziquantel (Biltricide®), propoxyphene (Darvon®), quinine (Qualaquin®), quinupristin/dalfopristin (Synercid®), tadalafil (Cialis®), theophylline (Theo-Dur®), tramadol (Ultram®), zileuton (Zyflo®), or a blood thinner (such as dicumarol, ticlopidine, warfarin, Coumadin®, Jantoven®, Ticlid®).
  • Tell your doctor if you also use cancer medicines (such as cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, imatinib, lapatinib, Adriamycin®, Cytoxan®, Gleevec®, Neosar®, Platinol®, Tykerb®), medicine for depression (such as amitriptyline, bupropion, citalopram, clomipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, imipramine, mirtazapine, nortriptyline, trazodone, Anafranil®, Celexa®, Elavil®, Luvox®, Wellbutrin®), other medicine for seizures (such as clobazam, ethosuximide, felbamate, fosphenytoin, lamotrigine, methsuximide, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, tiagabine, topiramate, valproate, zonisamide, Depakote®, Dilantin®, Felbatol®, Frisium®, Mysoline®), medicine for sleeping or nerves (such as alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, lorazepam, midazolam, triazolam, Xanax®), medicine for mental illness (such as aripiprazole, chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, loxapine, olanzapine, paliperidone, quetiapine, risperidone, thioridazine, ziprasidone, Geodon®, Haldol®, Mellaril®, Risperdal®, Thorazine®), an antibiotic (such as azithromycin, clarithromycin, clotrimazole, erythromycin, Zithromax®), blood pressure medicines (such as diltiazem, felodipine, verapamil, Cardizem®), a diuretic (water pill, such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, Lasix®), certain medicine for HIV/AIDS (such as atazanavir, lopinavir, ritonavir, Crixivan®, Kaletra®, Lexiva®, Norvir®, Prezista®, Reyataz®), steroid medicine (such as dexamethasone, prednisolone, Decadron®), medicine that weakens your immune system (such as cyclosporine, everolimus, sirolimus, tacrolimus, temsirolimus, Gengraf®, Neoral®, Prograf®, Rapamune®, Sandimmune®, Zortress®), or medicine for malaria (such as chloroquine, mefloquine, Aralen®, Lariam®).
  • Birth control medicines may not work as well while you are using carbamazepine. Use another form of birth control together with the pills, implants, or shots to keep from getting pregnant.
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol or if you are using any medicine that makes you sleepy, such as allergy medicine or narcotic pain medicine.
  • Ask your doctor before you drink any alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Your unborn baby could be harmed if you use this medicine while you are pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you think you have become pregnant.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding or if you have kidney, liver, heart, or blood disease or damage. Tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, heart block, heart rhythm problems, low sodium in the blood, porphyria, or if you have had a mental illness. Tell your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to any other medicines (especially seizure medicines).
  • Tell your doctor if you have Asian ancestry. Your doctor may test you for serious skin reactions before prescribing this medicine.
  • Tegretol® chewable tablets contain sorbitol and should not be given to patients with fructose intolerance.
  • Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loose skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, a fever, or chills while you are using this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you have a fever, sore throat, swollen glands, or easy bruising. These could be symptoms of a serious blood problem.
  • This medicine can increase thoughts of suicide. Tell your doctor right away if you start to feel more depressed and have thoughts about hurting yourself. Report any unusual thoughts or behaviors that trouble you, especially if they are new or getting worse quickly.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you have a fever, dark urine, headache, stomach pain, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of serious kidney or liver problems.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing, cold sweat, bluish-colored skin
  • Confusion, problems with memory, muscle twitching, problems with balance, walking, or speech
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in your upper stomach, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, or sores in your mouth
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in your neck, armpit, or groin
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness
  • Unusual thoughts or behavior, thoughts of hurting yourself or others

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Anxiety, agitation, depression, restlessness, trouble sleeping
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness, drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Lightheadedness, fainting
  • Mild skin rash or itching skin

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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