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Carbamazepine (kar ba MAZ e peen)

Brand Names: U.S.

Carbatrol; Epitol; Equetro; TEGretol; TEGretol-XR

Brand Names: Canada

Apo-Carbamazepine; Dom-Carbamazepine; Mapezine; Mylan-Carbamazepine CR; Nu-Carbamazepine; PMS-Carbamazepine; Sandoz-Carbamazepine; Taro-Carbamazepine Chewable; Tegretol; Teva-Carbamazepine

Warning

  • Unsafe blood cell count problems may happen. Report any fever, sore throat, mouth sores, infections, easy bruising, or purple “splotches” on your skin to your doctor right away.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly skin reactions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) have happened with this drug. People of Asian descent are most likely to get these. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat seizures.
  • It is used to treat pain caused by a problem with a nerve in the face.
  • It is used to treat bipolar problems.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

All products:

  • If you have an allergy to carbamazepine or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have had any of these health problems: Bone marrow disease or porphyria.
  • If you are taking delavirdine.
  • If you are taking any of these drugs: Nefazodone or another drug that has carbamazepine in it.
  • If you have taken certain drugs used for low mood (depression) like isocarboxazid, phenelzine, or tranylcypromine or drugs used for Parkinson’s disease like selegiline or rasagiline in the last 14 days. Taking this drug within 14 days of those drugs can cause very bad high blood pressure. Talk with your doctor.

Liquid (suspension):

  • If you are not able to break down fructose.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

  • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that you use this drug.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how this drug affects you.
  • Have your blood work checked often. Talk with your doctor.
  • Have an eye exam as you have been told by your doctor.
  • This drug may affect certain lab tests. Be sure your doctor and lab workers know you take this drug.
  • This drug may cause the results of some pregnancy tests to be wrong. Talk with your doctor.
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink beer, wine, mixed drinks, or use other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
  • If you drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit often, talk with your doctor.
  • You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
  • Do not switch brands or types of this drug (like tablets, liquid) unless you talk with your doctor. They may not work the same.
  • A very bad and sometimes deadly reaction has happened with this drug. Most of the time, this reaction has signs like fever, rash, or swollen glands with problems in body organs like the liver, kidney, blood, heart, muscles and joints, or lungs. Talk with your doctor.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this drug with care. You could have more side effects.
  • Birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Use some other kind of birth control also like a condom when taking this drug.
  • This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this drug while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of infection. These include a fever of 100.5°F (38°C) or higher, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, or anal itching or pain.
  • Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
  • Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Signs of low sodium levels like headache, trouble focusing, memory problems, change in thinking clearly and with logic, weakness, seizures, or change in balance.
  • Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • If seizures are worse or not the same after starting this drug.
  • Change in speech.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Not able to control eye movements.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Very bad headache.
  • Fast or slow heartbeat.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Change in eyesight.
  • Swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm.
  • Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
  • Swollen gland.
  • Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, swelling in the arms or legs.
  • Very bad muscle or joint pain.
  • Trouble controlling body movements.
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Patients who take this drug may be at a greater risk of having thoughts or actions of suicide. The risk may be greater in people who have had these thoughts or actions in the past. Watch people who take this drug closely. Call the doctor right away if signs like low mood (depression), nervousness, restlessness, grouchiness, panic attacks, or changes in mood or actions are new or worse. Call the doctor right away if any thoughts or actions of suicide occur.
  • A very bad and sometimes deadly health problem called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) may happen. Call your doctor right away if you have any fever, muscle cramps or stiffness, dizziness, very bad headache, confusion, change in thinking, fast heartbeat, heartbeat that does not feel normal, or are sweating a lot.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
  • Dizziness.
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Hard stools (constipation).
  • Feeling tired or weak.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

  • Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read and follow the dosing on the label closely.

All products:

  • Do not stop taking this drug all of a sudden without calling your doctor. You may have a greater risk of seizures. If you need to stop this drug, you will want to slowly stop it as ordered by your doctor.
  • Take as you have been told, even if you feel well.
  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.

Tablets:

  • Take with food.

Chewable tablet:

  • Take with food.
  • Chew well before swallowing.

Suspension:

  • Take with food.
  • Shake well before use.
  • Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with this drug. If there is none, get an oral syringe, a dropper, a spoon, or a cup (only for older children) from your pharmacist.
  • Do not mix with any other liquid drugs.

Long-acting capsules:

  • Take with or without food.
  • Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
  • You may sprinkle contents of capsule on applesauce or other soft food. Do not chew. Swallow right away and follow with water or juice.

Long-acting tablets:

  • Take with food.
  • Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
  • Do not take chipped or broken tablets.
  • You may see the tablet shell in your stool.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Protect from light.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your healthcare provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Copyright

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