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Carbamazepine : Uses, Dosage, Contraindications, Side Effects, Overdose

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BRAND NAME :  Carbamazepine

Brand Names:

Carbatrol; Tegretol; Tegretol-XR

IMPORTANT WARNING:

Carbamazepine may cause a decrease in the number of blood cells. Tell your doctor if you have ever had a decrease in the number of blood cells caused by another medication. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: sore throat, unusual bleeding or bruising, fever, or mouth sores. Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests before and during treatment to check your body's response to carbamazepine.

Medication prescribed:

Carbamazepine is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat certain types of seizures in patients with epilepsy. It is also used to treat trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that causes facial nerve pain. Carbamazepine is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It works by reducing abnormal excitement in the brain.

How should this medicine be used:

Carbamazepine comes as a tablet, a chewable tablet, an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, an extended-release capsule, and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. The regular tablet, chewable tablet, and liquid are usually taken two to four times a day with meals. The extended-release tablet is usually taken twice a day with meals. The extended-release capsule is usually taken twice a day with or without meals. To help you remember to take carbamazepine, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take carbamazepine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Swallow the extended-release tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them. The extended-release capsules may be opened and the beads inside sprinkled over food, such as a teaspoon of applesauce or similar food. Do not crush or chew the extended-release capsules or the beads inside them. Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Your doctor will start you on a low dose of carbamazepine and gradually increase your dose. It may take a few weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of carbamazepine. Continue to take carbamazepine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking carbamazepine without talking to your doctor. Stopping carbamazepine suddenly may cause your seizures to become worse. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.

Other uses for this medicine:

Carbamazepine is also sometimes used to treat mental illnesses, depression, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol withdrawal, restless legs syndrome, diabetes insipidus, certain pain syndromes, and a disease in children called chorea. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition. This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Special precautions:

Before taking carbamazepine, tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to carbamazepine, amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Asendin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton), phenytoin (Dilantin), protriptyline (Vivactil), trimipramine (Surmontil), or any other medications. do not take carbamazepine if you are taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, including phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate), or have stopped taking them within the past 2 weeks. tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: acetaminophen (Tylenol); alprazolam (Xanax); anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); antifungals such as itraconazole (Sporanox) and ketoconazole (Nizoral); cimetidine (Tagamet); cisplatin (Platinol); clarithromycin (Biaxin); clomipramine (Anafranil); clonazepam (Klonopin); clozapine (Clozaril); danazol (Danocrine); diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac); doxorubicin (Adriamycin, Rubex); doxycycline (Vibramycin); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem); haloperidol (Haldol); isoniazid (INH, Nydrazid); lithium (Lithobid); loratadine (Claritin); niacinamide (nicotinamide, Vitamin B3); other anticonvulsants such as ethosuximide (Zarontin), felbamate (Felbatol), lamotrigine (Lamictal), methsuximide (Celontin), phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton), phensuximide (Milontin), phenytoin (Dilantin), primidone (Mysoline), tiagabine (Gabitril), and topiramate (Topamax); propoxyphene (Darvon); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); terfenadine (Seldane); theophylline (Theobid, Theo-Dur); troleandomycin (TAO); verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan); and valproic acid (Depakene, Depakote). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. if you are taking any other liquid medications, do not take them at the same time as carbamazepine liquid. tell your doctor if you have or have ever had glaucoma; mental illness; or heart, kidney, or liver disease. you should know that carbamazepine may decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) and other hormonal birth control methods (such as implants or injections). Use another form of birth control while taking carbamazepine. tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking carbamazepine, call your doctor immediately. Carbamazepine may harm the fetus. if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking carbamazepine. you should know that carbamazepine may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication.

Special dietary instructions:

Talk to your doctor about drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.

If I forget a dose:

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects:

Carbamazepine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away: drowsiness dizziness unsteadiness upset stomach vomiting Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately: skin rash yellowing of the skin or eyes loss of appetite confusion excitement vision problems Carbamazepine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

What storage conditions:

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of overdose:

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911. Symptoms of overdose may include: unconsciousness seizures restlessness muscle twitching shaking hands that you cannot control unsteadiness drowsiness dizziness blurred vision irregular breathing rapid or pounding heartbeat upset stomach vomiting urinary retention

Other information:

Call your doctor if you continue to have seizures or convulsions while taking this medication. Wear identification (Medic Alert) indicating medication use and epilepsy. Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking carbamazepine. The extended-release tablet does not dissolve in the stomach after swallowing. It slowly releases the medicine as it passes through your digestive system. You may notice the tablet coating in the stool. Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

More information:    Carbamazepine








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