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Carbamazepine (By mouth)

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

Treats seizures, nerve pain, or bipolar disorder.

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:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to carbamazepine or a tricyclic antidepressant, if you are pregnant, or if you have a history of bone marrow depression.

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.
  • 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.
  • Chewable tablet:
    • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
    • Chew the tablet well before swallowing it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: 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.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Do not use this medicine together with nefazodone, delavirdine, or certain other medicines for HIV or AIDS (such as efavirenz, etravirine). Do not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days.
  • The list below includes some of the most commonly used medicines that can interact with carbamazepine. There are many other drugs not listed. Make sure your doctor knows the names of all the medicines you use. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following:
    • Alprazolam, aprepitant, aripiprazole, buspirone, citalopram, clarithromycin, clonazepam, clozapine, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, diltiazem, doxorubicin, erythromycin, everolimus, felodipine, fluoxetine, imatinib, isoniazid, lamotrigine, lapatinib, mefloquine, methadone, praziquantel, propoxyphene, quetiapine, quinine, sirolimus, tacrolimus, temsirolimus, tramadol, trazodone, triazolam, verapamil, or zileuton
    • Antifungal medicines (fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole), protease inhibitors (atazanavir, darunavir, fosamprenavir, indinavir, lopinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir), or steroids (dexamethasone, prednisolone, prednisone)
  • 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.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
  • Birth control pills, shots, and other hormonal birth control methods may not work as well while you are using carbamazepine. Use a second form of birth control to prevent pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease or rhythm problems, low white blood cell or platelet counts, glaucoma, low sodium levels, porphyria, an intolerance to fructose, or a history of suicidal thoughts or depression. Tell your doctor if you had an allergic reaction to any other medicine (especially seizure medicines).
  • Tell your doctor if you have Asian ancestry. Your doctor may test you for serious skin reactions before prescribing this medicine.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Serious skin reactions
    • Aplastic anemia or other blood problems
    • Multiorgan hypersensitivity (DRESS syndrome)
    • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • 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 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. Your doctor may want to have your eyes checked by an eye doctor.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

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 sweats, bluish skin
  • Confusion, memory problems, unusual tiredness, muscle spasms or weakness
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, or sores in your mouth
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in your neck, armpit, or groin
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or others, unusual thoughts or behavior
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness

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

  • Anxiety, agitation, depression, restlessness, or trouble sleeping
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Dry mouth

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: 10/4/2014


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