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CARBAMAZEPINE

   

This information is given as an indication of the most common reasons for prescribing the medication. The list of side effects is not exhaustive and you should refer to your doctor for a more complete information. Never alter your treatment on the basis of what is written here or without your doctor's knowledge.

Carbamazepine (Tegretol) is used in the treatment of partial seizures and in the treatment of generalized tonic-clonic seizures.

Tegretol comes as tablets 200mg and 400mg. It is also available in a control-released form Tegretol CR.

For children it is manufactured as a chewable 100mg tablet or as a liquid form 20mg/cc.

It is usually well tolerated and most of the dose-related side-effects can be avoided by starting at a low dose, and increasing gently to the wanted dose.

The recommended dose is up to 24 mg/Kg/day. I usually aim at 10 to 15 mg/Kg/day. I usually start at a very low dose below 5 mg/Kg/day, and stay there for a week or 2 as an evening single dose. I then increase by 2 to 5 mg/Kg every 5 to 7 days, depending on the size of the child to be able to round the dose to a easy way of splitting a pill.

As all other AED's Carbamazepine can cause dizziness drowsiness, ataxia, lethargy, sleepiness. some patients develop allergy to it. Rashes such as Steven-Johnson syndrome have been described. Double vision and headaches are not infrequent but can usually be avoided by starting slowly. A weight gain can be a significant problem forcing to discontinue the medication. Cardiac conduction problems can be observed and it is not a bad idea to have an initial ECG at the onset of treatment. Rare cases of aplastic anemia and aggranulocytosis have been described as well as exceptional cases of liver failure.

Carbamazepine is metabolized through the cytochrome P450 pathway and has interactions with a lot of medications. It is highly recommended to always talk to the pharmacist prior to take any medication when on carbamazepine.