Kalamazoo Nerve Center, PLLC

Carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Tegretol®)


Carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Tegretol®) is a commonly prescribed anti-epileptic medication (AED) used to treat certain types of epilepsy (seizure disorders). It is available by prescription only.

Carbamazepine may reduce the frequency of seizures, but it is not a cure for epilepsy or related seizure disorders.

Carbamazepine is categorized as anticonvulsant.

What are the clinical uses of carbamazepine?

Carbamazepine is often prescribed as a first-line treatment of many types of partial seizures and in the treatment of generalized tonic clonic (grand mal) seizures.

It may be used alone or in combination with other anti-epileptic medications to control seizures.

Carbamazepine may also be used to certain forms of nerve pain, such as trigeminal neuralgia and diabetic neuropathy. Your doctor may prescribe carbamazepine for other medical conditions.

How does carbamazepine work?

Carbamazepine works by reducing abnormal electrical activity of nerves.

How is carbamazepine taken?

Carbamazepine is an oral medication to be taken by mouth. It is available in several formulations, including a standard form (as a tablet, a chewable tablet and liquid) and an extended-release form (as a tablet and capsule). The extended-release form means that the medication is released slowly in the body, avoiding the need for frequent dosing.

The standard form is usually taken 2-4 times each day with meals. The extended release form is usually taken twice a day with meals.

Your doctor may start you on a low dose of carbamazepine and gradually increase your dose.

It is important that you continue to take carbamazepine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking carbamazepine without talking to your doctor, even if you experience side effects such as unusual changes in behavior or mood. If you have a seizure disorder and you suddenly stop taking carbamazepine, your seizures may become worse.

If you and your doctor choose to stop carbamazepine, you may be instructed to decrease your dose gradually. Follow these instructions carefully.

Take carbamazepine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

What are the possible side effects from carbamazepine?

Commonly reported side effects of carbamazepine include drowsiness, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, difficulty in thinking, diarrhea, double vision, nausea and vomiting.

Read the medication guide that you receive with the medication for a complete list of possible side effects. You may also learn more about carbamazepine from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Speak with your doctor if you are concerned about possible side effects you may be experiencing.

Reference: The National Library of Medicine