Drugs A - Z
Carbamazepine Oral capsule, extended release
Generic Name: carbamazepine
What is this medicine?CARBAMAZEPINE (kar ba MAZ e peen) is used to control seizures caused by certain types of epilepsy. This medicine is also used to treat nerve related pain. It is not for common aches and pains.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Asian ancestry
- bone marrow disease
- heart disease or irregular heartbeat
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- psychotic disorders
- suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempt; a previous suicide attempt by you or a family member
- an unusual or allergic reaction to carbamazepine, tricyclic antidepressants, phenytoin, phenobarbital or other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medicine?Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not cut, crush or chew this medicine. Take this medicine with or without food. The capsules can be opened and the beads sprinkled over food such as applesauce or other similar food product. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
What if I miss a dose?If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medicine?Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
- MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
- barbiturate medicines for inducing sleep or treating seizures, like phenobarbital
- certain antibiotics like clarithromycin, erythromycin or troleandomycin
- female hormones, including estrogens and birth control pills
- grapefruit juice
- isoniazid, INH
- levothyroxine and other thyroid hormones
- lithium and other medicines to treat mood problems or psychotic disturbances
- medicines for angina or high blood pressure
- medicines for cancer
- medicines for depression or anxiety
- medicines for sleep
- medicines to treat fungal infections, like fluconazole, itraconazole or ketoconazole
- medicines used to treat HIV infection or AIDS
- rifampin or rifabutin
- seizure or epilepsy medicine
- steroid medicines such as prednisone or cortisone
What should I watch for while using this medicine?Visit your doctor or health care professional for a regular check on your progress. Do not change brands or dosage forms of this medicine without discussing the change with your doctor or health care professional. If you are taking this medicine for epilepsy (seizures) do not stop taking it suddenly. This increases the risk of seizures. Wear a Medic Alert bracelet or necklace. Carry an identification card with information about your condition, medications, and doctor or health care professional.
You may get drowsy, dizzy, or have blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. To reduce dizzy or fainting spells, do not sit or stand up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. Alcohol can increase drowsiness and dizziness. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
Birth control pills may not work properly while you are taking this medicine. Talk to your doctor about using an extra method of birth control.
This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.
The use of this medicine may increase the chance of suicidal thoughts or actions. Pay special attention to how you are responding while on this medicine. Any worsening of mood, or thoughts of suicide or dying should be reported to your health care professional right away.
Women who become pregnant while using this medicine may enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry by calling 1-888-233-2334. This registry collects information about the safety of antiepileptic drug use during pregnancy.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- breathing problems
- changes in vision
- dark urine
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- fever or chills, sore throat
- mouth ulcers
- pain or difficulty passing urine
- redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- ringing in the ears
- stomach pain
- swollen joints or muscle/joint aches and pains
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusually weak or tired
- worsening of mood, thoughts or actions of suicide or dying
- yellowing of the eyes or skin
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- clumsiness or unsteadiness
- diarrhea or constipation
- increased sweating
Where should I keep my medicine?Keep out of reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep container tightly closed. Protect from moisture. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.