Carbamazepine (car-ba-MAZE-i-peen)


Generic Name: Carbamazepine (car-ba-MAZE-i-peen)

Used to Treat: epilepsy

Seizure Type: Complex Partial and Generalized Tonic-Clonic

Forms of the medicine:

600 mg. - 1200 mg.

General Info:
What is Tegretol?
Tegretol (TEG-re-trol) is brand name of the generic medication Carbamazepine. Tegretol is used to control epileptic seizures by blocking certain nerve impulses to the brain. It may come in the form of extended-release capsules, syrup (liquid), tablets, chewable tablets, and extended-release tablets.

How do I take Tegretol?
Take this medication exactly as it is prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts or longer than recommended by your doctor. Do not change your dosage without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor if the medication does not seem to work in treating your condition.

The syrup (liquid) and the tablets should be 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 can be taken twice a day with or without meals. Try to take your medication at the same time and manner everyday.

Swallow the pill or capsule whole. Do not crush, chew, break, or open the pill or capsule as it is specially made to release medicine slowly throughout the body. Breaking or opening the pill or capsule will cause too much of the drug to be released at one time. While the chewable tablet may be swallowed whole, it may also be chewed, broken, or crushed before swallowing. Shake the syrup well just before measuring a dose. To be sure you ingest the correct dose, measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup. Do not use a regular table spoon. Ask your pharmacist to provide you with one if you do not have a dose-measuring device.

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dose of Tegretol and gradually increase your dose. It may take several weeks for the medication to take full effect. Continue taking your medication even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Tegretol without consulting your doctor. It is important to complete your treatment or else your seizure activity may become worse.

What if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take an extra dose, unless prescribed by your doctor.

What if I experience side effects?
Various side effects may occur in taking this medicine. Most side effects are not serious and may disappear naturally. Call your doctor if you have any questions concerning your possible side effects. However, do not stop taking your medication without advice from your doctor. They will discuss and recommend possible options. At times it is necessary to continue taking your medication despite these side effects.

There are other side effects that may be serious and indicate that your body is not tolerating the drug properly. Call a doctor right away if these side effects become severe or cause considerable problems in your daily functions. If you experience a change in seizures, severe rash, or allergic reaction contact your doctor immediately. Tegretol may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills as these may indicate potentially life threatening problems.

Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • Calf pain
  • Swelling or tenderness
  • Change in urine output, dark urine
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore-throat
  • Hallucinations
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite or sudden unusual weight gain
  • Red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin
  • Severe or persistent dizziness, headache, nausea, or vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Ulcers or sores in the mouth
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Vision problems
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes

Keep this medication in its original container, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store your prescription at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (i.e. not the bathroom). Protect the extended-release capsules and liquid from light. Do not freeze the liquid. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

Recommendation for women
Tegretol has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. Pregnancy FDA category D. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Tegretol while pregnant. As Tegretol is also found in breast milk do not breast-feed while under treatment. There is an increased risk of spina bifida in children of women taking this medication. Women who are taking this medication and who wish to become pregnant should discuss treatment options with their physicians before the pregnancy begins
Hormonal birth control (e.g., birth control pills) may not work as well while you are using Tegretol. To prevent pregnancy, use an extra form of birth control. Tegretol may cause the results of some pregnancy tests to be wrong. Check with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your pregnancy test results.

Other helpful information
Tegretol may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
Tegretol may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Tegretol. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.

Side Effects

Dizziness, Nausea, Drowsiness, Vomiting, Dry mouth