Generic Name: Carbamazepine Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is carbamazepine used for?

Carbamazepine is used to prevent and control seizures. Carbamazepine belongs to a drug is known as an anticonvulsant or anti-epileptic drug. It is also used to relieve certain types of nerve pain (such as trigeminal neuralgia). This medication works by reducing the spread of seizure activity in the brain and restoring the normal balance of nerve activity.

Carbamazepine may also be used to treat certain mental/mood conditions (such as bipolar disorder) and other types of nerve pain.

How should I take carbamazepine?

Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using carbamazepine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Take carbamazepine by mouth with food as directed by your doctor.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor or pharmacist says you may do so safely. Grapefruit can increase the chance of side effects with this medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Take carbamazepine regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well.

Do not stop taking carbamazepine without consulting your doctor. Some conditions (such as seizures) may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.

Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.

How do I store carbamazepine?

Carbamazepine is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store carbamazepine in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of carbamazepine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush carbamazepine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using carbamazepine?

You should not take carbamazepine if you have a history of bone marrow suppression, or if you are allergic to carbamazepine or to an antidepressant such as amitriptyline, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, or nortriptyline.

Do not use carbamazepine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include furazolidone, isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.

Carbamazepine may cause severe or life-threatening skin rash, and especially in people of Asian ancestry. Your doctor may recommend a blood test before you start the medication to determine your risk.

Is it safe to take carbamazepine during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category D according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown.

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of carbamazepine?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: sudden mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, insomnia, or if you feel agitated, hostile, restless, irritable, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Fever, tired feeling, weakness, confusion, pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath;
  • Easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • Slow, fast, or pounding heartbeats;
  • Confusion, vision problems, hallucinations;
  • Nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • Little or no urinating;
  • Swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • Problems with your fingernails or toenails; or
  • Severe skin reaction — fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common side effects may include:

  • Dizziness, drowsiness,
  • Nausea, vomiting, feeling unsteady;
  • Dry mouth, swollen tongue; or
  • Loss of balance or coordination.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with carbamazepine?

Carbamazepine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Amifampridine, Artemether, Atazanavir, Boceprevir, Clorgyline, Daclatasvir, Delamanid, Delavirdine, Efavirenz, Etravirine, Furazolidone, Iproniazid, Isocarboxazid, Linezolid, Lumefantrine, Lurasidone, Maraviroc, Methylene Blue, Moclobemide, Nefazodone, Nevirapine, Nialamide, Pargyline, Phenelzine, Praziquantel, Procarbazine, Ranolazine ,Rasagiline, Rilpivirine, Selegiline, Telaprevir, Toloxatone, Tranylcypromine, Voriconazole

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Abiraterone Acetate, Adenosine, Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine, Afatinib, Alfentanil, Almotriptan, Alprazolam, Amiodarone, Amlodipine, Amprenavir, Apixaban, Apremilast, Aprepitant, Aripiprazole, Astemizole, Atorvastatin, Axitinib, Bedaquiline, Bosutinib, Brentuximab Vedotin, Brinzolamide, Bromocriptine, Budesonide, Buprenorphine, Bupropion ,Buspirone, Cabazitaxel, Cabozantinib, Ceritinib, Chlorpromazine, Cilostazol, Cinnarizine, Cisapride, Citalopram, Clarithromycin, Clevidipine, Clonazepam, Clozapine, Cobicistat, Conivaptan, Crizotinib, Cyclophosphamide, Cyclosporine, Dabigatran Etexilate, Dabrafenib, Darifenacin, Darunavir, Dasatinib, Desogestrel, Desvenlafaxine, Dexamethasone, Dienogest, Dihydroergotamine, Diltiazem, Docetaxel, Dolasetron, Dolutegravir, Doxorubicin, Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome, Dronedarone, Drospirenone, Dutasteride, Eletriptan, Eliglustat, Elvitegravir, Enzalutamide, Eplerenone, Ergotamine, Erlotinib, Erythromycin, Eslicarbazepine Acetate, Estradiol, Estradiol Valerate, Ethinyl Estradiol, Ethynodiol Diacetate, Etonogestrel, Everolimus, Exemestane, Ezogabine, Felodipine, Fentanyl, Fluconazole, Fluoxetine, Fluticasone, Fosamprenavir, Fosaprepitant, Fosphenytoin, Gestodene, Granisetron, Halofantrine, Hydrocodone, Hydroxytryptophan, Ibrutinib, Idelalisib, Ifosfamide, Iloperidone, Imatinib, Indinavir, Irinotecan, Isoniazid, Isradipine, Itraconazole, Ivabradine, Ivacaftor, Ixabepilone, Ketoconazole, Ketorolac, Lamotrigine, Lapatinib, Ledipasvir, Letrozole, Levomilnacipran, Levonorgestrel, Linagliptin, Lomitapide, Lopinavir, Lorcaserin, Losartan, Lovastatin, Loxapine, Macitentan, Medroxyprogesterone, Mefloquine, Meperidine, Mestranol, Methadone, Mifepristone, Mirtazapine, Mitotane, Nateglinide, Nelfinavir, Netupitant, Nifedipine, Nilotinib, Nimodipine, Nintedanib, Nisoldipine, Norethindrone, Norgestimate, Norgestrel, Olanzapine, Ondansetron, Oritavancin, Orlistat, Paclitaxel, Palonosetron, Pazopanib, Perampanel, Phenytoin, Pimozide, Piperaquine, Pixantrone, Pomalidomide, Ponatinib, Prednisolone, Prednisone, Primidone, Propafenone, Propoxyphene, Quetiapine, Quinidine, Quinine, Regorafenib, Rifabutin, Riociguat, Ritonavir, Rivaroxaban, Roflumilast, Romidepsin, Salmeterol, Saquinavir, Saxagliptin, Sildenafil, Siltuximab, Simvastatin, Sirolimus, Sofosbuvir, Sorafenib, Sunitinib, Tacrolimus, Tamoxifen, Tamsulosin, Tasimelteon, Telithromycin, Temsirolimus, Terfenadine, Thioridazine, Ticagrelor, Tipranavir, Tofacitinib, Tolvaptan, Trabectedin, Tramadol, Trazodone, Triamcinolone, Triazolam, Ulipristal Acetate, Vandetanib, Vardenafil, Vemurafenib, Verapamil, Vigabatrin, Vilanterol, Vilazodone, Vincristine Sulfate, Vincristine Sulfate Liposome, Vinflunine, Vorapaxar, Vortioxetine, Zaleplon, Zileuton, Zolpidem.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Acetaminophen, Acetylcysteine, Aminophylline, Amitriptyline, Amoxapine, Anisindione, Caspofungin, Dalfopristin, Danazol, Desipramine, Dicumarol, Doxepin, Etretinate, Felbamate, Flunarizine, Furosemide, Ginkgo, Haloperidol, Hydrochlorothiazide, Imipramine, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Levetiracetam, Lithium, Methylphenidate, Methylprednisolone, Metronidazole, Mianserin, Midazolam, Miokamycin, Nafimidone, Niacinamide, Nortriptyline, Omeprazole, Ospemifene, Oxcarbazepine, Paliperidone, Phenobarbital, Phenprocoumon, Pipecuronium, Primidone, Protriptyline, Psyllium, Quinupristin, Remacemide, Rifampin, Rifapentine, Risperidone, Rocuronium, Rufinamide, Sabeluzole, Sertraline, St John’s Wort, Theophylline, Tiagabine, Ticlopidine, Topiramate, Troleandomycin, Valnoctamide, Valproic Acid, Vecuronium, Viloxazine, Warfarin, Ziprasidone.

Does food or alcohol interact with carbamazepine?

Carbamazepine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with carbamazepine?

Carbamazepine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides;
  • Liver or kidney disease;
  • Glaucoma;
  • A thyroid disorder;
  • Lupus;
  • Porphyria; or
  • A history of mental illness, psychosis, or suicidal thoughts or actions.

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of Carbamazepine for an adult?

Usual Adult Carbamazepine Dose for Epilepsy:

Initial dose: 200 mg orally twice a day (immediate and extended release) or 100 mg orally 4 times a day (suspension).

Increase dose at weekly intervals in 200 mg/day increments using a twice daily regimen of extended release or a three times a day or four times a day regimen of the other formulations.

Maintenance dose: 800 to 1200 mg/day.

Dosage generally should not exceed 1200 mg/day.

However, doses up to 1600 mg/day have been used in rare instances.

Usual Adult Carbamazepine Dose for Trigeminal Neuralgia:

Initial dose: 100 mg orally twice a day (immediate or extended release) or 50 mg orally 4 times a day (suspension).

May increase by up to 200 mg/day using increments of 100 mg every 12 hours (immediate or extended release), or 50 mg four times a day (suspension), only as needed to achieve freedom from pain. Do not exceed 1200 mg/ day.

Maintenance dose: 400 to 800 mg/day.

Some patients may be maintained on as little as 200 mg/day while others may require as much as 1200 mg/day. At least once every 3 months throughout the treatment period, attempts should be made to reduce the dose to the minimum effective level or to discontinue the drug.

Usual Adult Carbamazepine Dose for Bipolar Disorder:

Initial dose: 200 mg orally in tablet or capsule form every 12 hours or 100 mg of oral solution 4 times a day.

Tablets and solution:

Following autoinduction, higher doses will be necessary to maintain drug levels within the therapeutic range of 6 to 12 mcg/mL. The daily dose should be increased in 100 to 200 mg increments at 1 to 2 week intervals.

Maintenance dose: up to 1200 mg daily in 3 or 4 divided doses may be necessary to maintain plasma levels in the therapeutic range.

Extended release capsules:

The dose should be adjusted in 200 mg daily increments (increase by 100 mg twice daily) to achieve optimal clinical response. Doses higher than 1600 mg per day have not been studied.

Usual Adult Carbamazepine Dose for Diabetic Neuropathy:

Initial dose: 100 mg orally in tablet form every 12 hours or 50 mg of oral solution 4 times a day.

The daily dose should be increased in 100 mg increments at 1 to 2 week intervals.

Maintenance dose: 600 to 1200 mg daily in 3 or 4 divided doses may be necessary to maintain plasma levels in the therapeutic range.

What is the dose of Carbamazepine for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Epilepsy:

Less than 6 years:

Initial dose: 10 to 20 mg/kg/day orally in 2 to 3 divided doses (tablets) or 4 divided doses (suspension).

Increase dose at weekly intervals to achieve optimal clinical response.

Maximum dose: 35 mg/kg/day.

If satisfactory response not achieved, measure levels to determine if in therapeutic range.

6 to 12 years:

Initial dose: 100 mg orally twice a day (immediate or extended release tablets) or 50 mg orally 4 times a day (suspension).

Increase dose at weekly intervals in 100 mg/day increments using a twice daily regimen of extended release or a three times a day or four times a day regimen of the other formulations.

Maintenance dose: 400 to 800 mg/day.

Maximum dose: 1000 mg/day.

More than 12 years:

Initial dose: 200 mg orally twice a day (immediate and extended release) or 100 mg orally 4 times a day (suspension).

Increase dose at weekly intervals in 200 mg/day increments using a twice a day regimen of extended release or a three times daily to four times daily regimen of the other formulations.

Maintenance dose: 800 to 1200 mg/day.

Dosage generally should not exceed 1000 mg in children 12 to 15 years and 1200 mg/day in patients >15 years.

Doses up to 1600 mg/day have been used in rare instances.

How is carbamazepine available?

Carbamazepine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet 100 mg; 200 mg; 400 mg.
  • Suspension 100 mg/5 mL.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • Unconsciousness;
  • Seizures;
  • Restlessness;
  • muscle twitching;
  • abnormal movements;
  • shaking of a part of your body that you cannot control;
  • unsteadiness;
  • drowsiness;
  • dizziness;
  • blurred vision;
  • irregular or slowed breathing;
  • rapid or pounding heartbeat;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • difficulty urinatin.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of carbamazepine , take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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