Carbamazepine is used to control seizures (commonly known as fits). It can also be used as a mood stabiliser to help reduce mood swings in bipolar disorder. It is also used in other medical conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia, where a patient experiences nerve pain at the face area.
Like all medications, carbamazepine may cause side effects but not everyone experiences them. Consult your healthcare professional if any of the side effects lasts more than a few days or becomes severe and bothersome.
The common side effects of carbamazepine include:
If the following serious side effects happen, you should consult your healthcare professional immediately:
In rare cases, this medication may cause the following changes to a person's mental condition, especially in the first few weeks of treatment or during dose changes:
Please inform your doctor as soon as possible, or for your family or caregiver to inform your doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.
Do not stop taking this medication on your own without discussing with your doctor.
It is important to note that your doctor has prescribed this medication as he/she feels you will benefit more from taking this medication over the possible risks that it may cause, which have a low chance of occurring, and most people take this medication without any such problems.
The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.
In accordance to the Health Science Authority (HSA) regulation, it is compulsory for all Asian patients who are first prescribed with carbamazepine to be tested for a specific gene (HLA-B*1502) that could result in higher risk of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN). SJS and TEN are rare and serious skin reactions which can happen after using some medications. Symptoms include mouth ulcers, face swelling, blisters on skin, skin rashes that spread throughout the body within hours to days after the medication. It usually occurs within the first few months (monitor closely for the first 3 months) of treatment. Those who have been taking carbamazepine for more than 3 months without developing skin reactions are at low risk of SJS and TEN.
Inform your healthcare professional if you have the following medical conditions before starting on carbamazepine:
For female patients of child-bearing age: Discuss with your doctor regarding family planning if you will be starting or currently taking carbamazepine.
Consult your healthcare professional immediately if your seizures get worse or change differently after you start on this medication.
If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only the usual dose. Do not double your dose or use extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.
Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing into the rubbish chute or bin.