Tegretol/Tegretol XR/Carbatrol is an antiepileptic drug used for treating partial seizures and secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures. It is approved for use as a single drug therapy or in combination with other antiepileptic drugs. It is also approved in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia.
Tegretol is available in chewable tablets of 100 mg and regular tablets of 200 mg. Tegretol XR, an extended release tablet, is available in 100 mg, 200 mg and 400 mg tablets. Carbatrol, an extended release capsule, is available in 200 mg and 300 mg capsules. Tegretol is also available as a suspension (100 mg/5 ml).
What side effects can be caused by Tegretol?
Just like other drugs, Tegretol/Carbatrol can cause side effects. Also, every patient is different. If you experience any bothersome side effects, report them to your doctor. (There is a risk of serious side effects, including death, with all medications that are used to treat seizures; however, the risk is exceedingly small). This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Please refer to the package insert for more details about Tegretol/Carbatrol.
Some of the more common side effects of Tegretol/Carbatrol include:
Rash or other allergic reaction (swollen glands, fever, sore throat).
Weakness of the bones (osteopenia)
Rare, but serious side effects:
In rare instances, the rash can progress to serious and potentially life-threatening skin conditions called "Stevens-Johnson syndrome" or "Toxic epidermal necrolysis."
Women who plan to have children should consult with their doctor about the possible effects on the fetus.
How should I take Tegretol/Carbatrol?
It is important that you take the total dose of Tegretol/Carbatrol as prescribed by your doctor. Tegretol is normally taken three times a day. These doses should be spread out as far as possible during your waking hours. Tegretol XR and Carbatrol can be taken two times a day (in the morning and at bedtime). Do not stop this medication without the advice of your doctor; doing so may result in an increase in seizures.
Does Tegretol/Carbatrol interact with other medications?
Tagamet (cimetidine), Cardizem (diltiazem), erythromycin, clarithromycin, Prozac (fluoxetine), Claritin (loratadine), Darvon (propoxyphene), Nizoral (ketaconazole), Sporanox (itraconazole), Covera/Isoptin (verapamil), Felbatol felbamate), rifampin, phenobarbital, Dilantin/Phenytek (phenytoin), Depakote/Depakene (divalproex sodium or valproic acid), phenobarbital, isoniazid (INH), may affect carbamazepine levels in the bloodstream.
Tegretol/Carbatrol may affect the levels of the following medications:
This list is not meant to be complete. Please ask your doctor about any specific drug-drug interactions, especially when starting a new prescribed or over-the-counter drug.
Can I take Tegretol/Carbatrol with food or other medications?
Taking Tegretol/Carbatrol with calcium containing medications may decrease the absorption of Tegretol/Carbatrol by the stomach/small intestine. Most medications, however, can be taken safely with Tegretol/Carbatrol. Tell your doctor that you are taking Tegretol/Carbatrol before beginning to take other prescription drugs.