TEGRETOL: Medical Use and Drug Facts
- Generic Name : carbamazepine
- Brand Names are: Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol XR
Tegretol is an anticonvulsant drug that serves as an analgesic for decreasing nerve impulses which can cause seizures and pain. This medicine is essentially used during the treatment of certain types of seizures associated with epilepsy. The drug mainly addresses the nerve pains associated with true trigeminal neuralgia and diabetic neuropathy.
The medicine should be taken as per the prescribed information. Any alterations to the medication should be done only if advised by the doctor. Other than this, the drug should be consumed, only as long as it has been prescribed for.
- The extended release tablet should be taken as a whole and breaking or chewing the same can cause too much of the drug release at the same time.
- The oral suspension should be well shaken before use. The liquid should be measured in the exact amounts with either a measuring cup or spoon, before administration.
- The chewable tablets should be chewed well before swallowing.
Available Forms of the Drug:
The drug is available in the following forms:
- Chewable tablets of 100mg which is either red- speckled or pink
- Tablets of 200mg which is pink in color
- Suspension of 100mg/ 5 ml.
Drug should not be prescribed to patients:
- With a history of bone marrow suppression
- With allergies to antidepressants like amitriptyline, desipramine, imipramine, or nortriptyline.
- Under the medication of MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam) for or anytime during the past 14 days.
- The medicine takes about 4 weeks before the symptoms improve, so even if after it starts to feel better, the drug should not be discontinued.
- Patients who have had a history of:
- Side effects from any drug
- Liver or kidney disease
- Heart disease or heart block
- Mental illness
- Glaucoma should mention the same to the doctor before starting with Tegretol.
- Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming self are another common side effect of the drug, so in case a patient experiences the same it is advisable to seek medical help at once. The family members or other caregivers of the patient should be alert to mood swings and mention the same to the doctor during the visit.
- Tegretol is FDA pregnancy category D drug. So women, who are either pregnant or planning pregnancy, should discuss the medication before taking the same, as the drug is known to cause harm to the unborn baby.
- Nursing mothers should also avoid this formulation as it can pass into the breast- milk and harm the nursing baby.
- Tegretol can at times also lower the infection fighting blood cells of the body. Hence it makes the body susceptible to infections and can even cause easy bleeding from small wounds.
- Though rare, but in certain cases patients of Asian ancestry, have suffered from a rare serious skin reaction to Tegretol.
- Drinking alcohol or grapefruit juice may interfere with the working of the drug. So both should be avoided during the treatment.
- Since this medicine also makes skin sensitive, it is recommended to wear a sunscreen of SPF 15 or more and use protective clothing, before moving out in sun.