CDHB

Carbamazepine

kar-ba-maz-e-peen

What does it do?

Carbamazepine is used to treat and prevent seizures. It is also sometimes used for other conditions, such as pain and mood problems.

How should you take it?

Take carbamazepine regularly as directed with a glass of water.
Carbamazepine controlled release tablets may be halved, but do not crush or chew them.
Measure the liquid carefully with an oral syringe or measuring spoon. Shake the bottle well before measuring each dose.

What if you forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as possible and continue as directed.

Can you take other medicines?

Carbamazepine can react with many medicines, sometimes with severe results.

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Skin rash, skin peeling or blisters

Stop taking and see your doctor immediately

Suicidal thoughts

Reduced number of blood cells that fight infections or help your blood to clot - symptoms include: fever, chills, sore throat or generally feeling unwell, or easy or unusual bruising or bleeding

Symptoms of liver problems including: yellow skin or eyes, itching, dark urine, pale bowel motions, abdominal pain

Tell your doctor immediately

Changes in vision

Confusion, loss of co-ordination/walking or handwriting problems

Tell your doctor

Dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation or trouble peeing (anticholinergic effects)

Drowsiness, dizziness, headache, weakness

Nausea, vomiting

Tell your doctor if troublesome

Stomach upset

Take with food

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have heart, liver, blood, bladder, prostate or bowel problems, or if you have angle-closure glaucoma.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Grapefruit, grapefruit juice or sour/Seville oranges may react with carbamazepine. Discuss with your pharmacist.
  • Some contraceptives may not work as well while you are taking carbamazepine, and for 4 weeks after stopping. Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Carbamazepine can impair your ability to do tasks such as driving or using machines. Alcohol makes this worse. Discuss your risk with your health professional. (search NZTA - Are you safe to drive?)
  • You may need blood tests from time to time to make sure you are taking the right dose of carbamazepine.
  • Do not stop taking carbamazepine without talking to your doctor first, unless you have a skin rash (see Side Effects).