carbamazepine (oral) (cont.)
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol XR)?
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.
To make sure carbamazepine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have any of these conditions:
You may have thoughts about suicide while taking carbamazepine. Tell your doctor if you have symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
FDA pregnancy category D. Do not start or stop taking carbamazepine during pregnancy without your doctor's advice. Carbamazepine may cause harm to an unborn baby, but having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both mother and baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking carbamazepine for seizures.
Carbamazepine can make birth control pills or implants less effective. Use a barrier form of birth control (such as a condom or diaphragm with spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking carbamazepine.
Carbamazepine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using carbamazepine.
How should I take carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol XR)?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Do not crush, chew, break, or open an extended-release tablet or capsule. Swallow the pill whole.
You may open the extended-release capsule and sprinkle the medicine into a spoonful of pudding or applesauce to make swallowing easier. Swallow right away without chewing. Do not save the mixture for later use. Discard the empty capsule.
Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure the liquid with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.
It may take up to 4 weeks before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and call your doctor promptly if this medicine seems to stop working as well in preventing your seizures.
While using carbamazepine, you may need frequent blood tests at your doctor's office.
Do not stop using carbamazepine without first talking to your doctor, even if you feel fine. You may have increased seizures or unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you stop using carbamazepine suddenly.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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