carbamazepine (oral) (cont.)
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol XR)?
Do not use carbamazepine if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days.
You should not take carbamazepine if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
This medication may cause severe or life-threatening skin rash, especially in people of Asian ancestry. Your doctor may recommend a blood test before you start the medication to determine your risk of this skin reaction.
To make sure you can safely take carbamazepine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
Patients of Asian ancestry may have a higher risk of developing a rare but serious skin reaction to carbamazepine. Your doctor may recommend a blood test before you start the medication to determine your risk of this skin reaction.
You may have thoughts about suicide while taking this medication. Tell your doctor if you have new or worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several months of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.
Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
FDA pregnancy category D. Carbamazepine may cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not start taking carbamazepine without telling your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Use effective birth control while you are taking carbamazepine.
Although carbamazepine may harm an unborn baby, having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both mother and baby. If you become pregnant while taking carbamazepine, do not stop taking the medicine without your doctor's advice.
Seizure control is very important during pregnancy. The benefit of preventing seizures may outweigh any risks posed by taking carbamazepine. Follow your doctor's instructions about taking carbamazepine while you are pregnant.
Carbamazepine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using carbamazepine.
Carbamazepine can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking carbamazepine.
How should I take carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol XR)?
Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow the pill whole. Breaking the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.
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.
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.
Carbamazepine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill.
To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood cells and kidney function may need to be tested often. Do not miss any follow up visits to your doctor for blood or urine tests. Your doctor may also recommend having your eyes checked regularly while you are taking carbamazepine.
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.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take carbamazepine. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take seizure medication.
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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