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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Carbamazepine for Epilepsy
Carbamazepine comes in
liquid, tablet, and chewable tablet forms.
Carbamazepine prevents seizures by
calming the electrical activity in the brain.
Carbamazepine is the medicine of
choice for children who have
partial seizures and one of the drugs of choice for
treating adults who have partial seizures. It may also be used to control
generalized tonic-clonic seizures.
who have absence seizures or myoclonic seizures probably should not use
carbamazepine. It does not prevent these types of seizures and can even make
Carbamazepine is effective in preventing partial seizures and generalized tonic-clonic seizures.1
Carbamazepine may not interfere with your
ability to think clearly (cognitive impairment) as much as some
other drugs used to treat epilepsy, such as phenytoin.
Common side effects of carbamazepine
Your doctor may prescribe smaller but more frequent doses of carbamazepine to help
reduce its side effects. High doses of carbamazepine can affect a person's
thinking and state of mind, but this can often be avoided.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on antiepileptic
medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The FDA does not
recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, people who take
antiepileptic medicine should be watched closely for
warning signs of suicide. People who take
antiepileptic medicine and who are worried about this side effect should talk
to a doctor.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects.
(Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
It may take time and careful,
controlled adjustments by you and your doctor to find the combination,
schedule, and dosing of medicine to best manage your epilepsy. The goal is to
prevent seizures while causing as few side effects as possible.
Regular blood tests help monitor the amount of medicine in your blood—it is
important to maintain a consistent level. After you and your doctor figure out
the medicine program that works best for you, make sure to follow
your program exactly as prescribed.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Drugs for epilepsy (2008). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 6(70): 37–46.
August 26, 2011
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
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