It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits. Your doctor may want to have certain tests done to see if you are receiving the right amount of medicine or if certain side effects may be occurring without your knowing it. Also, the amount of medicine you or your child are taking may have to be changed often.
Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor may want you to join a pregnancy registry for patients taking this medicine.
Birth control pills containing estrogen may not work properly if you take them while you are taking carbamazepine. Unplanned pregnancies may occur. You should use a different or additional means of birth control while you are taking carbamazepine. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor. .
Do not take carbamazepine with or within 14 days of taking a drug with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (e.g., isocarboxazid [Marplan®], phenelzine [Nardil®], procarbazine [Matulane®], selegiline [Eldepryl®], or tranylcypromine [Parnate®]). Also, do not take nefazodone (Serzone®) and other medicines (prescription, over-the-counter [OTC] or herbal products) unless they have been discussed with your doctor.
Carbamazepine may cause some people to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed. If you or your caregiver notice any of these unwanted effects, tell your doctor right away.
Check with your doctor right away if fever, sore throat, rash, ulcers in the mouth, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, swollen glands, or small red or purple spots on the skin occur. These could be symptoms of a serious blood problem.
Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you or your child have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin; red skin lesions; severe acne or skin rash; sores or ulcers on the skin; or fever or chills while you are using this medicine.
Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach; pale stools; dark urine; loss of appetite; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
Carbamazepine may cause serious allergic reactions affecting multiple body organs (e.g., liver or kidney). Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have the following symptoms: fever, dark urine, headache, rash, stomach pain, unusual tiredness, or yellow eyes or skin.
This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that cause drowsiness). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; medicine for seizures (e.g., barbiturates); muscle relaxants; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you or your child are using this medicine.
This medicine may cause some people to become drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded, or less alert than they are normally, especially when they are starting treatment or increasing the dose. It may also cause blurred or double vision, weakness, or loss of muscle control in some people. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert and well-coordinated or able to see well.
Some people who take carbamazepine may become more sensitive to sunlight than they are normally. Exposure to sunlight, even for brief periods of time, may cause a skin rash, itching, redness or other discoloration of the skin, or a severe sunburn. When you begin taking this medicine:
- Stay out of direct sunlight, especially between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., if possible.
- Wear protective clothing, including a hat. Also, wear sunglasses.
- Apply a sun block product that has a skin protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Some patients may require a product with a higher SPF number, especially if they have a fair complexion. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
- Apply a sun block lipstick that has an SPF of at least 15 to protect your lips.
- Do not use a sunlamp or tanning bed or booth.
If you have a severe reaction from the sun, check with your doctor.
For diabetic patients:
- Carbamazepine may affect urine sugar levels. While you are using this medicine, be especially careful when testing for sugar in your urine. If you notice a change in the results of your urine sugar tests or have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
Before having any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you or your child are taking this medicine. The results of some pregnancy tests and the metyrapone test may be affected by this medicine.
Before having any kind of surgery, dental treatment, or emergency treatment, tell the medical doctor or dentist in charge that you are taking this medicine. Taking carbamazepine together with medicines that are used during surgery or dental or emergency treatments may increase the CNS depressant effects and cause other unwanted effects.
Your doctor may want you to carry a medical identification card or bracelet stating that you are taking this medicine.
Do not stop suddenly taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping completely. This may help prevent worsening of seizures.