Carbamazepine is a prescription medication, which is used in the treatment of epilepsy, bipolar disorder, trigeminal neuralgia, and other psychological and anxiety disorders. Due to its characteristics of an anticonvulsant and mood stabilizer, it can be helpful in cases of schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and many others. It is known under several other trade names, and it can be found in various forms, but the form, as well as the dosage that will be prescribed, depend on the disease for the treatment of which it is used.
Carbamazepine side effects
Various side effects are possible when using this medication, which is why the doctor has to be very careful and well informed when prescribing it, as well as the patient who is about to take it, because it is very important to use it exactly as prescribed. However, the majority of the most frequent unwanted symptoms is only temporary, and does not need special medical attention. These symptoms usually disappear as soon as the body is adjusted to the medication, and they include nausea, dizziness, vomiting and sleepiness. Less frequent symptoms are sweating, sensitivity to the sun, the growth of hair on face or other parts of the body where they did not grow before, headaches, cramps in the legs, changes in the color of the skin and problems with vision. However, it should be emphasized that some of these symptoms haven’t officially been proved to be the consequence of carbamazepine use.
Some of the side effects that do require medical attention as soon as possible are hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, depression, signs that may indicate conditions such as congestive heart failure, liver or kidney problems, allergic reaction, and low levels of sodium in the blood.
How to reduce the risk of side effects to a minimum?
In order to reduce the risk of possible side effects, the doctor has to make sure that the patients do not suffer from some heart disease, arrhythmia, anemia, glaucoma, thyroid problems, and liver or kidney diseases. In case they do suffer from some of these conditions, the doctor has to make the right adjustment of the dosage, because the patient probably already uses some other medications for the treatment.
Carbamazepine should not be used in combination with alcohol, antidepressants, certain antibiotics, antipsychotics, and hormone contraceptives, as well as it should not be used along with the grapefruit juice, because the level of carbamazepine in the blood may be raised more than it is allowed. Carbamazepine may interact with a number of other medications, but the doctor is the one who should inform and warn each patient about that.