Carbatrol is a prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1968 for the treatment of seizures. In people with epilepsy, Carbatrol is used to prevent most types of seizures except absence seizures. Carbatrol is not usually prescribed for primary generalized epilepsy. Carbatrol may be referred to by its drug name, Carbamazepine. Carbamazepine is also sold under the brand names including Tegretol.
Carbatrol is a member of the dibenzazepine class of anticonvulsants. An anticonvulsant is a drug that prevents seizures. It is believed that Carbatrol works in cases of epilepsy by inhibiting nerve signals.
How do I take it?
Your doctor may order a genetic test to gauge your risk for allergic reactions to Carbatrol before prescribing it.
Carbatrol is taken orally as a tablet or a liquid two to four times a day. If you are taking an extended-release tablet, always swallow it whole without crushing or chewing it. Your doctor will likely start you on a low dose of Carbatrol and gradually increase the dosage.
Avoid driving or operating machinery until you are certain you understand how Carbatrol affects you.
Carbatrol may reduce the effectiveness of some forms of birth control, including oral contraceptives and implants. You may need to adopt another form of birth control while using Carbatrol.
Ask your doctor whether you need to avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking Carbatrol.
Drinking alcohol while taking Carbatrol can intensify some side effects.
Do not stop taking Carbatrol suddenly. If you decide to stop taking Carbatrol, consult your physician for a plan to taper off gradually.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Carbatrol.
Common side effects of Carbatrol include sleepiness, dizziness, nausea, feeling unsteady on your feet, headache, and blurry vision. Some of these side effects may fade as your body acclimates to Carbatrol.
Call your doctor if you experience chest pain, vision problems, yellowing of the eyes or skin, confusion, or the sensation of being out of contact with reality while taking Carbatrol.
Rarely, some people experience neurological symptoms including depression or suicidal thoughts while taking Carbatrol. Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects.
Carbatrol can also cause serious allergic reactions. The risk for allergic reactions is highest among people with Asian ancestry. If you are taking Carbatrol, get medical help immediately if you experience a rash, difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, throat, eyes, lips, or tongue.
For answers to frequently asked questions about exposure to Carbamazepine during pregnancy and breastfeeding, visit the experts at MothertoBaby.org.