Tegretol is a prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1968 for the treatment of seizures. In people with epilepsy, Tegretol is used to prevent most types of seizures except absence seizures. Tegretol is not usually prescribed for primary generalized epilepsy. Tegretol may be referred to by its drug name, Carbamazepine. Carbamazepine is also sold under the brand name Carbatrol.
Tegretol is a member of the dibenzazepine class of anticonvulsants. An anticonvulsant is a drug that prevents seizures. It is believed that Tegretol 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 Tegretol before prescribing it.
Tegretol 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 Tegretol and gradually increase the dosage.
Avoid driving or operating machinery until you are certain you understand how Tegretol affects you.
Tegretol 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 Tegretol.
Ask your doctor whether you need to avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking Tegretol.
Drinking alcohol while taking Tegretol can intensify some side effects.
Do not stop taking Tegretol suddenly. If you decide to stop taking Tegretol, consult your physician for a plan to taper off gradually.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Tegretol.
Common side effects of Tegretol 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 Tegretol.
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 Tegretol.
Rarely, some people experience neurological symptoms including depression or suicidal thoughts while taking Tegretol. Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling in 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.