Tegretol is a trademark of carbamazepine, a prescription drug used to treat certain types of seizures and nerve pain.
It is an anticonvulsant that works by reducing the nerve impulses that cause seizures and pain. Tegretol belongs to a class of drugs known as antiepileptic drugs.
Carbamazepine appeared in 1953 and was originally sold as a drug for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia (associated with severe facial pain). In the 1960s, doctors began to prescribe it as an antiepileptic drug in the United Kingdom. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for use in the United States in 1968.
Today Tegretol brand is distributed by the pharmaceutical company Novartis, located in Switzerland. There is another brand name for carbamazepine, known as Equetro, which is distributed by Validus Pharmaceuticals. There are several manufacturers that make the general form of carbamazepine.
Tegretol can cause a rare, but severe skin rash, which can lead to death. This rash usually appears during the first four months of taking the medication, but it can also appear at any other time. This reaction can occur in anyone, but it is most common in people of Asian descent. If you are of Asian descent, you must do a genetic blood test before taking Tegretol.
Tegretol can also cause blood disorder when the bone marrow does not create enough new blood cells called platelets and agranulocytosis (a disorder in which the bone marrow does not produce enough white blood cells).
Tegretol can cause rare but serious problems with blood. You should not take Tegretol if you have or have ever had problems with the bone marrow.
Like other antiepileptic drugs, Tegretol can also cause suicidal thoughts and actions in a small number of people (about 1 in 500).
You should not stop taking Tegretol without first talking to your doctor. A sudden discontinuation of this medication can cause serious problems.
You may not be able to take Tegretol if you have one of the following conditions:
- Heart disease
- Diseases of the liver or kidneys
- History of psychosis or mental illness
Pregnancy and Tegretol
Taking Tegretol during pregnancy can harm a developing fetus. Immediately contact your health care provider if you become pregnant with Tegretol.
- Problems with walking and coordination
Serious side effects:
- Inconsistent Breath
- Fainting or feeling dizzy
- Problems with the liver
Symptoms of liver problems include yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, pain in the right side of the stomach, slight bruising, loss of appetite and severe nausea or vomiting.
Serious side effects:
- Skin rash
- Ulcers in the mouth
- Skin peeling
- Sore throat
- Light bruises
- Red or purple spots on the body
- Bleeding gums
- Nasal bleeding
- Severe fractures
Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Attempts to commit suicide
- Thoughts about hurting yourself
- Reckless behavior
- Unusual hyperactivity
Obtain immediate medical attention if you have any signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
- Labored breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
You should always tell your doctor about all the drugs and supplements you use.
This drug may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills and, possibly, lead to unwanted pregnancies.
Do not combine Tegretol with other mood stabilizers or anti-epileptics without talking to your doctor.
Before taking Tegretol, tell your health care provider if you are taking any of the following medicines:
- Antifungal drugs
- Blood Solvents
- Medicines for cancer treatment
- AIDS Drugs
- Preparations for the heart or blood pressure
Tegretol and other interactions
Drinking grapefruit juice can increase the amount of Tegretol in the body.
Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of Tegretol, and may also increase the risk of seizures.
Avoid exposure to sunlight and tanning beds.
Tegretol is available in tablets, suspensions, chewable tablets and extended-release tablets.
Take Tegretol exactly as directed. Never change the dosage.
Do not stop taking Tegretol without talking to your doctor.
Take Tegretol while eating.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- Decrease or absence of urination
- Uncontrolled muscle contractions
- Slurred speech
The missed dose of Tegretol
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip it if it’s time to take the next scheduled dose. Do not use a double dose.