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.
Do not take carbamazepine together with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or during the first 14 days after you stop taking a MAOI. MAOIs are used for depression and some examples are isocarboxazid (Marplan®), phenelzine (Nardil®), procarbazine (Matulane®), selegiline (Eldepryl®), or tranylcypromine (Parnate®). Do not use this medicine together with nefazodone (Serzone®) and certain medicines for HIV/AIDS (such as delavirdine, efavirenz, Atripla®, Sustiva®, Rescriptor®).
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, your child, 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. 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, a fever, or chills while you are using this medicine.
Carbamazepine may cause serious allergic reactions affecting multiple body organs (eg, liver or kidney). Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have the following symptoms: a 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 (eg, 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 AM and 3:00 PM, if possible.
- Wear protective clothing, including a hat. Also, wear sunglasses.
- Apply a sun block product that has a sun 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.
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 may be affected by this medicine.
Do not stop taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely. This may help prevent worsening of seizures and reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms.
Birth control pills containing estrogen may not work properly if you take them while you are taking carbamazepine. Unplanned pregnancies may occur. 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 other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.