Carbamazepine review

Carbamazepine, also known as CBZ, is an anticonvulsant drug that is also used as a mood stabilizing agent. It acts by decreasing the amount of abnormal excitement in the brain, and is indicated for epilepsy and the treatment of bipolar disorders.

Carbamazepine is effective in controlling seizures by blocking certain brain impulses that cause them. It is likewise used for ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), and schizophrenia (a psychiatric condition).

Used by itself or combined with other seizure medications, Carbamazepine is administered to calm manic episodes where the patient exhibits extreme mood swings, mixed episodes of mania and depression, and other abnormal moods.

Other uses of Carbamazepine include treatment of trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that causes severe pain in the facial nerves. Cabamazepine shifts nerve impulses from the affected facial nerves to ease the pain of this condition.

Carbamazepine is further indicated for other mental illnesses like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, withdrawal from drug and alcohol addictions, restless legs syndrome, diabetes insipidus and a children's disease called chorea.

People who have a history of bone marrow suppression, porphyria (a blood disorder) and atrioventricular block (a severe heart block problem) should avoid taking Carbamazepine as the drug will only make their conditions worse. Those who are allergic to antidepressant medications like amitriptyline (Elavil), desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Trofranil), or nortriptyline (Pamelor) should refrain from taking Carbamazepine to prevent adverse interactions between the drugs.

Other counterindicated medications include cold or allergy medicines; pain relievers; sleeping pills; muscle relaxants; antidepressants like isocarboxazid (Marplan) and phenelzine (Nardil), and anti-anxiety medicines like tranylcypromine (Parnate). Patients who are taking selegiline, a drug to treat early-stage Parkinson's disease and senile dementia, should likewise refrain from taking Carbamazepine.

Patients are advised not to drink alcohol beverages while taking the medication to avoid the risk of seizures. They should inform their doctor if they are currently taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, including vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements before starting Carbamazepine treatment.

Carbamazepine has been classified as pregnancy category D by the FDA. Consequently, use of this drug can harm an unborn baby. As it can be passed on to breast milk and harm nursing infants, patients should refrain from breastfeeding while taking Carbamazepine. Carbamazepine can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. Patients will need to tell their doctor of the contraceptive measures they are using before beginning medication. Carbamazepine also has the effect of lowering the body's infection-fighting blood cells. Patients on this medication need to have their blood and liver functions checked regularly.

Other side effects include drowsiness, dizziness or headaches; vomiting; anxiety; constipation or diarrhea; heartburn; dry mouth; back pain, and impaired motor coordination or unsteadiness of movement. In some rare instances, Carbamazepine can also cause cardiac arrhythmias, blurred eyesight or double vision, and some loss of blood cells or platelets.

Severe side effects like allergic rashes, breathing difficulties, confusion, depression, suicidal thoughts, chest pain, black or tarry stools, jaundice, and losing touch with reality are very rare, but these are considered serious and need immediate medical attention.

Carbamazepine is sold under many brand names, and these include Tegretol, Biston, Calepsin, Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Finlepsin, Sirtal, Stazepine, Talesmin, Teril, Timonil, Trimonil, and Epimaz. The medication comes in tablet form, chewables, extended-release tablets and capsules, and a liquid (suspension).

Patients should not to stop taking their medication without first consulting their doctor. Suddenly stopping Carbamazepine intake can cause an increase in the number of seizures and other unpleasant side effects.

Carbamazepine has the following structural formula:

Chemical structure of carbamazepine

• Molecular formula of carbamazepine is C15H12N2O
• Chemical IUPAC Name is 5H-dibenz[b,f]azepine-5-carboxamide
• Molecular weight is 236.269 g/mol
Carbamazepine available : 100mg tablets, 100mg/5ml suspension, 200mg tablets

Brand name(s): Atretol, Biston, Calepsin, Carbamazepen, Carbamezepine, Carbatrol, Carbazepine, Carbelan, Epitol, Equetro, Finlepsin, Karbamazepin, Lexin, Neurotol, Novo-Carbamaz, Nu-Carbamazepine, Sirtal, Stazepin, Stazepine, Taro-Carbamazepine, Tegretal, Tegretol, Telesmin, Teril, Timonil

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