Tegretol: Information About Carbamazepine

tegretol tablets

Tegretol (Carbamazepine) is a medication that has been around for decades. It was created to treat epilepsy, but it has recently gained popularity as a mood stabilizer and an anti-convulsant.

This post will give you information about carbamazepine, including how it works, the risks associated with taking this medicine, what happens if someone overdoses on it, and more!

What Is Tegretol (Carbamazepine)?

tegretol formula

Tegretol is a medication that is used to treat seizures, mood swings, and pain. It belongs to a class of medications called anticonvulsants.

What Does Tegretol Treat?

Generally, Tegretol is used to treat seizures, mood swings, and pain. It is most commonly used to treat epilepsy, but it can also be effective in treating bipolar disorder and chronic pain.

What Should I Discuss With My Doctor Before Taking Tegretol (Carbamazepine)?

If you are considering taking carbamazepine, you should discuss all of the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider. This includes letting them know if you have any allergies, heart problems, liver disease, or kidney disease.

How Should I Take Tegretol (Carbamazepine)?

Carbamazepine should be taken exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. It is important to follow the directions on the medication label.

  • Swallow carbamazepine tablets whole; do not crush, chew, or break them.
  • Take carbamazepine with food to reduce stomach upset.
  • If you are taking extended-release capsules (Tegretol XR), swallow them whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.
  • Carbamazepine can be taken with or without water.

NOTE: Do not stop taking carbamazepine suddenly, as this may cause serious problems. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to slowly decrease the dose of carbamazepine over time if you need to stop taking it.

What Happens If I Miss A Dose Of Tegretol (Carbamazepine)

If you miss a dose of Tegretol, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed one and go back to your regular dosing schedule.

NOTE: Do not double up on doses or increase your dosage in any other way if you have missed a single dose.

What Should I Avoid While Taking Tegretol (Carbamazepine)?

There are many things you should avoid while taking carbamazepine. Some of the most important include:


Carbamazepine can cause birth defects or other harm to an unborn baby. Do not smoke while taking carbamazepine, especially if you are older than 35 years of age.

  • Your healthcare provider will advise about ways to stop smoking before and during treatment. Talk with your doctor about programs that can help you quit smoking.


Drinking alcohol while taking carbamazepine can increase the chance of serious side effects.

Driving or Operating Heavy Machinery

Carbamazepine may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

What Happens If I Miss A Dose Of Tegretol (Carbamazepine)?

If you forget to take a dose of carbamazepine, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule.

NOTE: Do not take two doses at once.

What Happens If You Overdose With Tegretol (Carbamazepine)?

If you overdose on carbamazepine, seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of an overdose may include:

  • Severe drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations (seeing things that are not there)
  • Trouble speaking clearly; acting confused; feeling restless; having a seizure
  • Coma (losing consciousness)

NOTE: These are not all the possible symptoms of an overdose. If you experience any other symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Important Information I Should Know About Tegretol (Carbamazepine)

Before taking Tegretol, you must discuss all of the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider. Some specific things to keep in mind include:

Carbamazepine can cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy. You must use effective birth control while taking carbamazepine.

If you are taking Carbamazepine to treat seizures that are caused by epilepsy, it may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.

  • You should ask your healthcare provider for advice on this topic.

If you have ever had an allergic reaction to Tegretol or any other medications in its class, then you will need to be careful when taking carbamazepine.

  • Carbamazepine can cause serious skin reactions, so you should be alert for symptoms such as a rash, blistering, peeling, or swelling of the skin.

There is a risk that carbamazepine may increase the chance of suicidal thoughts or behavior.

  • You should be closely monitored if you are taking the medication while also participating in psychotherapy or taking any other medications.

Carbamazepine can cause serious side effects, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN).

  • These conditions may begin with flu-like symptoms that progress to a high fever and the development of blisters on various areas of the body.

NOTE: You should let your healthcare provider know if you have ever had any heart problems, liver disease, or kidney disease before starting carbamazepine.

Specific Concerns About Tegretol (Carbamazepine) And Pregnancy

There are specific concerns that women should be aware of when taking this medication while pregnant, including the following:

  • Tegretol can cause birth defects in children whose mothers take it during pregnancy.
  • There is a risk that Tegretol could cause miscarriage or premature birth.
  • This medicine can pass through breast milk and affect infants.
  • Tegretol can also increase the risk of seizures in pregnant women.

NOTE: This is why doctors will frequently prescribe other medications to pregnant women who need to take Tegretol.

Possible Side Effects Of Tegretol (Carbamazepine)

Some of the possible side effects of carbamazepine include:

Common Side Effects

tegretol side effects

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Changes in mood or behaviors
  • Restlessness or tremors

Rare Side Effects

Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)

It is a rare, life-threatening skin reaction. Symptoms include fever, rash, and blisters on the skin.

Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN)

This is another rare skin reaction. Symptoms include fever, rash, and blisters on the skin that cover a large area of the body.

NOTE: If you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away, make sure to tell your healthcare provider before continuing with this medication.

Risks For Taking Tegretol (Carbamazepine) For Long Periods Of Time

Some of the risks that may increase with long-term use include:

Heart problems

Such as rapid heartbeat or changes in blood pressure. These are more likely to occur when you first start taking carbamazepine, after a dose increase, or if you miss doses.

Liver damage

Decreased bone marrow function can result in decreased blood cell production and an increased risk of infections.


Low white blood cell count (neutropenia) that increases the chance of getting an infection during treatment with Tegretol may occur without warning signs.

  • Your healthcare provider will monitor your blood counts regularly while you are taking Tegretol.

NOTE: The main risk is that this medication can cause serious damage to your liver, so you must have regular blood tests before starting the medication and throughout treatment.

Other Medications That May Interact With Tegretol (Carbamazepine)

Certain medications may interact with carbamazepine when taken together. This could increase or decrease the effectiveness of either medication.

Some medications that may interact with carbamazepine include:

  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Valproate (Depakote)
  • Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • Oxcarbazepine (Tripleptal)
  • Sodium valproate (Epilim)
  • Ethosuximide (Zarontin)
  • Phenobarbbital (Luminal, Solfoton)
  • Primidone (Mysoline)

Effects Of Tegretol (Carbamazepine) On Other Medications

Many other medications can interact with carbamazepine, including the following:

Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

Tegretol may increase blood levels of fluvoxamine and cause increased side effects. Your healthcare provider may need to adjust your dose of fluvoxamine.

Clonazepam (Klonopin)

Tegretol may increase blood levels of clonazepam and cause increased side effects. Your healthcare provider may need to adjust your dose of clonazepam.


Carbamazepine may decrease the blood levels of phenobarbital, leading to decreased effectiveness. Your healthcare provider may need to adjust your dose of phenobarbital.

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Tegretol can increase the effects of warfarin and cause serious bleeding problems. Your healthcare provider may need to adjust your dose of warfarin.

NOTE: Carbamazepine may also interact with over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all the medications and supplements you are taking before starting carbamazepine.

How Long Does It Take Tegretol (Carbamazepine) To Work?

It may take several weeks for carbamazepine to start working. Do not stop taking the medication without talking to your healthcare provider.


Tegretol is a medication used to treat epileptic seizures and some types of nerve pain. Patients need to take the prescribed dose, as it can be toxic if too much is taken at once or over time.

Call your doctor if you have any questions about the dosage instructions, side effects, or how this drug might interact with other medications you are taking. We hope our blog post on Tegretol has been helpful!

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