carbamazepine, Tegretol, Tegretol XR , Equetro, Carbatrol, Epitol, Teril

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: carbamazepine

BRAND NAME: Tegretol, Tegretol XR , Equetro, Carbatrol, Epitol, Teril

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Carbamazepine is an anti-seizure medication. Recurrent seizures (epilepsy) are divided into two main categories according to how much of the brain is involved, either partial or generalized epilepsy (which includes petit mal, grand mal, and myoclonic epilepsy). Seizures are called "simple" if there is no loss of consciousness and "complex" if there is. Medicines that inhibit seizures are called anti-convulsants. Carbamazepine works as an anti-convulsant for partial and grand mal seizures by reducing or blocking certain responses by nerves in the brain. It also is used for treating trigeminal neuralgia. One dosage form, Equetro, has been approved for treating bipolar disorder. The FDA approved carbamazepine in March 1968.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 200 mg. Chewable tablets; 100 mg. Extended release tablets; 100, 200 and 400 mg. Suspension; 100 mg/5 ml. Equetro is available in 100, 200 and 300 mg extended release tablets

STORAGE: Carbamazepine should be stored in a tight, light resistant container at room temperature.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Carbamazepine is used in the treatment of simple and complex partial seizures and in generalized seizures of the grand mal type. It is not used to treat petit mal seizures. Carbamazepine also is used to treat a painful nerve condition of the face called trigeminal neuralgia. Equetro is used to treat bipolar disorder.

DOSING: Carbamazepine may be taken with or without food. Carbamazepine is excreted by the kidney and eliminated by the liver, and dosages may need to be lowered in patients with liver or kidney dysfunction.  Blood levels of carbamazepine are used for adjusting dosing. The dose for seizures is 800 to 1600 mg daily in divided doses. Trigeminal neuralgia is treated with 400-1200 mg daily in divided doses. The dose for treating bipolar disorder using Equetro is begun at 200 mg every 12 hours initially, and then increased by 200 mg a day up to a maximum dose of 1600 mg per day.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/31/2014

Quick GuideEpilepsy: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Epilepsy: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
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