NURSING MOTHERS: If possible, carbamazepine should not be used in pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
SIDE EFFECTS: Serious side effects include dangerously low red and white blood cell counts. Severe skin reactions can occur as well as serious liver abnormalities, such as hepatitis, resulting in jaundice. Low sodium levels and thyroid abnormalities have been described. Minor more common side effects include dizziness, unsteadiness, nausea, and vomiting.
Rarely, patients with Asian ancestry may develop severe skin reactions to carbamazepine (Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis). These patients can be identified by genetic testing, and such testing is recommended for all patients who are Asian before starting therapy.
Antiepileptic medications have been associated with an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior. Anyone considering the use of antiepileptic drugs must balance this risk of suicide with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts, or unusual changes in behavior.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
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