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Side Effects of Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol, Epitol)


Description: Tegretol is a prescription that contains carbamazepine, an antiepileptic medicine. It is used to treat some types of seizures (partial, tonic-clonic, mixed) and certain types of nerve pain (glossopharyngeal neuralgia and trigeminal neuralgia). It is also used off-label as a treatment for bipolar disorder.

Serious Side Effects of Tegretol

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome are the most dangerous of the side effects. Other serious adverse drug reactions include: aplastic anemia and agranulocytosis, suicide behavior and ideation.
Source: Tegretol label as reported by the US Food and Drug Administration (Feb 2009).

Common Side Effects of Tegretol

The most common adverse reactions to Tegretol, according to the Tegretol label include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Problems with walking and coordination (unsteadiness)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Less Common Side Effects of Tegretol

  • Edema
  • Aggravation of hypertension
  • Hypotension
  • Syncope
  • Aggravation of coronary artery disease
  • Pulmonary hypersensitivity
  • Source: Tegretol label as reported by the FDA (Feb 2009).

    Understand Your Risks with the Rxight® Genetic Test

    Rxight® genetic testing can be used to optimize carbamazepine therapy by determining if you metabolize Tegretol slowly and thus are at risk for the aforementioned side effects. With Rxight® you and your providers can determine the safe dose for you and consider alternatives before you even initiate Tegretol treatment.

    How Does Pharmacogenetic Testing Work?

    Pharmacogenetic testing is the study of how gene variants affect the processing of pharmaceutical agents in the body. For example, “slow metabolizers” do not process the medication at a normal rate in the liver, and thus, are at risk for adverse reactions while “fast metabolizers” may not receive therapeutic benefit at all on standard doses due to quick bodily breakdown of the drug. Both metabolic types presents problems to the prescribers. With the testing results, you and your prescriber can determine the safest dose and find out what kind of medication works best for you.

    Contributors to this Article: Michael Sapko, MD, Phd and Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

    Read more about Rxight® Pharmacogenetics