Carbamazepine can cause dizziness, which may be a risk when driving a car. It can, but very seldom, cause a kind of blood illness. It should not be taken together with alcohol and can reduce the effect of certain kinds of birth control pills.
Written by: Petros Skapinakis, MD, MPH, PhD, lecturer of Psychiatry in the University of Ioannina Medical School, Greece.
Eva Gerasi, postgraduate student in the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece.
First version: 22 Jul 2008. Latest revision: 21 Sep 2008.
What is the most important information I should know about carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Tegretol, Trimonil, Hermolepsin)?
Rarely, carbamazepine may cause serious blood problems. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms, which may be early signs of potential blood problems: fever, sore throat, rash, sores in the mouth, easy bruising, or red or purple bruising.
Do not stop taking carbamazepine even if you feel better. It is important to continue taking carbamazepine to prevent seizures from recurring.
Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Carbamazepine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities.
Do not drink alcohol while taking carbamazepine. Alcohol may increase drowsiness caused by carbamazepine. It may also increase the risk of seizures.
Carbamazepine may decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. Use a second method of birth control while taking carbamazepine to ensure protection from unintended pregnancy.