Oxcarbazepine (Oral)

By working inside of the brain, Oxcarbazepine can be taken by patients suffering from epilepsy in order to control their seizures.

Overview

The drug, Oxcarbazepine is used on its own, or with other drugs, to help treat epilepsy in order to control partial seizures. It does so by working inside of the brain. Be aware that Oxcarbazepine does not cure epilepsy, but instead, can help control seizures for the duration that you keep taking it.

You can only obtain this drug through a doctor's prescription.It has a very specific set of uses and is only suitable for certain patients. You will need to be properly informed on how to take it and how to avoid unwanted interactions.

Condition(s) treated

  • Partial seizures due to epilepsy

Type of medicine

  • Tablet

Side effects

As well as helping to prevent partial seizures, it is possible that this drug will cause patients to experience other unwanted side effects. Some patients may suffer from no side effects, whereas others may be affected by a few. Directly below is a list of the more serious side effects that may occur. If you experience any of the following, you should contact your doctor immediately.

More common

  • False sense of well-being

Less common

  • Bruising

Rare

  • Swollen glands

Instead of these more serious side effects, it is entirely possible you could experience much less severe ones that don't require medical attention.Below is a list of such side effects. If you do experience any of these, then you may find that they simply pass over time as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, if you find them lingering or bothersome, then you may still contact a doctor. They may be able to advise on ways to make them less intrusive in your day-to-day life.

More common

  • Vomiting and nausea

Less common

  • Trouble sleeping

You may experience side effects that have not been listed here. If that is the case, you can discuss them with your doctor.

Dosage

Below you can find the typical doses of Oxcarbazepine that are prescribed to patients in order to prevent seizures. Be aware that the exact prescription given to you by your doctor may differ from what is listed below. This is because the needs of every patient are different, and your doses would be based on a number of factors. This includes things like the severity of your condition and other drugs you are currently taking. You should never alter your doses unless told to do so by your doctor. If you have any questions about your dosing and would like to discuss this in more detail, you should contact your doctor.

For patients taking extended-release tablets:

If you are taking Oxcarbazepine with other medicines:

  • Adults. To start, take 600 mg once per day. Your doctor may then adjust your doses if necessary. Although, the total daily dose is not usually more than 2400mg.

For patients taking suspension and tablets:

If you are taking Oxcarbazepine with other medicines:

  • Adults and teenagers aged 17 and older. To start, take 300 mg twice per day. Your doctor may then adjust your doses if necessary. Although, the total daily dose is not usually more than 1200mg.

If you are switching to Oxcarbazepine from another medicine:

  • Adults and teenagers aged 17 and older. To start, take 300 mg twice per day. Your doctor may then adjust your doses if necessary. Although, the total daily dose is not usually more than 2400mg.

If you are not taking any seizure medicines:

  • Adults and teenagers aged 17 and older. To start, take 300 mg twice per day. Your doctor may then adjust your doses if necessary. Although, the total daily dose is not usually more than 1200mg.

You should try not to miss any scheduled doses of this medicine, as doing so will change the effectiveness of your treatment. If you do miss a dose, you should take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, you should skip the missed one. This is because it is important you do not double dose.

You should take Oxcarbazepine exactly as your doctor instructs you to. You should not take it more frequently or take any more of it. Similarly, do not take it for longer than told to do so. This could increase your chances of experience side effects.

Upon receiving this medicine, you will find a Medication Guide. You should read this carefully and address any questions you have to your doctor.

You can take the regular tablet or oral liquid either with or without food. However, you should take the extended-release tablet on a completely empty stomach.You should do so at least 1 to 2 hours prior to eating a meal.

You should swallow the extended-release capsule whole, and should not chew, break, or crush it.

If you are taking the oral liquid form of Oxcarbazepine you should follow these instructions:

  • Before measuring a dose, shake the bottle well.

You should not suddenly stop taking this medicine at any time. Instead, speak to your doctor beforehand as they may when to slowly decrease the amount you take before stopping completely.

Interactions

It is possible that Oxcarbazepine will interact with other drugs you are currently taking. In order to avoid unwanted interactions, you should inform your doctor of all other drugs you currently take. This includes both prescription and nonprescription drugs. In many cases, it is best to avoid an interaction wherever possible. In other cases, your doctor may deem it necessary for an interaction to occur, but that may take steps to limit it. Directly below is a list of drugs that it is recommended you do not take at the same time as Oxcarbazepine. Your doctor may wish to change either one or both of the interacting drugs.

  • Rilpivirine

Directly below is a list of drugs with which it is usually not recommended you take at the same time as Oxcarbazepine. However, it may be necessary for your treatment that you take both. Under such circumstances, your doctor may alter the doses you receive of either one or both medicines.

  • Elvitegravir

If you take any of the following medicines at the same time as Oxcarbazepine, you may be at greater risk of experiencing certain side effects. However, it may be in your best interest to take both drugs. If this is the case, then your doctor will likely take steps to minimize the interaction, possibly by altering the doses of both medicines.

  • Lamotrigine

As well as interacting with drugs, it is possible that Oxcarbazepine will interact with other parts of your dietary intake. They may, therefore, advise you to make changes to certain things you eat, smoke, or drink.

Finally, it is possible that Oxcarbazepine will interact with other medical problems you suffer from. You should give your doctor your full medical history. In particular, the following are known to interact with this medicine.

  • Kidney disease. Use this drug with caution as its effects may be increased due to slower removal of the medicine from your body

Warnings

Before prescribing you with this medicine, your doctor will want to ensure you are indeed suitable to have it. As a part of this process, they will need to be made aware of any allergies you suffer from. This includes any allergies to foods, dyes, animals, or preservatives.

As of writing, the appropriate studies that have been conducted on pediatric patients have not identified any problems that would make the suspension and tablet form of this drug any less useful in children aged 2 and above.

The appropriate studies that have been conducted on pediatric patients have not identified any problems that would make the extended-release tablet form of this drug any less useful in children aged 6 and above. However, it is not recommended that children younger than 6 take this medicine.

The studies that have taken place in older patients have not highlighted any geriatric-specific problems that would make this drug less useful for elderly patients. However, be aware that older patients are more likely to suffer from age-related kidney problems. This could mean an adjustment in the amount of medicine taken is necessary.

As of writing, it is unclear as to whether suitable studies have taken place in pregnant women using this medicine. It is possible that it could have an adverse effect either on the mother or child. If you are pregnant or become pregnant whilst taking this drug, you should inform your doctor. They can advise you of any increased risks, and together you can weigh them against the benefits of using thymidine.

There are currently no adequate studies that have taken place on breastfeeding women using this medicine. If there is an increased risk to you or the infant, then your doctor is best placed to advise you of this. You can then weigh any risks against the benefits this drug offers.

Your doctor will schedule regular appointments to see you and track your condition. It is important that you attend all of these as your doctor can check for unwanted effects and make necessary adjustments to your prescription. They can also make sure the drug is working properly and have the intended effect. Blood tests may be necessary during these appointments.

If, whilst taking Oxcarbazepine, you become pregnant, you should inform your doctor immediately. Your doctor may want to monitor you more closely both during pregnancy and after the birth.

Whilst taking this medicine, you may experience hyponatremia, which is where you have low sodium levels in your blood. If you experience any of the following symptoms whilst taking this medicine, inform your doctor right away.

  • Weakness

Oxcarbazepine may cause you to have a severe allergic reaction, such as angioedema or anaphylaxis. This is life-threatening so requires you to get emergency medical assistance. If you suffer any of the following symptoms whilst taking this medicine, inform your doctor straight away.

  • Trouble swallowing

Whilst taking this medicine, you may have a serious allergic reaction that affects multiple parts of your body (such as muscles, kidneys, liver, or joints). If you suffer two or more of the following symptoms, inform your doctor immediately.

  • Unusual tiredness

You may also have a serious skin reaction while taking this medicine. If you suffer any of the following, then tell your doctor right away.

If, whilst taking Oxcarbazepine, you start experiencing any strange behaviors or thoughts, you should discuss this with your doctor. Other side effects like these may include the following:

  • Unusual irritability, excitement, or nervousness

Taking this medicine may cause some patients to become clumsy, drowsy, unsteady, dizzy, lightheaded, or less alert than usual. You should therefore not drive or do any other dangerous tasks until you fully know how this medicine affects you.

You may find that this medicine lowers your blood's white blood cell count. This increases the chances you have of getting an infection.You should, therefore, try and avoid anybody who has an infection. If you do get chills, a fever, lower side or back pain, difficult or painful urination, or harshness or a cough, then you should tell your doctor.

Do not take any other drugs at the same time as this one, unless they have first been approved by your doctor. This medicine can also increase the effects of CNS depressant and alcohol in your system. Examples of CNS depressants include the following.

  • Other medicines for seizures

Whilst you take Oxcarbazepine, you may find that the following contraceptives no longer work as well:

  • Contraceptive progestin injections (such as Depo-Provera┬«)

This means that unplanned pregnancies are possible. You should, therefore, use additional forms of contraception whilst you take this medicine. If you need advice about this or would like to discuss it further you can talk to your doctor.

Storage

You should store this medicine in a sealed container, and keep it at room temperature. It should never be allowed to freeze and should be away from direct light, moisture, and heat. Also, keep it safely away from children. Once you finish using this medicine, you should dispose of any that are remaining in a safe and sensible manner. The same goes for any medicines that are out of date, and your doctor or pharmacist can advise on safe and sensible means of disposal.

You should store the liquid in the original container it comes in. After opening, use it within 7 weeks. You should then discard any unused liquid.

Summary

If you suffer from epilepsy, then Oxcarbazepine can be a very useful drug in helping to prevent seizures. This can be very good for your long-term health and your quality of life. However, for full benefit from this drug, you should only use it as much as directed by your doctor. Using it too much or too frequently can cause a range of unwanted side effects. Similarly, this drug is not suitable for certain patients as it may interact with other drugs or existing medical problems. Your doctor is best placed to advise on who this drug is best suited for.

Above, you can find full details of any side effects that may occur. If you experience any of the more severe ones, you should contact your doctor immediately for advice. Your doctor will likely schedule regular appointments so they can track your condition. They can use these meetings to check for unwanted effects and make any necessary alterations to your prescriptions or offer any other lifestyle guidance. If you have any other questions about your condition or the use of Oxcarbazepine, you should consult with your medical professional.