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Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Anticonvulsant Tegretol®, Apo-Carbamazepine®, Neurotop® Children, Adult

Carbamazepine - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Carbamazepine cause?

​Carbamazepine may cause some unwanted side effects. Generally, the common side effects tend to occur at the beginning of treatment. Such side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness and headache
  • Be careful when using or giving any over-the-counter medicines to your child. Medicines for allergy or cold symptoms can add on to the drowsiness. Be sure to supervise your child when he/she is involved in activities such as cycling or swimming
  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain (take carbamazepine with meals to reduce these problems), loss of appetite, increased thirst, diarrhea or constipation
  • Unusual behavioral changes such as confusion and agitation
  • Back pain, muscle pain and weakness

Inform your doctor if any of the above side effects lasts more than a few days or become severe and bothersome.

If you/your child experiences excessive drowsiness and vomiting, doubled vision and unstable movement, please consult the neurologist as he/she may be too sensitive to carbamazepine, and the doctor may need to adjust the dose.

Rare but serious side effects may manifest as the following symptoms. Contact your doctor as soon as possible, if you notice any of the following:

  • Prolonged fever, sore throat and mouth sores/ulcers
  • Easy bruising, rapid deteriorating illness
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)

Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) is a life-threatening skin reaction that is characterized by skin rash*, multiple mouth ulcers, blistering rash*, fever, itching and other symptoms.
SJS usually occurs within the first few months (monitor closely for the first 3 months) of treatment. Patients who have been taking carbamazepine for more than 3 months without developing skin reactions are at low risk of SJS.

*As SJS is rapidly progressing, caregivers should consult hospital healthcare professionals if patient shows first sign of rash.

It is important to note that certain groups of patients are at a higher risk of SJS after using carbamazepine. In accordance to the Health Science Authority (HSA) regulation, it is therefore compulsory for all patients who are first prescribed with carbamazepine to be tested for the specific gene. Kindly approach your neurologists or pharmacists for further information on this.

Before taking Carbamazepine, what precautions must I follow?

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Carbamazepine?

​Antibiotics such as erythromycin, clarithromycin, azithromycin should not be taken with carbamazepine.

Grapefruit or grapefruit products should also be avoided while taking carbamazepine.

  • Updated on Saturday, October 7, 2017
  • Article contributed by Pharmacy Department KK Women's and Children's Hospital

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth


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