CARBAMAZEPINE (Page 4 of 8)
Before initiating therapy, a detailed history and physical examination should be made.
Carbamazepine should be used with caution in patients with a mixed seizure disorder that includes atypical absence seizures, since in these patients carbamazepine has been associated with increased frequency of generalized convulsions (see INDICATIONS AND USAGE).
Therapy should be prescribed only after critical benefit-to-risk appraisal in patients with a history of cardiac conduction disturbance, including second- and third-degree AV heart block; cardiac, hepatic, or renal damage; adverse hematologic or hypersensitivity reaction to other drugs, including reactions to other anticonvulsants; or interrupted courses of therapy with carbamazepine.
AV heart block, including second- and third-degree block, have been reported following carbamazepine treatment. This occurred generally, but not solely, in patients with underlying EKG abnormalities or risk factors for conduction disturbances.
Hepatic effects, ranging from slight elevations in liver enzymes to rare cases of hepatic failure have been reported (see ADVERSE REACTIONS and PRECAUTIONS, Laboratory Tests). In some cases, hepatic effects may progress despite discontinuation of the drug. In addition rare instances of vanishing bile duct syndrome have been reported. This syndrome consists of a cholestatic process with a variable clinical course ranging from fulminant to indolent, involving the destruction and disappearance of the intrahepatic bile ducts. Some, but not all, cases are associated with features that overlap with other immunoallergenic syndromes such as multiorgan hypersensitivity (DRESS syndrome) and serious dermatologic reactions. As an example there has been a report of vanishing bile duct syndrome associated with Stevens-Johnson syndrome and in another case an association with fever and eosinophilia.
Since a given dose of carbamazepine suspension will produce higher peak levels than the same dose given as the tablet, it is recommended that patients given the suspension be started on lower doses and increased slowly to avoid unwanted side effects (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Information for Patients
Patients should be informed of the availability of a Medication Guide and they should be instructed to read the Medication Guide before taking carbamazepine tablets, USP.
Patients should be made aware of the early toxic signs and symptoms of a potential hematologic problem, as well as dermatologic, hypersensitivity or hepatic reactions. These symptoms may include, but are not limited to, fever, sore throat, rash, ulcers in the mouth, easy bruising, lymphadenopathy and petechial or purpuric hemorrhage, and in the case of liver reactions, anorexia, nausea/vomiting, or jaundice. The patient should be advised that, because these signs and symptoms may signal a serious reaction, that they must report any occurrence immediately to a physician. In addition, the patient should be advised that these signs and symptoms should be reported even if mild or when occurring after extended use.
Patients should be advised that serious skin reactions have been reported in association with carbamazepine. In the event a skin reaction should occur while taking carbamazepine, patients should consult with their physician immediately (see WARNINGS).
Patients should be advised that anaphylactic reactions and angioedema may occur during treatment with carbamazepine (see WARNINGS). Advise patients to immediately report signs and symptoms suggesting angioedema (swelling of the face, eyes, lips, or tongue, or difficulty in swallowing or breathing) and to stop taking the drug until they have consulted with their healthcare provider.
Patients, their caregivers, and families should be counseled that AEDs, including carbamazepine, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior and should be advised of the need to be alert for the emergence or worsening of symptoms of depression, any unusual changes in mood or behavior, or the emergence of suicidal thoughts, behavior, or thoughts about self-harm. Behaviors of concern should be reported immediately to healthcare providers.
Carbamazepine may interact with some drugs. Therefore, patients should be advised to report to their doctors the use of any other prescription or nonprescription medications or herbal products.
Caution should be exercised if alcohol is taken in combination with carbamazepine therapy, due to a possible additive sedative effect.
Since dizziness and drowsiness may occur, patients should be cautioned about the hazards of operating machinery or automobiles or engaging in other potentially dangerous tasks.
Patients should be encouraged to enroll in the NAAED Pregnancy Registry if they become pregnant. This registry is collecting information about the safety of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy. To enroll, patients can call the toll free number 1-888-233-2334 (see WARNINGS, Usage in Pregnancy subsection).
For genetically at-risk patients (see WARNINGS), high-resolution ‘ HLA -B*1502 typing ’ is recommended. The test is positive if either one or two HLA-B*1502 alleles are detected and negative if no HLA-B*1502 alleles are detected.
Complete pretreatment blood counts, including platelets and possibly reticulocytes and serum iron, should be obtained as a baseline. If a patient in the course of treatment exhibits low or decreased white blood cell or platelet counts, the patient should be monitored closely. Discontinuation of the drug should be considered if any evidence of significant bone marrow depression develops.
Baseline and periodic evaluations of liver function, particularly in patients with a history of liver disease, must be performed during treatment with this drug since liver damage may occur (see PRECAUTIONS, General and ADVERSE REACTIONS). Carbamazepine should be discontinued, based on clinical judgment, if indicated by newly occurring or worsening clinical or laboratory evidence of liver dysfunction or hepatic damage, or in the case of active liver disease.
Baseline and periodic eye examinations, including slit-lamp, funduscopy, and tonometry, are recommended since many phenothiazines and related drugs have been shown to cause eye changes.
Baseline and periodic complete urinalysis and BUN determinations are recommended for patients treated with this agent because of observed renal dysfunction.
Monitoring of blood levels (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY) has increased the efficacy and safety of anticonvulsants. This monitoring may be particularly useful in cases of dramatic increase in seizure frequency and for verification of compliance. In addition, measurement of drug serum levels may aid in determining the cause of toxicity when more than one medication is being used.
Thyroid function tests have been reported to show decreased values with carbamazepine administered alone.
Interference with some pregnancy tests has been reported.
There has been a report of a patient who passed an orange rubbery precipitate in his stool the day after ingesting carbamazepine suspension immediately followed by Thorazine ® * solution. Subsequent testing has shown that mixing carbamazepine suspension and chlorpromazine solution (both generic and brand name) as well as carbamazepine suspension and liquid Mellaril ® , resulted in the occurrence of this precipitate. Because the extent to which this occurs with other liquid medications is not known, carbamazepine suspension should not be administered simultaneously with other liquid medicinal agents or diluents (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Clinically meaningful drug interactions have occurred with concomitant medications and include (but are not limited to) the following:
All MedLibrary.org resources are included in as near-original form as possible, meaning that the information from the original provider has been rendered here with only typographical or stylistic modifications and not with any substantive alterations of content, meaning or intent.