Oxcarbazepine (Page 2 of 10)

2.7 Dosage Modification for Patients with Renal Impairment

In patients with impaired renal function (creatinine clearance <30 mL/min) initiate oxcarbazepine at one-half the usual starting dose (300 mg/day, given twice-a-day) and increase slowly to achieve the desired clinical response [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

2.8 Administration Information

Oxcarbazepine can be taken with or without food [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Before using oxcarbazepine oral suspension, shake the bottle well and prepare the dose immediately afterwards. The prescribed amount of oral suspension should be withdrawn from the bottle using the oral dosing syringe supplied. Oxcarbazepine oral suspension can be mixed in a small glass of water just prior to administration or, alternatively, may be swallowed directly from the syringe. After each use, close the bottle and rinse the syringe with warm water and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Oxcarbazepine oral suspension and oxcarbazepine film-coated tablets may be interchanged at equal doses.


Oxcarbazepine Oral Suspension, USP

300 mg/5 mL (60 mg/mL): off-white to slightly brown or red suspension.


Oxcarbazepine is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to oxcarbazepine or to any of its components, or to eslicarbazepine acetate [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2, 5.3)].


5.1 Hyponatremia

Clinically significant hyponatremia (sodium <125 mmol/L) can develop during oxcarbazepine use. In the 14 controlled epilepsy studies 2.5% of oxcarbazepine-treated patients (38/1,524) had a sodium of less than 125 mmol/L at some point during treatment, compared to no such patients assigned placebo or active control (carbamazepine and phenobarbital for adjunctive and monotherapy substitution studies, and phenytoin and valproate for the monotherapy initiation studies). Clinically significant hyponatremia generally occurred during the first 3 months of treatment with oxcarbazepine, although there were patients who first developed a serum sodium <125 mmol/L more than 1 year after initiation of therapy. Most patients who developed hyponatremia were asymptomatic but patients in the clinical trials were frequently monitored and some had their oxcarbazepine dose reduced, discontinued, or had their fluid intake restricted for hyponatremia. Whether or not these maneuvers prevented the occurrence of more severe events is unknown. Cases of symptomatic hyponatremia and syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH) have been reported during post-marketing use. In clinical trials, patients whose treatment with oxcarbazepine was discontinued due to hyponatremia generally experienced normalization of serum sodium within a few days without additional treatment.

Measurement of serum sodium levels should be considered for patients during maintenance treatment with oxcarbazepine, particularly if the patient is receiving other medications known to decrease serum sodium levels (e.g., drugs associated with inappropriate ADH secretion) or if symptoms possibly indicating hyponatremia develop (e.g., nausea, malaise, headache, lethargy, confusion, obtundation, or increase in seizure frequency or severity).

5.2 Anaphylactic Reactions and Angioedema

Rare cases of anaphylaxis and angioedema involving the larynx, glottis, lips and eyelids have been reported in patients after taking the first or subsequent doses of oxcarbazepine. Angioedema associated with laryngeal edema can be fatal. If a patient develops any of these reactions after treatment with oxcarbazepine, the drug should be discontinued and an alternative treatment started. These patients should not be rechallenged with the drug [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

5.3 Cross Hypersensitivity Reaction to Carbamazepine

Approximately 25% to 30% of patients who have had hypersensitivity reactions to carbamazepine will experience hypersensitivity reactions with oxcarbazepine. For this reason patients should be specifically questioned about any prior experience with carbamazepine, and patients with a history of hypersensitivity reactions to carbamazepine should ordinarily be treated with oxcarbazepine only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk. If signs or symptoms of hypersensitivity develop, oxcarbazepine should be discontinued immediately [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2, 5.8)].

5.4 Serious Dermatological Reactions

Serious dermatological reactions, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), have been reported in both children and adults in association with oxcarbazepine use. Such serious skin reactions may be life threatening, and some patients have required hospitalization with very rare reports of fatal outcome. The median time of onset for reported cases was 19 days after treatment initiation. Recurrence of the serious skin reactions following rechallenge with oxcarbazepine has also been reported.

The reporting rate of TEN and SJS associated with oxcarbazepine use, which is generally accepted to be an underestimate due to underreporting, exceeds the background incidence rate estimates by a factor of 3- to 10-fold. Estimates of the background incidence rate for these serious skin reactions in the general population range between 0.5 to 6 cases per million-person years. Therefore, if a patient develops a skin reaction while taking oxcarbazepine, consideration should be given to discontinuing oxcarbazepine use and prescribing another antiepileptic medication.

Association with HLA-B*1502

Patients carrying the HLA-B*1502 allele may be at increased risk for SJS/TEN with oxcarbazepine treatment.

Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) allele B*1502 increases the risk for developing SJS/TEN in patients treated with carbamazepine. The chemical structure of oxcarbazepine is similar to that of carbamazepine. Available clinical evidence, and data from nonclinical studies showing a direct interaction between oxcarbazepine and HLA-B*1502 protein, suggest that the HLA-B*1502 allele may also increase the risk for SJS/TEN with oxcarbazepine.

The frequency of HLA-B*1502 allele ranges from 2 to 12% in Han Chinese populations, is about 8% in Thai populations, and above 15% in the Philippines and in some Malaysian populations. Allele frequencies up to about 2% and 6% have been reported in Korea and India, respectively. The frequency of the HLA-B*1502 allele is negligible in people from European descent, several African populations, indigenous peoples of the Americas, Hispanic populations, and in Japanese (<1%).

Testing for the presence of the HLA-B*1502 allele should be considered in patients with ancestry in genetically at-risk populations, prior to initiating treatment with oxcarbazepine. The use of oxcarbazepine should be avoided in patients positive for HLA-B*1502 unless the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. Consideration should also be given to avoid the use of other drugs associated with SJS/TEN in HLA-B*1502 positive patients, when alternative therapies are otherwise equally acceptable. Screening is not generally recommended in patients from populations in which the prevalence of HLA‑B*1502 is low, or in current oxcarbazepine users, as the risk of SJS/TEN is largely confined to the first few months of therapy, regardless of HLA B*1502 status.

The use of HLA-B*1502 genotyping has important limitations and must never substitute for appropriate clinical vigilance and patient management. The role of other possible factors in the development of, and morbidity from, SJS/TEN, such as antiepileptic drug (AED) dose, compliance, concomitant medications, comorbidities, and the level of dermatologic monitoring have not been well characterized.

5.5 Suicidal Behavior and Ideation

Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including oxcarbazepine, increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in patients taking these drugs for any indication. Patients treated with any AED for any indication should be monitored for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and/or any unusual changes in mood or behavior.

Pooled analyses of 199 placebo-controlled clinical trials (mono- and adjunctive therapy) of 11 different AEDs showed that patients randomized to one of the AEDs had approximately twice the risk (adjusted Relative Risk 1.8, 95% CI:1.2, 2.7) of suicidal thinking or behavior compared to patients randomized to placebo. In these trials, which had a median treatment duration of 12 weeks, the estimated incidence rate of suicidal behavior or ideation among 27,863 AED-treated patients was 0.43%, compared to 0.24% among 16,029 placebo-treated patients, representing an increase of approximately one case of suicidal thinking or behavior for every 530 patients treated. There were 4 suicides in drug-treated patients in the trials and none in placebo-treated patients, but the number is too small to allow any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.

The increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior with AEDs was observed as early as one week after starting drug treatment with AEDs and persisted for the duration of treatment assessed. Because most trials included in the analysis did not extend beyond 24 weeks, the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior beyond 24 weeks could not be assessed.

The risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior was generally consistent among drugs in the data analyzed. The finding of increased risk with AEDs of varying mechanisms of action and across a range of indications suggests that the risk applies to all AEDs used for any indication. The risk did not vary substantially by age (5 to 100 years) in the clinical trials analyzed. Table 2 shows absolute and relative risk by indication for all evaluated AEDs.

Table 2: Risk by Indication for Antiepileptic Drugs in the Pooled Analysis


Placebo Patients with Events Per 1,000 Patients

Drug Patients with Events Per 1,000 Patients

Relative Risk: Incidence of Events in Drug Patients/Incidence in Placebo Patients

Risk Difference: Additional Drug Patients with Events Per 1,000 Patients





















The relative risk for suicidal thoughts or behavior was higher in clinical trials for epilepsy than in clinical trials for psychiatric or other conditions, but the absolute risk differences were similar for the epilepsy and psychiatric indications.

Anyone considering prescribing oxcarbazepine or any other AED must balance the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior with the risk of untreated illness. Epilepsy and many other illnesses for which AEDs are prescribed are themselves associated with morbidity and mortality and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Should suicidal thoughts and behavior emerge during treatment, the prescriber needs to consider whether the emergence of these symptoms in any given patient may be related to the illness being treated.

Patients, their caregivers, and families should be informed that AEDs increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior and should be advised of the need to be alert for the emergence or worsening of the signs and 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.

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