Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Allergic reactions: About 25% to 30% of people who are allergic to the epilepsy medication carbamazepine will also be allergic to oxcarbazepine. If you have had an allergic reaction to carbamazepine, talk to your doctor before taking oxcarbazepine.
Birth control: Oxcarbazepine, like other anticonvulsants, may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Women taking oxcarbazepine should use an alternative, non-hormonal birth control method such as condoms. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Blood counts: This medication can decrease the number of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell that helps fight infection), red blood cells (which carry oxygen), and platelets (which help your blood to clot). Your doctor will do blood tests to monitor this. If you notice any signs of infection (e.g., fever, chills, or sore throat) or unusual bleeding or bruising, contact your doctor immediately.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Oxcarbazepine may affect the mental or physical abilities needed to drive or operate machinery. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous tasks until you have determined how this medication affects you.
Heart conditions: The safety of using this medication if you have a heart condition has not been determined. If you have a heart condition, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Hypersensitivity syndrome: A severe allergic reaction called hypersensitivity syndrome has occurred for some people with the use of oxcarbazepine. This reaction involves a number of organs in the body and may be fatal if not treated quickly. Stop taking the medication and get immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, including fever, swollen glands, yellowing of the skin or eyes, or flu-like symptoms with skin rash or blistering.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Rarely, oxcarbazepine has been reported to cause inflammation of the liver and liver failure which has in cases, caused death. This medication may also cause a decrease in liver function. If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Low sodium: Oxcarbazepine may cause low sodium levels. Get immediate medical attention if you notice the symptoms of very low sodium, such as nausea, headache, weakness, sluggishness, confusion, or a general feeling of being unwell.
Osteoporosis: Long term use of medications to treat seizures may cause weakened or brittle bones. Discuss with your doctor whether any special monitoring or supplements are needed.
Severe skin reactions: Oxcarbazepine can cause serious skin reactions. If you have symptoms of a serious skin reaction, such as blistering or peeling of the skin, stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention.
Stopping medication: If this medication is stopped abruptly, the risk of seizures may increase. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how this medication should be safely stopped.
Suicidal thoughts and behaviour: Some people taking anti-seizure medications may have suicidal thoughts or behaviour. If this happens to you or you notice this in a family member who is taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. You should be closely monitored by your doctor for emotional and behaviour changes while taking this medication.
Thyroid problems: Some people taking this medication develop changes in the function of their thyroid. Symptoms of these changes include feeling cold all the time, fatigue, weight loss, without a change in your diet or amount of exercise you get, or feeling emotional. Contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. Oxcarbazepine can also contribute to folic acid deficiency. Talk to your doctor about folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking oxcarbazepine, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children less than 6 years of age.
Seniors: Seniors may require lower doses of this medication. Do not change the way you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.