Skip to Content

oxcarbazepine

Pronunciation

Generic Name: oxcarbazepine (ox kar BAY zeh peen)
Brand Name: Oxtellar XR, Trileptal

What is oxcarbazepine?

Oxcarbazepine is an anticonvulsant, or antiepileptic drug. It works by decreasing nerve impulses that cause seizures.

Oxcarbazepine is used either alone or with other medicines to treat partial seizures.

The Trileptal brand of oxcarbazepine is used as a single medicine in adults and children who are at least 4 years old. Trileptal is used with other medicines in adults and children who are at least 2 years old.

The Oxtellar XR brand of oxcarbazepine is used with other medicines in adults and children who are at least 6 years old.

Oxcarbazepine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about oxcarbazepine?

Oxcarbazepine can reduce the sodium in your body to dangerously low levels, which can cause a life-threatening electrolyte imbalance. Call your doctor right away if you have headache, problems with thinking or memory, weakness, loss of appetite, feeling unsteady, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, shallow breathing, and/or increased or more severe seizures.

Slideshow: 12 Things You Should Know About Xanax

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking oxcarbazepine?

You should not take this medicine if you are allergic to oxcarbazepine.

To make sure oxcarbazepine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease;

  • depression, or a mood disorder;

  • a history of suicidal thoughts or actions;

  • if you are allergic to carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol).

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using oxcarbazepine. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

FDA pregnancy category C. Do not start or stop taking oxcarbazepine during pregnancy without your doctor's advice. Having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both mother and baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking oxcarbazepine for seizures.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of oxcarbazepine on the baby.

Oxcarbazepine can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using non hormonal birth control (condom, diaphragm with spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking oxcarbazepine.

Oxcarbazepine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are taking oxcarbazepine.

Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice. There are specific age restrictions for the use of oxcarbazepine in children, depending on the dose form and whether it is used alone or with other medicines.

How should I take oxcarbazepine?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Give the liquid directly from the oral syringe, or mix the medicine with a small glass of water. After using the syringe, rinse it with water and allow it to air dry.

You may take the oxcarbazepine oral liquid or regular tablet with or without food.

Take the oxcarbazepine extended-release tablet (Oxtellar XR) on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.

Do not stop using oxcarbazepine suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

While using oxcarbazepine, you may need frequent blood tests.

Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take oxcarbazepine. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you are using oxcarbazepine.

Seizures are often treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Throw away any unused liquid 7 weeks after opening the bottle.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking oxcarbazepine?

Do not drink alcohol. Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of oxcarbazepine. Alcohol may also increase the risk of seizures.

Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.

Oxcarbazepine may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Oxcarbazepine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Oxcarbazepine can reduce the sodium in your body to dangerously low levels, which can cause a life-threatening electrolyte imbalance. Call your doctor right away if you have headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, loss of appetite, feeling unsteady, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, shallow breathing, and/or increased or more severe seizures.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, or if you feel agitated, hostile, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • increased seizures (or more severe seizures);

  • sores around your eyes;

  • painful mouth sores, trouble swallowing;

  • problems with speech, balance, or walking;

  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • signs of inflammation in your body--swollen glands, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding, severe tingling or numbness, muscle weakness, upper stomach pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), chest pain, new or worsening cough with fever, trouble breathing; or

  • severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness, tired feeling;

  • headache;

  • weakness, balance problems;

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, indigestion;

  • tremors or shaking;

  • vision problems, double vision; or

  • fever, chills, cold or flu symptoms (in children).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Oxcarbazepine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Epilepsy:

Monotherapy:
Initiation of monotherapy:
Immediate-release:
Initial dose: 300 mg orally twice a day, increased by increments of 300 mg per day every third day as clinically indicated
Maintenance dose: 300 to 1,200 mg orally twice a day
Maximum dose: 1,200 mg orally twice a day

Conversion to monotherapy:
Immediate-release:
Initial dose: 300 mg orally twice a day, increased by increments of up to 600 mg per day at approximately weekly intervals as clinically indicated
Maintenance dose: 300 to 1,200 mg orally twice a day
Maximum dose: 1,200 mg orally twice a day

Comments:
-When converting to oxcarbazepine monotherapy, concomitant antiepileptics should be completely withdrawn over 3 to 6 weeks, while a maximum dose should be reached in about 2 to 4 weeks.
-Patients should be closely observed during the transition from adjunctive to monotherapy with oxcarbazepine.

Adjunctive Therapy:
Immediate-release:
Initial dose: 300 mg orally twice a day, increased by increments of up to 600 mg per day at approximately weekly intervals as clinically indicated
Maintenance dose: 300 mg to 1,200 mg orally twice a day
Maximum dose: 1,200 mg orally twice a day

Extended-release:
Initial dose: 600 mg orally once a day for one week, increased by increments of 600 mg per day at weekly intervals as clinically indicated
Maintenance dose: 1,200 to 2,400 mg orally once a day
Maximum dose: 2,400 mg orally once a day

Comments:
-Immediate release: Plasma levels of concomitant antiepileptic drugs should be monitored during titration of oxcarbazepine. In controlled trials, most patients were not able to tolerate a dose of 2,400 mg per day, mainly due to CNS effects.
-Extended-release: A dose of 2,400 mg per day showed slightly greater efficacy than 1,200 mg per day; however, it was associated with an increased risk of side effects.

Use(s): Monotherapy or adjunctive therapy for the treatment of partial seizures; extended-release oral tablets are only indicated as adjunctive therapy.

Usual Geriatric Dose for Epilepsy:

Extended-release:
Initial dose: 300 to 450 mg orally once a day, increased by increments of 300 to 450 mg per day at weekly intervals as clinically indicated.

Use(s): Extended-release oral tablets are only indicated as adjunctive therapy for the treatment of partial seizures

Usual Pediatric Dose for Epilepsy:

Monotherapy:
4 to 16 years of age:
Immediate-release:
Initiation of monotherapy: 4 to 5 mg/kg orally twice a day (up to 600 mg per day), increased by an increment of 5 mg/kg per day every third day as clinically indicated
Conversion to monotherapy: 4 to 5 mg/kg orally twice a day (up to 600 mg per day), increased by an increment of 10 mg/kg per day at approximately weekly intervals as clinically indicated

Maintenance dose:
Body weight:
20 kg: 300 to 450 mg orally twice a day
25 to 30 kg: 450 to 600 mg orally twice a day
35 to 40 kg: 450 to 750 mg orally twice a day
45 kg: 600 to 750 mg orally twice a day
50 to 55 kg: 600 to 900 mg orally twice a day
60 to 65 kg: 600 to 1,050 mg orally twice a day
70 kg: 750 to 1,050 mg orally twice a day

Comments:
-When converting to oxcarbazepine monotherapy, concomitant antiepileptics may be completely withdrawn over 3 to 6 weeks.
-Patients should be closely observed during the transition phase.

Adjunctive therapy:
2 to 4 years of age:
Immediate-release:
Initial dose:
Body weight:
20 kg or more: 4 to 5 mg/kg orally twice a day (up to 600 mg per day)
Less than 20 kg: 8 to 10 mg/kg orally twice a day
Maximum dose: 30 mg/kg orally twice a day

Comments:
-The maximum recommended dose should be achieved over 2 to 4 weeks

4 to 16 years of age:
Immediate-release:
Initial dose: 4 to 5 mg/kg orally twice a day (up to 600 mg per day)
Maintenance dose:
Body weight:
20 to 29 kg: 900 mg orally per day
29.1 to 39 kg: 1,200 mg orally per day
Greater than 39 kg: 1,800 mg orally per day

Comments:
-The target maintenance dose should be achieved over 2 weeks

6 to 17 years of age:
Extended-release:
Initial dose: 8 to 10 mg/kg (up to 600 mg) orally once a day, increased by an increment of 8 to 10 mg/kg per day (up to 600 mg) at weekly intervals if clinically indicated
Maintenance dose:
Body weight:
20 to 29 kg: 900 mg orally once a day
29.1 to 39 kg: 1,200 mg orally once a day
Greater than 39 kg: 1,800 mg orally once a day

Comments:
-Use is not recommended in patients younger than 6 years of age due to tablet size; data are not available in patients younger than 4 years of age.

Use(s): Monotherapy for the treatment of partial seizures in children 4 to 16 years; adjunctive therapy for the treatment of partial seizures in children 2 to 16 years; extended-release oral tablets are only indicated as adjunctive therapy.

What other drugs will affect oxcarbazepine?

Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking oxcarbazepine with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or depression.

Many other drugs can interact with oxcarbazepine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about oxcarbazepine.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 10.04. Revision Date: 2014-12-15, 12:00:38 PM.

Hide