Medically reviewed on November 13, 2017.
What is oxcarbazepine?
Oxcarbazepine is an anticonvulsant. It works by decreasing nerve impulses that cause seizures and pain.
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.
Seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of a serious drug reaction: skin rash, fever, swollen glands, flu-like symptoms, unusual bruising or bleeding, or jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes).
Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking seizure medicine. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.
Do not stop using oxcarbazepine suddenly.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take this medicine if you are allergic to oxcarbazepine or eslicarbazepine.
To make sure oxcarbazepine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
mood problems or suicidal thoughts; or
Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking oxcarbazepine. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
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 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. 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 signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Seek medical treatment if you have a serious drug reaction that can affect many parts of your body. Symptoms may include: skin rash, fever, swollen glands, flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, severe weakness, unusual bruising, or yellowing of your skin or eyes. This reaction may occur several weeks after you began using 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 nausea, lack of energy, confusion, feeling tired or irritable, severe weakness, muscle pain, or increased 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.
Common side effects may include:
dizziness, drowsiness, feeling weak or tired;
balance or coordination problems;
tremors or shaking;
double vision; or
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)
What other drugs will affect oxcarbazepine?
Taking oxcarbazepine with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic medication, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Many drugs can interact with oxcarbazepine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
- 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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More about oxcarbazepine
- Oxcarbazepine Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 204 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: dibenzazepine anticonvulsants
- Oxcarbazepine Extended-Release Tablets
- Oxcarbazepine Tablets
- Oxcarbazepine Oral Suspension
- Oxcarbazepine (Advanced Reading)