CARBAMAZEPINE

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Drug Interactions

Drug Interactions Clinically meaningful drug interactions have occurred with concomitant medications and include (but are not limited to) the following:

Indications And Usage

INDICATIONS AND USAGE Epilepsy Carbamazepine is indicated for use as an anticonvulsant drug. Evidence supporting efficacy of carbamazepine as an anticonvulsant was derived from active drug-controlled studies that enrolled patients with the following seizure types: Partial seizures with complex symptomatology (psychomotor, temporal lobe). Patients with these seizures appear to show greater improvement than those with other types. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal). Mixed seizure patterns which include the above, or other partial or generalized seizures. Absence seizures (petit mal) do not appear to be controlled by carbamazepine (see PRECAUTIONS, General). Trigeminal Neuralgia Carbamazepine is indicated in the treatment of the pain associated with true trigeminal neuralgia. Beneficial results have also been reported in glossopharyngeal neuralgia. This drug is not a simple analgesic and should not be used for the relief of trivial aches or pains.

Overdosage

OVERDOSAGE Acute Toxicity Lowest known lethal dose: adults, 3.2 g (a 24-year-old woman died of a cardiac arrest and a 24-year-old man died of pneumonia and hypoxic encephalopathy); children, 4 g (a 14-year-old girl died of a cardiac arrest), 1.6 g (a 3-year-old girl died of aspiration pneumonia). Oral LD50 in animals (mg/kg): mice, 1100 to 3750; rats, 3850 to 4025; rabbits, 1500 to 2680; guinea pigs, 920. Signs and Symptoms The first signs and symptoms appear after 1 to 3 hours. Neuromuscular disturbances are the most prominent. Cardiovascular disorders are generally milder, and severe cardiac complications occur only when very high doses (greater than 60 g) have been ingested. Respiration: Irregular breathing, respiratory depression. Cardiovascular System: Tachycardia, hypotension or hypertension, shock, conduction disorders. Nervous System and Muscles: Impairment of consciousness ranging in severity to deep coma. Convulsions, especially in small children. Motor restlessness, muscular twitching, tremor, athetoid movements, opisthotonos, ataxia, drowsiness, dizziness, mydriasis, nystagmus, adiadochokinesia, ballism, psychomotor disturbances, dysmetria. Initial hyperreflexia, followed by hyporeflexia. Gastrointestinal Tract: Nausea, vomiting. Kidneys and Bladder: Anuria or oliguria, urinary retention. Laboratory Findings: Isolated instances of overdosage have included leukocytosis, reduced leukocyte count, glycosuria, and acetonuria. EEG may show dysrhythmias. Combined Poisoning: When alcohol, tricyclic antidepressants, barbiturates, or hydantoins are taken at the same time, the signs and symptoms of acute poisoning with carbamazepine may be aggravated or modified. Treatment The prognosis in cases of severe poisoning is critically dependent upon prompt elimination of the drug, which may be achieved by inducing vomiting, irrigating the stomach, and by taking appropriate steps to diminish absorption. If these measures cannot be implemented without risk on the spot, the patient should be transferred at once to a hospital, while ensuring that vital functions are safeguarded. There is no specific antidote. Elimination of the Drug: Induction of vomiting. Gastric lavage. Even when more than 4 hours have elapsed following ingestion of the drug, the stomach should be repeatedly irrigated, especially if the patient has also consumed alcohol. Measures to Reduce Absorption: Activated charcoal, laxatives. Measures to Accelerate Elimination: Forced diuresis. Dialysis is indicated only in severe poisoning associated with renal failure. Replacement transfusion is indicated in severe poisoning in small children. Respiratory Depression: Keep the airways free; resort, if necessary, to endotracheal intubation, artificial respiration, and administration of oxygen. Hypotension, Shock: Keep the patient’s legs raised and administer a plasma expander. If blood pressure fails to rise despite measures taken to increase plasma volume, use of vasoactive substances should be considered. Convulsions: Diazepam or barbiturates. Warning: Diazepam or barbiturates may aggravate respiratory depression (especially in children), hypotension, and coma. However, barbiturates should not be used if drugs that inhibit monoamine oxidase have also been taken by the patient either in overdosage or in recent therapy (within 1 week). Surveillance: Respiration, cardiac function (ECG monitoring), blood pressure, body temperature, pupillary reflexes, and kidney and bladder function should be monitored for several days. Treatment of Blood Count Abnormalities: If evidence of significant bone marrow depression develops, the following recommendations are suggested: (1) stop the drug, (2) perform daily CBC, platelet, and reticulocyte counts, (3) do a bone marrow aspiration and trephine biopsy immediately and repeat with sufficient frequency to monitor recovery. Special periodic studies might be helpful as follows: (1) white cell and platelet antibodies, (2) 59Fe-ferrokinetic studies, (3) peripheral blood cell typing, (4) cytogenetic studies on marrow and peripheral blood, (5) bone marrow culture studies for colony-forming units, (6) hemoglobin electrophoresis for A2 and F hemoglobin, and (7) serum folic acid and B12 levels. A fully developed aplastic anemia will require appropriate, intensive monitoring and therapy, for which specialized consultation should be sought.

Adverse Reactions

ADVERSE REACTIONS If adverse reactions are of such severity that the drug must be discontinued, the physi cian must be aware that abrupt discontinuation of any anticonvulsant drug in a responsive epileptic patient may lead to seizures or even status epilepticus with its life-threatening hazards. The most severe adverse reactions have been observed in the hemopoietic system and skin (see boxed WARNING), the liver, and the cardiovascular system. The most frequently observed adverse reactions, particularly during the initial phases of therapy, are dizziness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, nausea, and vomiting. To minimize the possibility of such reactions, therapy should be initiated at the lowest dosage recommended. The following additional adverse reactions have been reported: Hemopoietic System: Aplastic anemia, agranulocytosis, pancytopenia, bone marrow depression, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, leukocytosis, eosinophilia, acute intermittent porphyria, variegate porphyria, porphyria cutanea tarda. Skin: Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) (see BOXED WARNING), Acute Generalized Exanthematous Pustulosis (AGEP), pruritic and erythematous rashes, urticaria, photosensitivity reac tions, alterations in skin pigmentation, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme and nodosum, purpura, aggravation of disseminated lupus erythematosus, alopecia, diaphoresis, onychomadesis and hirsutism. In certain cases, discontinuation of therapy may be necessary. Cardiovascular System: Congestive heart failure, edema, aggravation of hypertension, hypotension, syncope and collapse, aggravation of coronary artery disease, arrhythmias and AV block, thrombophlebitis, thromboembolism (e.g., pulmonary embolism), and adenopathy or lymphadenopathy. Some of these cardiovascular complications have resulted in fatalities. Myocardial infarction has been associated with other tricyclic compounds. Liver: Abnormalities in liver function tests, cholestatic and hepatocellular jaundice, hepatitis, very rare cases of hepatic failure. Pancreatic: Pancreatitis. Respiratory System: Pulmonary hypersensitivity characterized by fever, dyspnea, pneumonitis, or pneumonia. Genitourinary System: Urinary frequency, acute urinary retention, oliguria with ele vated blood pressure, azotemia, renal failure, and impotence. Albuminuria, glycosuria, elevated BUN, and microscopic deposits in the urine have also been reported. There have been rare reports of impaired male fertility and/or abnormal spermatogenesis. Testicular atrophy occurred in rats receiving carbamazepine orally from 4 to 52 weeks at dosage levels of 50 to 400 mg/kg/day. Additionally, rats receiving carbamazepine in the diet for 2 years at dosage levels of 25, 75, and 250 mg/kg/day had a dose-related inci dence of testicular atrophy and aspermatogenesis. In dogs, it produced a brownish discoloration, presumably a metabolite, in the urinary bladder at dosage levels of 50 mg/kg and higher. Relevance of these findings to humans is unknown. Nervous System: Dizziness, drowsiness, disturbances of coordination, confusion, headache, fatigue, blurred vision, visual hallucinations, transient diplopia, oculomotor dis turbances, nystagmus, speech disturbances, abnormal involuntary movements, peripheral neuritis and paresthesias, depression with agitation, talkativeness, tinnitus, hyperacusis, neuroleptic malignant syndrome. There have been reports of associated paralysis and other symptoms of cerebral arte rial insufficiency, but the exact relationship of these reactions to the drug has not been established. Isolated cases of neuroleptic malignant syndrome have been reported both with and without concomi tant use of psychotropic drugs. Digestive System: Nausea, vomiting, gastric distress and abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, anorexia, and dryness of the mouth and pharynx, including glossitis and stomatitis. Eyes: Scattered punctate cortical lens opacities, increased intraocular pressure (see WARNINGS, General)as well as conjunctivitis, have been reported. Although a direct causal relationship has not been established, many phe nothiazines and related drugs have been shown to cause eye changes. Musculoskeletal System: Aching joints and muscles, and leg cramps. Metabolism: Fever and chills. Hyponatremia (see WARNINGS, General). Decreased levels of plasma calcium have been reported. Osteoporosis has been reported. Isolated cases of a lupus erythematosus-like syndrome have been reported. There have been occasional reports of elevated levels of cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyc erides in patients taking anticonvulsants. A case of aseptic meningitis, accompanied by myoclonus and peripheral eosinophilia, has been reported in a patient taking carbamazepine in combination with other med ications. The patient was successfully dechallenged, and the meningitis reappeared upon rechallenge with carbamazepine.

Mechanism

Mechanism of Action Carbamazepine has demonstrated anticonvulsant properties in rats and mice with elec trically and chemically induced seizures. It appears to act by reducing polysynaptic responses and blocking the post-tetanic potentiation. Carbamazepine greatly reduces or abolishes pain induced by stimulation of the infraorbital nerve in cats and rats. It depresses thalamic potential and bulbar and polysynaptic reflexes, including the lin guomandibular reflex in cats. Carbamazepine is chemically unrelated to other anticonvulsants or other drugs used to control the pain of trigeminal neuralgia. The mechanism of action remains unknown. The principal metabolite of carbamazepine, carbamazepine-10,11-epoxide, has anticon vulsant activity as demonstrated in several in vivo animal models of seizures. Though clinical activity for the epoxide has been postulated, the significance of its activity with respect to the safety and efficacy of carbamazepine has not been established.

Contraindications

CONTRAINDICATIONS Carbamazepine should not be used in patients with a history of previous bone marrow depression, hypersensitivity to the drug, or known sensitivity to any of the tricyclic compounds, such as amitriptyline, desipramine, imipramine, protriptyline, nortriptyline, etc. Likewise, on theoretical grounds its use with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors is not recommended. Before administration of carbamazepine, MAO inhibitors should be dis continued for a minimum of 14 days, or longer if the clinical situation permits. Coadministration of carbamazepine and nefazodone may result in insufficient plasma concentrations of nefazodone and its active metabolite to achieve a therapeutic effect. Coadministration of carbamazepine with nefazodone is contraindicated.

Nursing Mothers

Nursing Mothers Carbamazepine and its epoxide metabolite are transferred to breast milk. The ratio of the concentration in breast milk to that in maternal plasma is about 0.4 for carba mazepine and about 0.5 for the epoxide. The estimated doses given to the newborn during breastfeeding are in the range of 2 to 5 mg daily for carbamazepine and 1 to 2 mg daily for the epoxide. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from carbamazepine, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.