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Indications:

in the treatment of seizure disorders, including certain types of epilepsy. It is also prescribed for trigeminal neuralgia and pain in the tongue and throat.

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 inhibitors is not recommended. Before administration of Carbamazepine, MAO inhibitors should be discontinued 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.

Adverse reactions:

If adverse reactions are of such severity that the drug must be discontinued, the physician 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, 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 low 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. Skin: Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), pruritic and erythematous rashes, urticaria, photosensitivity reactions, alterations in skin pigmentation, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme and nodosum, purpura, aggravation of disseminated lupus erythematosus, alopecia, and diaphoresis. In certain cases, discontinuation of therapy may be necessary. Isolated cases of hirsutism have been reported, but a causal relationship is not clear. Cardiovascular System: Congestive heart failure, edema, aggravation of hypertension, hypotension, syncope and collapse, aggravation of coronary artery disease, arrhythmias and AV block, thrombophlebitis, thromboembolism, 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 elevated blood pressure, azotemia, renal failure, and impotence. Albuminuria, glycosuria, elevated BUN, and microscopic deposits in the urine have also been reported. 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 incidence 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 disturbances, nystagmus, speech disturbances, abnormal involuntary movements, peripheral neuritis and paresthesias, depression with agitation, talkativeness, tinnitus, and hyperacusis. There have been reports of associated paralysis and other symptoms of cerebral arterial insufficiency, but the exact relationship of these reactions to the drug has not been established. Isolated cases of neuroleptic malignant syndrome have been reported with concomitant 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, as well as conjunctivitis, have been reported. Although a direct causal relationship has not been established, many phenothiazines and related drugs have been shown to cause eye changes. Musculoskeletal System: Aching joints and muscles, and leg cramps. Metabolism: Fever and chills. Inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (ADH) secretion syndrome has been reported. Cases of frank water intoxication, with decreased serum sodium (hyponatremia) and confusion, have been reported in association with Carbamazepine use. Decreased levels of plasma calcium have been reported. Other: Multi-organ hypersensitivity reactions occurring days to weeks or months after initiating treatment have been reported in rare cases. Signs or symptoms may include, but are not limited to fever, skin rashes, vasculitis, lymphadenopathy, disorders mimicking lymphoma, arthralgia, leukopenia, eosinophilia, hepato-splenomegaly and abnormal liver function tests. These signs and symptoms may occur in various combinations and not necessarily concurrently. Signs and symptoms may initially be mild. Various organs, including but not limited to, liver, skin, immune system, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, myocardium, and colon may be affected. Isolated cases of a lupus erythematosus-like syndrome have been reported. There have been occasional reports of elevated levels of cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides 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 medications. The patient was successfully dechallenged, and the meningitis reappeared upon rechallenge with Carbamazepine.

Interactions:

Clinically meaningful drug interactions have occurred with concomitant medications and include, but are not limited to, the following: Agents That May Affect Carbamazepine Plasma Levels CYP 3A4 inhibitors inhibit Carbamazepine metabolism and can thus increase plasma Carbamazepine levels. Drugs that have been shown, or would be expected, to increase plasma Carbamazepine levels include: cimetidine, danazol, diltiazem, macrolides, erythromycin, troleandomycin, clarithromycin, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, nefazodone, loratadine, terfenadine, isoniazid, niacinamide, nicotinamide, propoxyphene, azoles (e.g., ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole), acetazolamide, verapamil, grapefruit juice, protease inhibitors, valproate.1 CYP 3A4 inducers can increase the rate of Carbamazepine metabolism. Drugs that have been shown, or that would be expected, to decrease plasma Carbamazepine levels include: cisplatin, doxorubicin HCl, felbamate,2 rifampin, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, methsuximide, theophylline. When Carbamazepine is given with drugs that can increase or decrease Carbamazepine levels, close monitoring of Carbamazepine levels is indicated and dosage adjustment may be required. Effect of Carbamazepine on Plasma Levels of Concomitant Agents Increased levels: clomipramine HCl, phenytoin, primidone Carbamazepine induces hepatic CYP activity. Carbamazepine causes, or would be expected to cause, decreased levels of the following: acetaminophen, alprazolam, dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers (e.g., felodipine), cyclosporine, corticosteroids (e.g., prednisolone, dexamethasone), clonazepam, clozapine, dicumarol, doxycycline, ethosuximide, haloperidol, itraconazole, lamotrigine, levothyroxine, methadone, methsuximide, midazolam, olanzapine, oral and other hormonal contraceptives, oxcarbazepine, phensuximide, phenytoin, praziquantel, protease inhibitors, risperidone, theophylline, tiagabine, topiramate, tramadol, tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., imipramine, amitriptyline, nortriptyline), valproate, warfarin, ziprasidone, zonisamide. In concomitant use with Carbamazepine, dosage adjustment of the above agents may be necessary. Coadministration of Carbamazepine with nefazodone results in insufficient plasma concentrations of nefazodone and its active metabolite to achieve a therapeutic effect. Coadministration of Carbamazepine with nefazodone is contraindicated. Concomitant administration of Carbamazepine and lithium may increase the risk of neurotoxic side effects. Alterations of thyroid function have been reported in combination therapy with other anticonvulsant medications. Concomitant use of Carbamazepine with hormonal contraceptive products (e.g., oral, and levonorgestrel subdermal implant contraceptives) may render the contraceptives less effective because the plasma concentrations of the hormones may be decreased. Breakthrough bleeding and unintended pregnancies have been reported. Alternative or back-up methods of contraception should be considered. Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility Carbamazepine, when administered to Sprague-Dawley rats for two years in the diet at doses of 25, 75, and 250 mg/kg/day, resulted in a dose-related increase in the incidence of hepatocellular tumors in females and of benign interstitial cell adenomas in the testes of males. Carbamazepine must, therefore, be considered to be carcinogenic in Sprague-Dawley rats. Bacterial and mammalian mutagenicity studies using Carbamazepine produced negative results. The significance of these findings relative to the use of Carbamazepine in humans is, at present, unknown. Usage in Pregnancy Teratogenic Effects Pregnancy category D Labor and Delivery The effect of Carbamazepine on human labor and delivery is unknown. 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 Carbamazepine and about 0.5 for the epoxide. The estimated doses given to the newborn during breast feeding 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. Pediatric Use Substantial evidence of Carbamazepine’s effectiveness for use in the management of children with epilepsy is derived from clinical investigations performed in adults and from studies in several in vitro systems which support the conclusion that (1) the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying seizure propagation are essentially identical in adults and children, and (2) the mechanism of action of Carbamazepine in treating seizures is essentially identical in adults and children. Taken as a whole, this information supports a conclusion that the generally accepted therapeutic range of total Carbamazepine in plasma (i.e., 4 to 12 mcg/mL) is the same in children and adults. The evidence assembled was primarily obtained from short-term use of Carbamazepine. The safety of Carbamazepine in children has been systematically studied up to 6 months. No longer-term data from clinical trials is available. Geriatric Use No systematic studies in geriatric patients have been conducted.

Warnings:

General Before initiating therapy, a detailed history and physical examination should be made. Carbamazepine should be used with caution in patients with a mixed seizure disorder that includes atypical absence seizures, since in these patients Carbamazepine has been associated with increased frequency of generalized convulsions. Therapy should be prescribed only after critical benefit-to-risk appraisal in patients with a history of cardiac conduction disturbance, including second and third degree AV heart block; cardiac, hepatic, or renal damage; adverse hematologic or hypersensitivity reaction to other drugs, including reactions to other anticonvulsants; or interrupted courses of therapy with Carbamazepine. Hepatic effects, ranging from slight elevations in liver enzymes to rare cases of hepatic failure have been reported. In some cases, hepatic effects may progress despite discontinuation of the drug. Multiorgan hypersensitivity reactions occurring days to weeks or months after initiating treatment have been reported in rare cases. Discontinuation of Carbamazepine should be considered if any evidence of hypersensitivity develops. Information for Patients Patients should be made aware of the early toxic signs and symptoms of a potential hematologic problem, as well as dermatologic, hypersensitivity or hepatic reactions. These symptoms may include, but are not limited to, fever, sore throat, rash, ulcers in the mouth, easy bruising, lymphadenopathy and petechial or purpuric hemorrhage, and in the case of liver reactions, anorexia, nausea/vomiting, or jaundice. The patient should be advised that, because these signs and symptoms may signal a serious reaction, that they must report any occurrence immediately to a physician. In addition, the patient should be advised that these signs and symptoms should be reported even if mild or when occurring after extended use. Patients, their caregivers, and families should be counseled that AEDs, including Carbamazepine, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior and should be advised of the need to be alert for the emergence or worsening of 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. Carbamazepine may interact with some drugs. Therefore, patients should be advised to report to their doctors the use of any other prescription or nonprescription medications or herbal products. Caution should be exercised if alcohol is taken in combination with Carbamazepine therapy, due to a possible additive sedative effect. Since dizziness and drowsiness may occur, patients should be cautioned about the hazards of operating machinery or automobiles or engaging in other potentially dangerous tasks. Patients should be encouraged to enroll in the NAAED Pregnancy Registry if they become pregnant.

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