Oxcarbazepine is a prescription indicated for the treatment of epilepsy. This is used to treat partial seizures, with or without secondary generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Epilepsy is a central nervous system or neurological disorder. Wherein, the brain activity becomes abnormal which causes seizures or periods of unusual behavior and sometimes loss of awareness. Because epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in the brain, it can affect any process your brain coordinates. Some signs and symptoms may include:

  • A staring spell
  • Temporary confusion
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Psychic symptoms such as anxiety or fear

Symptoms vary depending on the type of seizure. Usually, a person with epilepsy will tend to have the same type of seizure every time. Thus, the symptoms will be similar from episode to episode.

This medication may also be used to treat Trigeminal neuralgia. It is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve which carries sensation from your face to your brain. If you have this type of condition even mild stimulation of your face such as brushing your teeth may trigger a jolt of excruciating pain. You may initially experience short to mild attacks. But Trigeminal neuralgia can progress and cause longer and more frequent bouts of searing pain. It affects women more often than men and it’s more likely to occur in people who are older than 50. The facial nerves spontaneously send messages of pain to the brain. Oxcarbazepine prevents the nerve signals from being sent inappropriately and relieves the pain of this condition.

Oxcarbazepine is in the class of medications called anticonvulsants. This stabilizes electrical activity in the brain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this medication. This is supplied as an extended-release tablet for oral use. Each tablet contains an active ingredient of Oxcarbazepine. It is off-white to yellow crystalline powder that is sparingly soluble in chloroform. Oxcarbazepine is available in the dosage forms of 150 mg, 300 mg, and 600 mg.

How does Oxcarbazepine work?

The brain and nerves are made up of many nerve cells that communicate with each other through electrical signals. These signals must be carefully regulated for the brain and nerves to function properly. When unusually repetitive and rapid electrical signals are out in the brain, it becomes over-stimulated and normal function is disturbed. This can result in fits or seizures.

Oxcarbazepine works by preventing the excessive electrical activity in the brain. It is thought to achieve this by preventing sodium from entering nerve cells. It is when they begin to fire and begin to fire rapid and repetitive electrical signals. A build-up of sodium in the nerve cells is needed for the electrical signal to build-up and be passed on to other nerve cells. As this drug prevents this, it helps stabilize the electrical activity in the brain.

Preventing the build-up of the electrical signal also prevents the release of a neurotransmitter called glutamate. It is from the nerve cells in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are stored in nerve cells. These are also involved in transmitting messages between the nerve cells. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that acts as a natural ‘nerve-exciting’ agent. When electrical signals build up in nerve cells, it is released. It then stimulates more nerve cells. Glutamate is thought to play a key role in causing epileptic seizures. Decreasing the release of glutamate from the nerve cells in the brain is another way in which this medication may help stabilize the electrical activity in the brain and prevent epileptic fits.

How to use Oxcarbazepine?

The recommended dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to the treatment. For the best benefit from this product, take it regularly. You must take this medication exactly as it is prescribed. It may cause another complication or may worsen your current condition.

This medication is to be taken by mouth usually twice a day. You may take each dose with or without a meal. Swallow the drug as a whole. Don’t break, crush, or chew it. Remember to take it at the same time and in the same way each day. Even if you feel well, continue to take this prescription. Do not suddenly stop taking this without consulting your doctor.

What are the side effects of Oxcarbazepine?

Common side effects:

  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Shakiness
  • Problems with walking and coordination
  • Double vision
  • Tremor
  • Blurred vision or other problems with eyesight
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Mood changes
  • Sinus infection
  • Heartburn
  • Weight gain

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor right away:

  • Blistering, peeling or shedding skin
  • Cough, chills, sore throat, or other signs of infection
  • Increased, decreased, or painful urination
  • Lack of energy, nausea, headache, confusion, or seizures that last longer or happen more often than in the past

Warnings and Precautions

  • This medicine may cause fatigue and dizziness. Avoid driving or using any machinery.
  • While taking this drug, avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase the risk of drowsiness.
  • People with impaired kidney function and those who are taking other medicines that can lessen the amount of sodium in the blood should have regular tests to monitor the amount of sodium.
  • This drug should be used with caution in elderly people. This should also be carefully used for those with heart failure, severely decreased liver function, and irregular heartbeats.
  • This is not recommended for use in children under six years of age.
  • For those people with rare hereditary problems of fructose intolerance, this should not be used.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding women consult your doctor first before using. If you become pregnant while having this treatment, call your doctor right away.
  • If there are any signs of an overdose, call for medical help right away.
  • Tell your doctor if you have current medications such as vitamins or herbal supplements.
  • Keep this drug at room temperature far from moisture or heat.