Oxcarbazepine is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral extended-release tablet, immediate-release tablet, and suspension.
Oxcarbazepine oral tablet is available as the brand-name drugs Trileptal and Oxtellar XR. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name drug.
The immediate-release tablet may be used alone or as part of a combination therapy with other medications to treat seizures. The extended-release tablet is always used with other medications.
Why it’s used
Oxcarbazepine is used to treat partial seizures in people with epilepsy.
How it works
Oxcarbazepine belongs to a class of drugs called antiepileptic medications. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.
It isn’t known exactly how this drug works to stop seizures. It may block sodium channels to stop seizures from spreading to the rest of the brain. It may also act on potassium and calcium in the brain to stop seizures.
Oxcarbazepine oral tablet may cause drowsiness. It can also slow your thinking and reaction time. You shouldn’t drive, use machinery, or do similar tasks that require alertness until you know how this drug affects you.
This drug can also cause other side effects.
More common side effects
The more common side effects of oxcarbazepine depend on the drug form.
- Side effects for all forms of the drug include:
- eye problems, such as double vision, blurred vision, or cataracts
- problems with walking and coordination (unsteadiness)
- Oxcarbazepine immediate-release tablets may also cause the following:
- skin rash
- infections, especially in children
- stomach pain
- upset stomach
- Oxcarbazepine extended-release tablets may also cause the following:
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
- Low sodium levels in your blood. Symptoms can include:
- lack of energy
- more frequent or more severe seizures
- Allergic reactions or serious problems (multi-organ hypersensitivity) that affect your organs and other parts of your body, such as the liver or blood cells. Symptoms can include:
- fever, swollen glands, or sore throat that don’t go away or that come and go
- skin rash
- swelling of your face, eyes, lips, or tongue
- trouble swallowing or breathing
- painful sores in your mouth or around your eyes
- yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- severe tiredness or weakness
- severe muscle pain
- frequent infections or infections that don’t go away
- Suicidal thoughts or actions. Symptoms can include:
- thoughts about suicide or dying
- attempts to commit suicide
- new or worsened depression
- new or worsened anxiety
- feeling agitated or restless
- panic attacks
- trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- new or worsened irritability
- acting aggressive or violent
- acting on dangerous impulses
- an extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
- other unusual changes in behavior or mood
- Serious skin reactions. Oxcarbazepine may cause life-threatening allergic skin reactions. These are called Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). These may cause severe damage to your skin and internal organs. Your risk may be higher if you have Asian ancestry with a genetic risk factor. If you’re Asian, your doctor may test you for this genetic factor. You can still have these reactions without the genetic risk factor. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- skin rash
- sores in your mouth, nose, or eyes
- blistering or peeling of your skin
- Serious blood disorders. Oxcarbazepine may cause a decrease in all types of blood cells, or just white blood cells. Symptoms can include:
- bruising more easily
- bleeding from your nose, or your gums after brushing your teeth
- blood in your urine
- blood in your stool, which may appear either bright red or dark and tarry
- increased infections
- longer illnesses as compared to normal