Home > Health Library > Oxcarbazepine for Epilepsy
Oxcarbazepine comes in tablet
Oxcarbazepine prevents seizures by calming the electrical activity
in the brain. It works in a fashion similar to carbamazepine (for example,
Tegretol), which for many years has been used to treat
Oxcarbazepine may be used to treat
partial seizures in adults and children. In adults, it
may be used by itself or combined with another antiepileptic medicine.
Initial studies indicate that oxcarbazepine is effective in adults and children when it is added
to other antiepileptic medicines.1
Also, when used alone, oxcarbazepine can help control partial seizures.2
The most common side effects of oxcarbazepine include:
In rare cases, oxcarbazepine may cause a serious skin rash. Contact
your doctor if you develop a rash while taking oxcarbazepine.
Less commonly, oxcarbazepine may lower
sodium levels in the blood or cause problems with
double vision, speech, concentration, coordination, and walking.
People who have had a serious allergic reaction to carbamazepine
are more likely to have an adverse reaction to oxcarbazepine too.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on
antiepileptic medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The FDA
does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, people who
take antiepileptic medicine should be watched closely for
warning signs of suicide. People who take
antiepileptic medicine and who are worried about this side effect should talk
to a doctor.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
It may take time and careful, controlled adjustments by you and
your doctor to find the combination, schedule, and dosing of medicine to best
manage your epilepsy. The goal is to prevent seizures while causing as few
side effects as possible. After you and your doctor figure out the
medicine program that works best for you, make sure to follow your program
exactly as prescribed.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Castillo S, et al. (2000). Oxcarbazepine add-on for
drug-resistant partial epilepsy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3).
Drugs for epilepsy (2008). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 6(70): 37–46.
August 26, 2011
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
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