Bipolar Jacket

Carbamazepine (Tegretol)

Carbamazepine (brand name Tegretol) is an anticonvulsant medication that is sometimes used to treat bipolar disorder. The exact mechanism by which carbamazepine works in bipolar disorder is not fully understood, but it is believed to help regulate the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which can affect mood and behavior.

Carbamazepine is primarily used to treat the manic or hypomanic episodes of bipolar disorder. It may also be used to prevent future episodes from occurring. The medication is thought to stabilize mood by reducing the intensity and frequency of manic episodes.

Dosage Information

The dosage of carbamazepine for bipolar disorder can vary depending on the individual patient and the severity of their symptoms. Carbamazepine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of bipolar disorder, so dosages may be prescribed off-label by healthcare providers based on their clinical judgment and the individual needs of the patient.

In general, the starting dose of carbamazepine for bipolar disorder is usually 100-200 mg taken orally twice daily, and the dose may be increased by 100-200 mg per day every 2-3 days, depending on the individual response and tolerability. The maintenance dose is typically in the range of 400-1200 mg per day, taken in divided doses.

However, the specific dosages may vary depending on the type of bipolar disorder and the presence of other medical conditions. For example, patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder may require higher dosages of carbamazepine compared to patients with less severe forms of the disorder.

It is important to note that carbamazepine should always be taken exactly as prescribed by a healthcare provider, and the dosage should not be changed without first consulting with them. Patients taking carbamazepine should be monitored regularly for any side effects or changes in symptoms, and they should inform their healthcare provider of any concerns they may have.

Potential Side Effects of Carbamazepine (Tegretol)

Carbamazepine can cause various side effects when used to treat bipolar disorder, some of which are more common than others. Here are some possible side effects:

  1. Dizziness
  2. Drowsiness or fatigue
  3. Nausea or vomiting
  4. Dry mouth
  5. Blurred or double vision
  6. Headache
  7. Skin rash or itching
  8. Low sodium levels in the blood
  9. Changes in blood pressure
  10. Confusion or memory problems
  11. Mood changes, such as depression or anxiety

It is important to note that some people may experience more serious side effects, such as a severe allergic reaction or liver damage. If you experience any concerning symptoms while taking carbamazepine, it is important to contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Other Mood Stabilizers

More about medications to treat bipolar disorder. These include mood stabilizers like those above, antipsychotics, and antidepressants.