Carbatrol Side Effects

Serious Side Effects

Some side effects of Carbatrol, while occurring infrequently, are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Anemia or other blood disorders
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Increased infections or infections that do not go away
  • Worsening of seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Difficulty passing urine or a sudden unexplained decrease in urine production (which can be a sign of kidney damage)
  • Water retention, swelling, or difficulty breathing, which can be signs of congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • An irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice), which may be a sign of liver damage, including liver failure or hepatitis
  • Low sodium levels in the blood (hyponatremia), which may cause symptoms that include:
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Irritability
    • Excessive tiredness
    • Confusion
    • Hallucinations
    • Muscle weakness
    • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, including:
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling


Rarely, Carbatrol can cause very dangerous skin reactions known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) or toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). These problems start out as skin rashes but can progress to permanent disfigurement or even loss of life.
Not every skin rash in people taking Carbatrol will be related to SJS or TEN. However, because of the seriousness of such problems, it is recommended that people stop taking Carbatrol immediately at the first sign of a rash, unless it is very clear that the rash is not related to Carbatrol. In most (but not all) cases, SJS and TEN reactions occur within the first month of starting Carbatrol.
Interestingly, SJS and TEN reactions to Carbatrol are much more common in people of Asian descent, who are more likely to have a specific gene (known as HLA-B*1502) that appears to increase the risk of such problems. If you are of Asian descent, your healthcare provider may choose to test for the gene before recommending Carbatrol for you.
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