Epilepsy Home > Carbatrol

Carbatrol is licensed for treating epilepsy and relieving pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia. It is not known exactly how the medication works, but it is thought to possibly block sodium channels in the brain, decreasing the activity of nerve cells and preventing them from firing abnormally. Carbatrol comes in capsule form and is usually taken twice a day. Potential side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea.

What Is Carbatrol?

Carbatrol® (carbamazepine) is a prescription medication used to treat the following conditions:
  • Epilepsy -- This medication is used for the treatment of various types of seizures, although it is generally not effective at treating absence seizures (petit mal seizures).
  • Trigeminal neuralgia -- Carbatrol is also used for relieving pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia (also known as tic douloureux), a nerve condition that causes episodes of facial pain (typically cheek or jaw pain).
(Click Carbatrol Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Carbatrol is manufactured by Shire US, Inc.

How Does Carbatrol Work?

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes recurring, brief changes in the brain's electrical system. These changes in brain activity can lead to a seizure (see Epilepsy Symptoms). It is not known exactly how Carbatrol works to prevent partial seizures in people with epilepsy. It may work by blocking sodium channels in the brain. By doing this, the drug may decrease the activity of nerve cells, preventing them from firing abnormally. It may also prevent the abnormal brain signals from spreading to other parts of the brain.
It is thought that Carbatrol works to treat trigeminal neuralgia by blocking the nerve signals that cause pain and other unpleasant sensations.
Carbatrol is a long-acting medication that contains carbamazepine in three different types of beads, immediate-release beads (which work quickly), extended-release beads (which work slowly), and delayed-release beads (which work after a delay). These three types of beads help provide a consistent level of medication in your blood.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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