An erratic or an overexcited firing of neurons of your brain can cause seizures. Often times, these spasms or convulsions may occur all of a sudden. However, the moderate to longer versions result in uncontrollable shaking. It may also push you to a state of unconsciousness. There are many types of seizures namely, febrile seizures, absence seizures, tonic clonic, infantile spasm, etc. Of these febrile seizures are witnessed among children. This type is observed to last for a several minutes. Though they are largely considered as not harmful, a high degree of fever among children is known to trigger it. Can you use oxcarbazepine for this condition? It becomes essential to know more on this.

Febrile seizure is common among children, especially among those whose body temperature has seen a marked increase due to fever. Your child’s doctor may prescribe a mild dose of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID such as ibuprofen / naproxen) or acetaminophen. In some children though, a high fever – of say, above 102 degrees Fahrenheit may cause fits or seizures. This spell is medically labelled as febrile seizure. In a few instances, this is considered as a lead indicator to indicate that a child is down with fever.

Children aged between 7 months to 6 years are more likely to encounter this condition. Children normally outgrow this condition once they reach 7 years of age. Parents need not excessively worry about it as it seldom causes dyslexia or learning problems, damage to brain cells and are also not known to lead to conditions such as epilepsy. Children who took a vaccine recently are at a higher risk; also, those who have a family track record of febrile seizures tend to get it more likely.

Types of febrile seizures

There are two distinctive types of this juvenile condition – 1- Typical or simple seizures and 2- Atypical or complex seizures. In case of typical or simple febrile seizures, fits may last for less than 10 minutes; it normally occurs only once per day i.e., within 24 hours. This kind of seizure is not a rare condition. On the other hand, atypical form of seizures may show up multiple times each day; also, every spell may last for more than 10 minutes. Moreover, this seizure may largely affect only one portion of your child’s body.

The signs are often telling. Your child may clench his / her jaw or teeth, experience erratic breathing cycles, witness stiffening of limb muscles, etc. In some cases, eyes may roll over or eyelids may flutter more frequently. Children may also develop respiratory troubles and / or lose control over their bladder / bowel. It is important to seek medical help if your child’s convulsions last beyond 4 minutes.

Use of oxcarbazepine for treating febrile seizure

This drug is used for the treatment of epileptic seizures and / or fits. It can be taken either with or without food. The typical dose is twice each day. No two children with febrile seizure are given with the same dosages of oxcarbazepine. Your child’s dose is dependent on age, body weight as well as prior medical conditions, if any. The way your child responds to the first few doses of this med also determines the dosage value. In order to counter any undesired reactions, the dosages are often started at a very low level and then gradually increased to a maintenance mode.

It is important to administer this drug onto your child in a regular manner. Those who took this drug at the same timeslot each day benefitted the most. It is essential to continue your child’s medication plan for the entire duration – as prescribed by the treating doctor. Those who discontinued their child’s treatment – without informing the child’s physician – may only aggravate the condition. It is important to taper off the dosage strength in a slow and steady manner. Such practices help avoid withdrawal symptoms from showing up.

Adverse effects of oxcarbazepine on children

This drug triggered a few unintended outcomes in children. Some of the commonly observed discomforts are insomnia or other sleep related disorders, chronic heap pains, abdominal problems such as nausea and / or vomiting. In some cases, children have witnessed difficulties to pass stools or constipation. Prior to administering laxatives or stool softening agents to your child, it is essential to check with your child’s doctor. Laxatives are not recommended for a long term use; such a usage can soon become habit forming. Your child may then find it difficult to pass stools without the help of stool softeners.

The good thing is – most of these adverse reactions and side effects may soon wear off. But, if your child continues to have one or more of these problems, it is highly recommended to take suitable medical support on an urgent mode. Families living in the US may seek the help of the food and drug administration (FDA) or call 911 for support on an emergency basis. It is worthwhile to remember that FDA runs its own help system to support people who use the drugs it has approved. In case of residents of Canada, families may either call Health Canada or go to the closest poison control unit operating at your province.

As an overarching fact, it is critical to remember that your doctor has prescribed this med as its merits far exceed the risks of side effects / adverse reactions. Users are likely to experience mental disorders such as depression, anxieties, hallucinations, mood shifts, etc. while using this med. This is a common discomfort triggered by meds falling under the category of drugs known as anticonvulsants. Upon noticing any of these mental conditions, talk to your doctor without further delay.

A few very adverse side effects oxcarbazepine may trigger

This drug may seldom cause a few serious reactions or very adverse side effects. A few such adverse effects include doubling of vision, lack of coordination or impairment of motor function, internal bruising and / or bleeding, being tired or turning very weak. Also, if you sense side effect such as symptoms of infections (like an increase in body temperature / fever, inflammation of lymph nodes, incessant coughing or a runny nose, soreness of throat, etc.) and a marked drop in sodium levels (shows up as nausea, being confused or drowsy, fits or convulsions), see your treating doctor soon.

In some one-off cases – especially among children of Asian descent, a few risks such as skin problems like blisters, inflammation of skin and / or itchiness are observed. Along with the above risks, if you also notice allergic reactions like inflammation of lips or tongue, peeling of skin and respiratory troubles like panting, wheezing and gasping for breath, rush to your treating doctor for needful medical support.

In this light, it is a vital thing to know that the aforesaid list of adverse reactions does not constitute a complete set of such risks. It is hence possible to notice a few unknown or unlisted side effects / adverse allergic reactions. In all such instances, it is a safe practice to talk to your caregiving team on a top priority basis. Delays in reporting of such occurrences may only worsen these side effects and in some rare cases may even turn near-fatal / fatal.

Possible risks of interactions with other drugs

Oxcarbazepine may interact with a few other drugs, when taken together. Risks of interactions are more likely with drugs belonging to the antiepileptic or anti-seizure genres such as phenobarbital, primidone, phenytoin, etc. Also, if you have any prior allergies to any of these drugs or their active ingredients, your physician must know of all such risks. On the same note, tell your doctor if you are taking drugs for an imbalanced mineral profile (say, low level of sodium in your child’s blood) and renal disorders like a drop in filtering efficiency of kidneys, painful episodes of urination, etc.

This med is likely to make your child drowsy and / or dizzy. It is hence important to keep your child from engaging in adventurous sporting activities such as jumping, cycling, swimming or riding. If your child is taking cough and cold meds, such drugs may have alcohol in them. Talk to your child’s physician about the use of such meds along with oxcarbazepine. If you are planning for a dental procedure or a surgical intervention for your child, the caregiving team must know of the intake of this anti-seizure med beforehand. It is quite likely that your child’s caregiver will advise the discontinuation of oxcarbazepine at least for 2 weeks prior to the date of surgery.

Last but not least, if your child is very young – say less than 6 years of age, this drug may cause more adverse side effects such as risks of infections. If your child is down with a fever or a runny nose, talk to your child’s caregiver immediately.

In sum, children may develop fits while they witness a sharp increase in body temperature; this condition is called febrile seizure. Oxcarbazepine is widely administered to children who develop fits or convulsions. But, no two children with such seizures are administered with same dosage strength of this anticonvulsant med. The dose depends on your child’s age, prior medical conditions, weight as well as how the child’s system reacts to the first few dosages. If you are keen to know more details about oxcarbazepine and how it can be used for treating febrile seizures, talk to your caregiving team before starting the treatment plan.

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