Overexcitement or misfiring of nerve cells (neurons) of your central nervous system (CNS) is likely to cause epileptic seizures, fits or convulsions. Fits can cause tremors or violent shakes all over your body. You may lose your consciousness; these spells may last for several minutes. Oxcarbazepine is a commonly used anticonvulsant medication. However, it is known to cause a few adverse reactions and undesired side effects. It is a vital thing to understand the adverse effects of using this drug prior to commencing your dosage plan.

Oxcarbazepine is prescribed as part of the medication plan to treat convulsions and seizures. These spasms can cause uncontrollable shaking and may lead to a comatose stage. These may show up in an abrupt manner; duration of each spell can vary from one individual to another. There are many kinds of convulsions and seizures; absence seizures may make you lose consciousness for a brief period of time, tonic-clonic type of seizure leads to stiffness of limbs and may also cause respiratory conditions such as inability to breath. Another category of convulsions known as febrile seizure is more common among children who have a high degree of fever.

The symptoms of convulsions are often quite distinct in nature; these include gazing at empty space for a long time, involuntary spasms or violent tremors (wherein your whole body shakes), abdominal discomforts such as nausea, indigestion or vomiting; you may also blink more frequently, encounter accidental falls and may enter into a sudden state of gloom. The reasons behind the incidence of a seizure are hypoglycemia or a marked drop in sugar level, abnormal levels of electrolytes, history of strokes, listening to the same sounds or sights (for example – while playing video games), infections of the brain, etc. A recent finding labels COVID-19 as a possible cause for seizure and / or convulsions. In this milieu, oxcarbazepine is a widely prescribed anticonvulsant.

Safe intake of oxcarbazepine

Oxcarbazepine can be taken before or after a meal. You may be advised to take a standard dose once or twice every day. The seriousness of epileptic attacks or seizures may have very limited similarities between people living with epilepsy. It is hence important to understand that two such patients – with the same category of fits – may develop unique signs and symptoms of the underlying medical condition. Due to this, the dosage plan of oxcarbazepine is likely to differ from one to another. Duration of your dosages as well as frequency depends on your gender, age, body weight, medical history, current list of ailments and above all, how your body reacts to initial doses of this drug.

It is equally important to commence the medication plan at lower dosage strengths, and slowly boost dosage strength over a period of time. Such a dosage plan is one of the time-tested ways to counter adverse side effects and other undesired reactions. Also, you are advised to take this anticonvulsant at the same time every day. Some people may discontinue their treatment once the signs are under control; such an abrupt stop of doses – without the consent of the treating doctor – can lead to harmful consequences. Your caregiver will advise about the odds of a few withdrawal symptoms; owing to such risks, last few doses of this med are tapered off, and the drug is removed from your treatment plan in a gradual fashion.

What are side effects of oxcarbazepine?

This medication is likely to cause a few undesired side effects among users. People who use oxcarbazepine have complained of abdominal discomforts such as nausea, sleeplessness and problems while passing stools. It can be harmful to use stool softening drugs or laxatives to ease stools. Repeated use of such drugs can make you addicted to them. In some cases, people turn dependent on laxatives and may pass stools only after taking such laxative agents. Most of these adverse side effects may go away on their own once your system gets used to the medication plan. However, if an adverse side effect persists for long, talk to your treating physician without any further delay.

This medication can lead to a loss of motor function or coordination of muscles, bruises, internal bleeding, excessive level of tiredness or signs of a likely infection; these signs include fever, coughs, swelling, sore throat, runny nose, etc. In a few remote instances, you may experience a severe reduction in minerals and salts such as sodium. You can detect such conditions through symptoms such as confusion, convulsions coupled with nausea and indigestion.

In a few rare instances, people of south Asian origin or those with Asian roots are known to be more likely to witness allergic reactions. These may show up as swelling of skin, itchiness, blistering, peeling and / or bruising of skin. As a remote occurrence, you may encounter breathing problems such as gasping or panting. In all such cases, it is a safe practice to consult with your treating doctor as quickly as possible. If you are unable to talk to your physician, seek support from a local healthcare setting such as a clinic or a hospital as quickly as possible.

Those who are living in the US are advised to take needful hep by calling 911 on an emergency basis. You may also reach out to the helpdesk numbers of food and drug administration (FDA) in the US. This central drug authority maintains helpline numbers to address adverse side effects users may encounter upon taking any of the meds the agency approves. On the other hand, if you are a resident of any of the Canadian provinces, visit a poison control cell located closer to your home or dial Health Canada.

In order to avert likely risks of side effects of oxcarbazepine, inform your doctor of all the drugs that you are presently taking. Not stopping with drugs taken, update your physician of all treatment plans currently pursued. It is a good practice to share a list of currently-consumed meds with your caregiving team. While preparing this list, care to add prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, mineral supplements, antibiotics, proteins, herbal aids as well as of dietary supplements, if any. Always remember that the above listing of side effects does not make an entire list. It is likely to encounter risks that are not listed or known. Upon sensing any such unknown risks, consult with your physician and / or pharmacist with no further delay.

Co-administration of anticonvulsant drugs along with oxcarbazepine

Oxcarbazepine can cause a few adverse side effects if taken with a few types of meds. Adverse reactions may occur when select drugs are consumed at the same time. For instance, beware of taking multiple forms of muscle relaxant meds i.e., never take more than one antiepileptic or anti-seizure drug at the same time. So, if your medication plan has phenytoin, primidone, phenobarbital or other similar drugs, your treating doctor must be updated of all such medication plans. Last but not least, inform your caregiving team of earlier spells of allergic reactions – especially while taking anticonvulsant drugs, muscle relaxant drugs or antiepileptic meds.

As the risks of a potential drop in essential salts (such as chloride or sodium) are fairly high, report to your physician of electrolyte imbalances, if any. In the same vein, keep your doctor abreast of kidney problems or renal dysfunction. It is a good practice to inform the very first signs of a likely renal disorder; these signs include a marked change in the output of urine, discoloration of urine, painful spells while urinating as well as of urinary tract problems such as incontinence.

This antiepileptic drug is likely to lead to dizziness or drowsiness. It can be dangerous to engage in activities needing high level of mental focus and concentration. It is also important to keep away from adventurous activities like swimming or cycling. If you are taking drugs for treating common colds, they are likely to have alcohol. In such cases, take needful inputs from your doctor of potential risks when cold / cough meds are consumed along with oxcarbazepine.

Those who are likely to undergo a surgical procedure or a dental intervention must tell their surgical team of their medication plan. Surgeons may stop dosages of oxcarbazepine for 10 days during the run up to the surgical procedure. It is equally important to note that this drug must never be offered to children aged less than 6 years.

Above all, it is essential to know that your caregiving team has administered this drug as its advantages clearly outweigh the risks of adverse reactions and related side effects. Use of muscle relaxing meds or anticonvulsant drugs is known to trigger mental health problems. A sample of such problems includes bipolar conditions, being depressed, anxious or restless and hallucinating or nursing weird thoughts. It is hence highly recommended to consult with your treating physician upon experiencing one or more of these mental health conditions.

In sum, oxcarbazepine is prescribed as part of the medication plan to treat convulsions and seizures. Some users have noticed problems while passing stools – i.e., constipation, nausea, tiredness and a few mental health conditions. Those with allergies to anticonvulsants are advised to keep off from oxcarbazepine. However, many of the aforesaid side effects and adverse reactions are likely to disappear on their own. But, one or more adverse reactions persists for long, consult with your treating doctor / pharmacist without any further delay. If you are not able to reach your caregiving team, seek medical support from a local healthcare setting like a clinic.

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