What You Should Know About Oxcarbazepine
What is Oxcarbazepine?
Oxcarbazepine is an anti-epileptic medication which is primarily used to prevent focal (partial) seizures. It's been approved for slightly different uses in children and adults.
- Individual or additional medication for treatment of focal seizures.
- Individual medication management for preventing focal seizures in children aged 4–16 years old, or
- Additional medication therapy for treatment of focal seizures in children aged 2–16 years old.
Focal seizures (partial seizures) are a type of seizure that begins in one area (or “focal point”) of the brain and may spread to other areas. There may or may not be changes to behaviour and awareness, depending on the specific area(s) of the brain involved.
Typical side Effects
There are many possible side effects that you can experience while taking oxcarbazepine. Not everyone will experience any or all of the possible side effects. However, it is important to be aware of the possible changes to your body that may occur following initiation of a new medication. The most commonly experienced side effects of oxcarbazepine include:
- Double vision or nystagmus
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abnormal vision
Side effects may be mild, but if you experience any effects that are intolerable it is important to speak with your healthcare provider about whether the medication continues to be right for you.
Serious side effects
While an anti-seizure medication such as oxcarbazepine is essential in order to prevent possibly dangerous seizures from occurring, there are some rare but serious possible dangers from taking this medication.
Sometimes certain components of your blood will decrease during oxcarbazepine therapy. This can include the red blood cells (which carry oxygen) and certain white blood cells (which fight off infection and disease). It is therefore important for blood levels to be monitored throughout your oxcarbazepine treatment.
Some people taking oxcarbazepine have developed hyponatremia (low levels of salt in your body). This can be serious, as our bodies require a certain amount of sodium to carry out essential activities. This generally occurs within 3 months, though it sometimes has been noted more than a year after medication initiation. Sodium levels should therefore be monitored in people at increased risk of altered hyponatremia.
Reactions involving your skin—SJS and TEN
One of the possible dangers of oxcarbazepine is the appearance of serious skin conditions, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) or toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). These skin conditions usually present first with a rash as well as with flu-like symptoms such as a fever. SJS and TEN are serious and can even be fatal if not caught and treated quickly. Therefore, at any sign of a fever or rash when taking this medication, immediately seek medical attention.
Many medications cannot be taken at the same time as oxcarbazepine. This is usually due to either oxcarbazepine increasing or decreasing the concentration of the other drug in your body, or the other drug increasing or decreasing the concentration of oxcarbazepine in your body. This can be dangerous because it can increase either medication to possibly toxic levels or decrease either medication to ineffective levels in your body. Some of these medications include:
- Other anti-seizure medications (carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, valproic acid)
- Oral contraceptive pills
It is therefore important to speak with your healthcare provider about any medications you may be taking when you start oxcarbazepine. The levels of your various medications can then be monitored to ensure the medications remain both effective and safe.
Pregnancy or breastfeeding
Like most anti-seizure medications, there are some risks to the fetus when oxcarbazepine is taken during pregnancy. Though there aren’t many well defined studies regarding the safety risks of oxcarbazepine, it has been noted that there are more malformations associated with children born from mothers taking this medication. This includes cleft lip, cleft palate, Down’s syndrome, hip dysplasia, and other congenital malformations.
That being said, if you are taking oxcarbazepine and your seizures are well controlled, it can also be risky to stop this medication. Therefore, if you become pregnant while taking oxcarbazepine it is essential to speak with your healthcare provider about the risk of malformations to your fetus versus the risk of being removed from effective anti-seizure medications.
Can I stop taking oxcarbazepine if I don’t feel like I need it anymore?
No! It is very important NOT to suddenly stop taking your oxcarbazepine medication. If there is an issue with your medication management, it is essential to speak with your healthcare provider and discuss your options with them. If you have been diagnosed with epilepsy it is likely that you should be on anti-seizure medications for life, so it is important to find one that works well for you.
If you are instructed by your healthcare provider to stop taking oxcarbazepine, this also must not be done abruptly. Suddenly stopping this medication can actually increase the risk of experiencing a seizure, so it is important to be withdrawn from the medication slowly and carefully.
Oxcarbazepine is on our Wholesale Price List. Each medication on the list is available for $37 for 6 months or $70 for a year without insurance. That's less than $6/month cash price.
Since oxcarbazepine is typically taken long-term, it is both convenient and cost-effective to buy your medication in longer supply. You are not only able to reduce the frequency of trips to the pharmacy, but you also avoid paying multiple pharmacy dispensing fees from multiple prescription pickups throughout the year.
We are able to price our prescriptions this way because we buy our medications from accredited wholesalers rather than insurance companies. This way, we are able to bypass the step that is usually responsible for hiking up drug costs for consumers. You are therefore able to get your medications from Marley Drug at prices competitive with even the best insurance plans.
To learn more about how you can get your oxcarbazepine prescription from Marley Drug, just call us at 1-800-810-7790.
Prices mentioned in this article are based on average retail price at major box chain pharmacy in the U.S. as of January 21, 2023.
- Oxcarbazepine (generic Trileptal) – Access data FDA-Approved Drugs [Internet]. [Amended 03/2017; accessed 01/2023].
- “Types of Seizures.” Types of Seizures | Johns Hopkins Medicine, 8 Aug. 2021, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org. Accessed 22 Jan 2023