Oxcarbazepine - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Oxcarbazepine: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Oxcarbazepine?

Oxcarbazepine is a prescription drug that is used to treat epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes seizures. It reduces the frequency and the duration of seizures, but it does not cure them. Oxcarbazepine belongs to a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It is metabolized in the liver and converted to licarbazepine, which is its active form. It’s excreted through the kidneys. Furthermore, it can be used alone or with other anticonvulsant drugs.

What are the uses of Oxcarbazepine?

Oxcarbazepine is mainly used to treat certain types of epilepsy. It reduces seizures by decreasing the nerve impulses and electrical activity of the brain. It stabilizes the repetitive firing of hyper-excited nerves. Oxcarbazepine is used to treat epilepsy in adults and children over four years of age. Its other “off-label” uses are:

  • It can treat manic episodes of bipolar disorder in those having no success with other medication. 
  • It can reduce nerve pain and symptoms in trigeminal neuralgia.
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What are the side effects of Oxcarbazepine?

The following are a few of the most common side effects of oxcarbazepine.

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Difficulty in walking or unsteadiness
  • Rapid or uncontrolled eye movement

Some serious and rare side effects are

  • Life-threatening skin infections
  • Low sodium in blood or hyponatremia
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Signs of infection like sore throat, cough, chills, etc., especially in children

If you experience any of these side effects, consult your doctor.


Frequently Asked Questions about Oxcarbazepine

1. Does oxcarbazepine cause weight loss?

Both weight loss and weight gain are listed as side effects caused by oxcarbazepine. A study showed that children with seizures on oxcarbazepine alone showed significant weight gain. This medication has many side effects, such as loss of appetite, abdominal pain, etc., which can cause weight loss.

2. Does oxcarbazepine cause hair loss?

Hair loss or alopecia is one of the lesser-known side effects of oxcarbazepine. It occurs very rarely as a result of this drug. If you experience hair fall as a side effect, it is generally less severe.

3. How long does oxcarbazepine stay in your system?

Oxcarbazepine gets converted to licarbazepine during its metabolism in the liver. Licarbazepine is responsible for decreasing seizures. The half-life of oxcarbazepine is 1-5 hours, and the half-life of licarbazepine is 8-10 hours. Half-life is the time the body takes to remove half of the amount of drug.

4. Will oxcarbazepine affect getting pregnant?

There is not enough data that confirms the effects of oxcarbazepine on fertility. A study had inconclusively shown the results of this drug on the fetus. Few animal studies showed birth defects in animals exposed to oxcarbazepine during pregnancy.

5. Is oxcarbazepine a benzo?

No, oxcarbazepine is not a benzo (Benzodiazepine). It belongs to the class of drugs called anticonvulsants.

6. Is oxcarbazepine a narcotic?

No, it is not a narcotic. Narcotics are used to provide pain relief. Even though oxcarbazepine can provide relief for nerve pain, it is not considered a narcotic.

7. Is oxcarbazepine like Xanax?

Xanax (alprazolam) is a medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Oxcarbazepine reduces the effects and the blood levels of Xanax. Therefore, it is useful in treating patients with benzodiazepine withdrawals.

8. Can divalproex sodium and oxcarbazepine take together?

Both are anticonvulsant drugs that can treat seizures. Divalproex sodium is also used for manic episodes and migraines. There are many drug interactions with both of these drugs. Therefore, it is essential to inform your doctor before taking one of them with the other.

9. How does oxcarbazepine cause urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is not a known side effect of oxcarbazepine. It can cause other related side effects like urinary tract infections, excess urination, blood in urine, etc.

10. How does oxcarbazepine work for trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that causes sudden and unilateral pain along the trigeminal nerve. Oxcarbazepine blocks the over-firing of the nerves and stabilizes the excited nerve membranes. Therefore, it can treat trigeminal neuralgia with fewer side effects.

11. Is oxcarbazepine a mood stabilizer?

Yes, oxcarbazepine can treat mood disorders like bipolar disorder. It is used during a manic episode of bipolar disorder and to prevent future manic episodes of bipolar disorder. One of the off-label uses of this drug is to stabilize the mood.

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