The active ingredient of Gericarb SR is carbamazepine. Carbamazepine is one of a group of medicines called anticonvulsants. It is used to treat epilepsy. Carbamazepine is also used to treat a painful condition of the face (trigeminal neuralgia) and also may be used to help prevent mood swings.

Why have I been prescribed Gericarb?

  • The active ingredient of Gericarb SR is carbamazepine. Carbamazepine is one of a group of medicines called anticonvulsants. It is used to treat epilepsy.
  • Carbamazepine is also used to treat a painful condition of the face (trigeminal neuralgia) and also may be used to help prevent mood swings.

How does it work?

  • It works by decreasing the excitability of nerve cells and preventing them firing inappropriately.

When and how do I take it?

  • It is important to take these tablets at the right time, as instructed by your doctor.
  • The tablets should be taken during or after meals with a glass of water.
  • Do not crush, chew or suck the tablets but swallow them whole.

What’s the dose?

ADULTS:

Epilepsy:

  • The usual starting dose is 100-200 mg once or twice daily.
  • This dose will gradually be increased or decreased to control your fits.
  • The usual maintenance dose is 400mg - 600mg morning and evening.

Trigeminal neuralgia:

  • The usual starting dose is between 100 mg and 400 mg a day.
  • This dose can slowly be increased to treat the pain. In some cases, up to 1600 mg (taken as two doses).
  • When the pain goes away, your doctor will reduce the dose. After a few weeks, if the pain does not return, he may stop treatment.

Prevention of mood swings:

  • The usual starting dose is 100-400 mg daily in divided doses.
  • This dose can be increased slowly until symptoms are controlled. In a few cases up to 1600 mg daily (given as divided doses).
  • The usual daily dose is 400 mg-600 mg (as divided doses).

Could it interact with other tablets?

If you are already taking any of the following medicines, tell your doctor. It may affect your dose of Gericarb SR or increase the risk of side effects:

  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Primidone
  • Valproic Acid
  • Felbamate
  • Ethosuximide
  • Tiagabine
  • Lamotrigine
  • Flunarizine 
  • Antibiotics include Rifampicin, Josamycin, Clarithromycin. Troleandromycin, Erythromycin, Isoniazid, Doxycycline Itraconazole, Ketoconazole, Voriconazole, Fluconazole, Caspofungin (treatment of fungal infections)
  • Ritonavir, Indinavir (anti-viral medicine)
  • Praziquantel (to treat worm infections)
  • medicine for heart problems e.g. Verapamil, Digoxin, Diltiazem, Quinidine, Hydroquinidine
  • or for high blood pressure eg. Dihydropyridines (such as Felodipine), Propranolol
  • Acetazolamide (to treat glaucoma)
  • Hydrochlorothiazide, Furosemide (diuretics or 'water tablets')
  • Dextropropoxyphene/Propoxyphene, Methadone , Tramadol, Fentanyl, Paracetamol, Phenazone (painkillers)
  • Midazolam (sedative)
  • Fluoxetine, Viloxazine, Desipramine, Imipramine, Fluvoxamine, Trazadone, Nortriptyline, Amitriptyline, Clomipramine (antidepressants)
  • Clonazepam, Ethosuximide, Alprazolam, Clobazam (medicines for anxiety)
  • Haloperidol, Bromperidol, Lithium, Olanzapine, Quetiapine, Risperidone, Clozapine (to treat mental illness)
  • Nicotinamide in high doses (vitamin of the B group)
  • Cimetidine (for the treatment of ulcers)
  • Theophylline (for asthma)
  • Corticosteroids (eg. Prednisolone, Dexamethasone)
  • Ciclosporin, Tacrolimus, Sirolimus (immunosuppressants)
  • Cisplatin, Doxorubicin, Procarbazine (anti-cancer medicine)
  • Anticoagulant drugs such as Warfarin, Phenprocoumon and Dicumarol
  • Muscle relaxants (e.g. Pancuronium)
  • Isotretinoin (to treat acne)
  • Danazol (treatment for endometriosis)
  • contraceptive "pill": It is advised to use another form of contraception.
  • Other medicines containing oestrogens/progestogens, HRT treatment
  • Terfenadine, Loratadine (for allergies)
  • Bupropion (anti-smoking treatment)
  • Methylphenidate (to treat ADH disorder)

The herbal remedy St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) should not be taken at the same time as this medicine. If you already take St. Johns Wort, consult your doctor before stopping the St. John's Wort preparations. Herbal products should also only be taken after talking with your doctor.

What are the possible risks or side-effects?

Like most medicines, Gericarb SR can have side effects. Side effects aremore common at the start of treatment, but usually disappear after a few days or when the dose is adjusted to be right for you.

Common effects seen in less than 1 in 10 patients but more than 1 in 100:

  • include feeling dizzy
  • feeling tired or drowsy
  • suffering from skin rashes and a loss of co-ordination

Tell your doctor straight away if you:

  • notice a skin rash or a severe skin reaction
  • suffer from a persistent sore throat, fever or both
  • feel feverish, suffer from mouth ulcers or notice unusual bruising or bleeding of your skin
  • get a throbbing headache, stiff neck and become sensitive to bright light
  • have difficulty breathing, or have a combination of symptoms including painful joints or muscles and a rash

These are rare effects, seen in less than 1 in 1000 patients but more than 1 in 10,000:

  • include confusion and agitation in elderly patients
  • depression
  • being aggressive or other mood changes
  • difficulty thinking and hallucinations
  • headache
  • lack of drive
  • ringing in the ears
  • loss of appetite
  • dry mouth
  • feeling or being sick
  • and allergic skin reactions

Can I drink Alcohol while taking it?

  • This medicine interacts with alcohol and concomitant use should be avoided.

What if I’m pregnant/breastfeeding?

  • If you are planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor first.
  • If you are pregnant and need to take an anticonvulsant, you are likely to be taking only one anticonvulsant. Your doctor will monitor you and your unborn child closely. Breast feeding while taking Gericarb SR is not recommended. If you do breast feed and you take Gericarb SR, tell your doctor straight away if your child becomes very drowsy or is slow to put on weight.

If you have any more questions please ask your Pharmacist.

Remember to keep all medicines out of reach of children
Please Note:
We have made every effort to ensure that the content of this information sheet is correct at time of publish, but remember that information about drugs may change. This sheet does not list all the uses and side-effects associated with this drug. For full details please see the drug information leaflet which comes with your medicine. Your doctor will assess your medical circumstances and draw your attention to any information or side-effects which may be relevant in your particular case.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbamazepine

http://www.drugs.com/carbamazepine.html

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682237.html

http://www.rxlist.com/tegretol-drug.htm