Drug brand names
Eslicarbazepine is available as 200mg tablets and 800mg scored (with a line in the middle) tablets.
Eslicarbazepine is an anti-epileptic drug used to reduce seizure frequency or severity, in people who have epilepsy, in cases where other antiepileptic medications have failed.
It is used to treat focal (partial) seizures that may or may not develop into generalised (tonic-clonic or convulsive) seizures; it is licensed for use in addition to other anti-epileptic medication. It is not indicated for other uses, apart from epilepsy.
Side effects (the list of side effects is not exhaustive; please refer to product literature for full list)
Eslicarbazepine is generally well tolerated. Side effects become more likely the higher the dose of medication taken and will usually improve if the dose is reduced again. They sometimes occur temporarily when the medication is started or as the dose is increased.
If you are also taking other anti-epileptic medication, sometimes reducing, this rather than the Eslicarbazepine, may alleviate these side effects. In our experience they settle within eight weeks of starting medication.
You should not take Eslicarbazepine if you have a history of increased sensitivity to Carbamazepine or Oxcarbazepine.
Common side effects are:
- Fatigue and sleepiness
- Vertigo and unsteadiness on one’s feet
- Blurred and / or double vision
- Nausea and vomiting
Your doctor will do some blood tests before starting treatment and may repeat these during treatment with Eslicarbazepine.
These tests will monitor the blood sodium levels and liver function. Eslicarbazepine should not be prescribed under certain groups of patients with heart or kidney problems.
Less common side effects are:
- Eslicarbazepine may cause aggression, agitation and confusion states.
- All antiepileptic medication can cause feelings of depression, or severe mood changes. If you experience any of these, please contact your specialist.
- About one in twenty patients will experience an allergic rash, a little like sunburn, or milder skin irritation. You should consult your doctor or epilepsy specialist nurse as soon as possible if this happens.
- Persons identified to be of Han Chinese, Thai (south east asian origin) are at increased risk of skin rash and would require a specific blood test prior to starting treatment.
In the event of any of these side effects, contact the epilepsy nurse (contact details are at the end of the leaflet), and / or your GP.
Rare side effects are:
These may affect the blood or liver and may be serious. Blood tests will be performed where appropriate. If you experience any of the follow side effects, seek immediate medical attention:
- Muscle twitching
- Rash and / or blistering
- Mouth ulcers or sore throat
- Bruising or bleeding
- Unusual lethargy
Eslicarbazepine affects the oral contraceptive pill. We would therefore recommend use of the following options of contraception: the three month contraceptive injection, or the hormone coil (mirena), or barrier methods such as condoms.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
If you are taking any anti-epileptic drug, you should ask to see your specialist and discuss the best preparations and doses before you conceive. Once you are already pregnant it is too late to make these changes. The risks to your baby from Eslicarbazepine are unknown but it has caused some problems in animal studies. We recommend you take folic acid 5mg daily, twelve weeks prior to conception until the end of week 12 of pregnancy.
It is recommended by the manufacturer that Eslicarbazepine is not taken by breastfeeding mothers. Animal studies have shown that the drug passes to breast milk with unknown effects on the infant. Please seek specialist advice if you wish to take Eslicarbazepine whilst breastfeeding.
Ordinary medications such as paracetamol and aspirin can be given with Eslicarbazepine.
Eslicarbazepine can alter levels of a variety of medication; also other medication can alter the effectiveness of Eslicarbazepine. Always remind your doctor or pharmacist that you take Eslicarbazepine when new medication is discussed or started.
Other useful information
- You can take Eslicarbazepine at the same time as you take other medication. It can be taken with or without food. Do not stop taking your medication suddenly and without consulting with your specialist.
- Keep a record of your seizures when you start any new medication. This will help to determine future drug dosages.
- Store Eslicarbazepine in the original packaging.
- If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember but do not take two doses at the same time or within six hours of each other.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the epilepsy nurse specialist on 01223 217992.
The information on this leaflet is not exhaustive. Please refer to the patient information leaflet prepared by the manufacturer of your drug which can be found in the medicine packaging.
We are smoke-free
Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.
Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998. www.cuh.nhs.uk/contact-us/accessible-information/
Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge
Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151