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How does carbamazepine treat and prevent bipolar disorder?

Although fewer clinical studies support the use of carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol), it has been available for many years, and is effective in a broad range of subtypes of bipolar illness and in both euphoric and mixed manic episodes. Carbamazepine commonly causes sedation and gastrointestinal side effects.

Because of a rare risk of bone marrow suppression and liver inflammation, periodic blood testing is needed during carbamazepine treatment. Because carbamazepine has complicated interactions with many other medications, careful monitoring is needed when it is combined with other medications.

Carbamazepine is indicated for use in treating epilepsy and trigeminal neuralgia, but its effects have also been found to be helpful in treating mental problems like bipolar disorder. It blocks neurotransmitters and nerves in a similar way that some antidepressants do.  However, information on how exactly carbamazepine works as a treatment for bipolar disorder is limited.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.