Trileptal is a brand name for oxcarbazepine, an anti-convulsant, and mood stabilizing drug that is meant for treating epilepsy (recurrent seizures) and bipolar disorders (manic-depressive illness).
Seizures come about because of an abnormal firing of neurons in the brain causing abrupt changes in motor activity and sense perception. There are two main classes of seizures officially identified, namely focal (partial) seizures and generalized seizures. Trileptal is used primarily for the treatment of partial seizures. It works by decreasing the neural impulses of the affected nerve cells.
Trileptal is a clinically proven medication for controlling partial seizures in adults and in children even as young as 4 years old. In such cases, Trileptal was found to be effective both by itself (as in monotherapy), and in combination with other anti-seizure drugs (adjunctive therapy). Moreover, patients who were administered this medicine experienced significantly fewer seizures. Thus, it was concluded that Trileptal could help in lowering the frequency of partial seizures. Partial seizures occur when a group of nerve cells starts firing their impulses abnormally within one hemisphere of the brain. Whether it’s a simple or complex partial seizure depends on the alertness level or wakefulness of the patient when the seizure takes hold. Trileptal is also useful in adjunctive therapy for children of 2 years of age and older who suffer epilepsy.
Trileptal comes in tablets form of 150mg, 300mg, and 600mg. Trileptal can be taken either with food or on an empty stomach. Take it with a full glass of water. Do not drink alcohol while on this medication, as this will not only induce sleepiness, it will enhance the risk of seizure. Do not drive or operate dangerous machinery until you are sure of how exactly Trileptal will be affecting these activities. So, if you find yourself getting dizzy, drowsy, having blurred vision, or poor coordination, abort such activities.
Generally, mild to moderately severe side effects that you would need to be aware of include dizziness, sleepiness, double vision, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, incoordination, abnormal vision, abdominal pain, tremor, indigestion, and abnormal gait. For children, they have additional side effects of getting infections and infestations.
Occasionally a condition termed as hyponatremia (low plasma sodium levels) is observed in patients treated with Trileptal. This is usually accompanied by feelings of severe fatigue, and in this case, the blood sodium levels will have to be tested and monitored. Additional side effects of this condition include a craving for salty food, for example, potato chips.
Your doctor should also be informed if in the past you have taken the epilepsy drug, carbamazepine. 25-30% of patients who have experienced allergic reactions to carbamazepine may react similarly to Trileptal. Thus, if you developed serious skin reactions after taking this medicine, consult your doctor immediately. Patients who are on birth control pills may need other forms of contraceptives, as this medicine will make the pills less effective.