Carbamazepine / Tegretol test


Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What is Carbamazepine?

Carbamazepine is an anticonvulsant that is used for treating seizures (also called epilepsy). It is also used for stabilizing the mood of the people having bipolar disorder, to ease alcohol withdrawal, and to help alleviate some types of nerve pain. It can be prescribed separately or in combination with other antiepileptic drugs.

Carbamazepine drug must be maintained within a narrow therapeutic range. If the level of Carbamazepine drug is too low, the drug may not be effective and the person may experience a recurrence of symptoms (i.e., seizures, mania, or pain). And if the Carbamazepine level is too high, the person may experience toxic side effects. 

What is the Carbamazepine test?

The Carbamazepine Test is used to assess the levels of the carbamazepine in the blood and the urine of a person. The Carbamazepine test helps in the measuring and the monitoring of the Carbamazepine in the blood.

Why did my doctor ask me to undergo the Carbamazepine test?

Your doctor might have asked you to undergo the Carbamazepine depending on some conditions. The conditions are listed below:

– When you are undergoing the treatment for bipolar disorder, seizures, etc and your medications include Carbamazepine dosages, the doctor needs to monitor the levels of the Carbamazepine to evaluate if it is within the therapeutic range. 
– If there is a recurrence of symptoms of the bipolar mood swings, seizures, nerve pain, etc, the doctor might recommend you to undergo the Carbamazepine test.
– If you are not responding to the treatment, the Carbamazepine test is conducted to evaluate the levels of the carbamazepine in the blood. This gives the doctor the idea of if you had been in taking the medications as prescribed. A significantly lower level of the Carbamazepine in the blood indicates that the person has not been taking the dosages properly.

When should I undergo the Carbamazepine test?

There are several symptoms associated with the abnormal levels of the Carbamazepine in the blood. If you had been experiencing such symptoms, the Carbamazepine test is significantly recommended. 
Some of the most common symptoms related to the higher levels of the Carbamazepine are:

– Dizziness and persisting headache
– Uncoordinated movement or loss of balance
– Sleepiness or a constant tiredness
– Blurred or double vision
– Involuntary back and forth movement of the eyeball

Other common symptoms are:

– Red, itchy rash
– Nausea and anxiety
– Diarrhea
– Constipation
– Headache and fatigue
– Moments of extreme confusion

What are the preparations required for the Carbamazepine test?

There are no specific preparations required for conducting the Carbamazepine test.

– Fasting is not required.
– There is no inclusion of any new mediations.
– No old medications are stopped. Yet discuss it with your health practitioner who might ask you to stop a few drugs which might have an adverse reaction with the Carbamazepine causing very serious health issues.
Do not forget to mention your doctor about all your underlying health conditions. He might suggest some specific preparations for the test according to your health condition. You should talk to your healthcare provider about the timing of the sample collection. It is often recommended when the level in the blood is expected to be at its lowest, just before the next dose is taken.

What is the procedure of the Carbamazepine test?

The Carbamazepine Test is carried out by testing the blood sample which is collected. The blood sample is collected by the procedure of venipuncture. The procedure of venipuncture is elaborated in the following steps:

– A tourniquet is wrapped around the upper arm to make the veins more prominent.
– A syringe or needle is used to draw blood by puncturing the vein.
– The blood is drawn into the tube of the syringe.
– The tourniquet is unwrapped.
– An antiseptic is applied to the spot of venipuncture to avoid any infection.
– The spot of injection of the syringe is dabbed by a cotton swab or a bandage is put to stop any further bleeding.
The blood sample is then sent to the laboratory for the Carbamazepine test.

Is the Carbamazepine test painful?

The test procedure does not involve any pain at all. Some people might feel a pinpricking sensation during the injection of the needle of the syringe. This pain wears off in a few hours or a day to the maximum.

What are the risks associated with the Carbamazepine test?

There are no risks related to this test. The procedure of blood collection(venipuncture) might have some risks associated with it:

– Some people feel light-headed and dizzy after the blood is drawn.
– It might cause Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin causing a lump or bruise).
– There might be pain associated with too many punctures for finding a vein

What is the price range of the Carbamazepine test in India?

The price of the Carbamazepine test in India ranges from Rs 850-2700. The price varies across the country depending upon the location of the diagnostic center. The range of the price varies depending on the city or the state the diagnostic center is located in.

When will I get my results for the Carbamazepine test?

You will get your results for the carbamazepine test within 24 hours to 36 hours of the test.

How to understand my results for the Carbamazepine test?

The clinical ranges of the Carbamazepine along with the interpretations have been elaborated in the chart given below:

Carbamazepine level Interpretation 
4-12mg/L Normal 
>15mg/L Toxic 
<4mg/L Deficiency 

Result depiction

– The therapeutic range of the Carbamazepine is  4-12 mg/L. 
– Carbamazepine level above the range of 15mg/L is considered as toxic. It has adverse health effects.
– The levels of Carbamazepine below  4mg/L is considered as really low. It indicates that an individual is not responding to the treatment or might not be taking the medications properly as prescribed.

What are the side effects of having carbamazepine toxicity?

There are several serious side effects of having Carbamazepine toxicity. Some of them are as follows: There are severe skin reactions that can occur. The symptoms can include:  

– Skin rash
Hives (red, itchy, and swollen areas show up on the skin).
– Tongue, lips, or face might swell up
– Formation of blisters on your skin or the mucous membranes of your mouth, nose, eyes, or genitals.

Carbamazepine toxicity can also cause liver dysfunction, low sodium levels, a decrease in white blood cells, or an increase in eosinophils (a type of white blood cell). In some cases, the severity of side effects may necessitate the use of a different anti-seizure, bipolar, or nerve pain medication.

Is the carbamazepine test recommended for pregnant women?

If you had been administered with Carbamazepine dosages for a long time and have been in taking the same even during pregnancy, it is highly recommended to undergo the Carbamazepine test. Carbamazepine toxicity in the mother’s body can lead to birth defects in the newborn. Hence it is always suggested to undergo the Carbamazepine test during pregnancy.

Is the Carbamazepine test safe for my newborn?

It is completely safe for your newborn to undergo the Carbamazepine test since it just involves the simple procedure of the collection of the blood sample. In the case of newborns and infants, the blood is collected by pinpricking the heels. There are absolutely no risks related to this procedure. There can be mild pain and bruising which wears off in a few hours or a day maximum.

When should I take my kid for the Carbamazepine test?

There are various signs and symptoms associated with the Carbamazepine toxicity in the kids. If your kid is experiencing the symptoms, it is highly recommended to take your kids for the Carbamazepine test. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of the Carbamazepine toxicity in kids are as follows:

– Dizziness, lightheadedness
– Drowsiness 
– Upset stomach, throwing up
– Clumsiness 
– Increase or decrease in urination
– Dry mouth
– Watery bowel movements (diarrhea)
– Loss of appetite
– Trouble having a bowel movement (constipation)

The serious signs and symptoms of the Carbamazepine toxicity in kids include the following:

– Black,  tarry stools
– Dark urine
– Unusual bleeding or bruising
– Blurred vision
– Skin rash or hives
– Cough 
– Unexplained sore throat
– Hoarseness 


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