Carbamazepine side effects in children and adults

Epilepsia. 1987;28 Suppl 3:S64-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1987.tb05780.x.


Most of the side effects associated with carbamazepine (Tegretol, USP, Geigy Pharmaceuticals) therapy are mild, transient, and reversible with an adjustment in dosage or rate of dosage increase. Direct reports to Geigy Pharmaceuticals for the period 1975 to 1986 totaled 371 hematologic, 396 dermatologic, and 156 hepatic and pancreatic occurrences out of more than 4 million patients treated. These include 27 cases of aplastic anemia and 10 of agranulocytosis. In a study of the incidence of side effects in 220 children below the age of 16 years who were receiving carbamazepine, drowsiness, loss of coordination, and vertigo were the most commonly observed side effects and were almost always transient and dose related. The findings of this study are comparable with those of other series assessing carbamazepine-associated adverse reactions in children and adults. Overall, 30 to 50% of children and adults were reportedly free of side effects in these studies. Recommendations for carbamazepine therapy include education of patients and parents in the nature and likelihood of possible serious adverse reactions and routine monitoring to detect laboratory abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agranulocytosis / chemically induced
  • Anemia, Aplastic / chemically induced
  • Carbamazepine / adverse effects*
  • Carbamazepine / therapeutic use
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / etiology
  • Child
  • Drug Eruptions / etiology
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Hematologic Diseases / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Sleep Stages / drug effects


  • Carbamazepine