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Trileptal® (Oxcarbazepine)

Trileptal® or Oxcarbazepine is an anti-epileptic drug (AED) which is very similar in chemical structure and activity to Tegretol®. For this reason, and because it has fewer side effects, it is quickly being adopted in areas that are widely used for Tegretol® or Carbatrol®. The medication is available in tablet and liquid. The medication is thought to work by blocking voltage-gated, sodium (Na+) channels. Its safety profile is somewhat better than Tegretol in that is does not cause liver problems or low neutrophil counts (one kind of white blood cell).

Like Tegretol®, Trileptal® does increase the metabolism of the estrogen component of birth control pills and therefore the lowest dose of estrogen should be avoided. Women who particularly do not want to become pregnant should consider using a barrier method as well a hormonal contraceptive.

Trileptal® can cause a low sodium in the blood. This occurs much more frequently as one gets older and can also be seen more frequently when given in combination with other medications that cause the same side effect. If the dose of Trileptal® gets too high, patients will complain of the usual sedation, dizziness, nausea, and diplopia also associated with other AEDs. In epilepsy, Trileptal® is most commonly used for partial onset seizures. It is available in a generic form and its cost is about the same as the twice daily forms of Tegretol®.

Trileptal® is widely used for neuropathic pains of all types. This includes neuropathic pain on the face (trigeminal neuralgia), diabetes (diabetic neuralgia), and the shingles (post-herpetic neuralgia). As with all pain syndromes, the key is to increase the dose slowly until the pain is relieved or until the patient experiences some toxicity.Trileptal® is widely used by psychiatrists as a mood stabilizing medication. The use of Trileptal in this manner is beyond the scope of this web site.