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Tegretol vs. Lithium

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Are Tegretol and Lithium the Same Thing?

Tegretol (carbamazepine) and lithium are used to treat bipolar disorder.

Tegretol is also used to treat seizures and nerve pain such as trigeminal neuralgia and diabetic neuropathy.

Tegretol and lithium belong to different drug classes. Tegretol is an anticonvulsant and lithium is an alkali-metal.

Side effects of Tegretol and lithium that are similar include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, or lack of coordination.

Side effects of Tegretol that are different from lithium include dizziness, dry mouth, swollen tongue, loss of balance, or unsteadiness.

Side effects of lithium that are different from Tegretol include hand tremor, increased dilute urination, mild thirst, diarrhea, and muscular weakness.

Tegretol may interact with theophylline, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, antibiotics, drugs to treat tuberculosis, antifungal medications, blood thinners, cancer medicines, heart or blood pressure medications, HIV or AIDS medications, medications to treat depression or mental illness, medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection, other seizure medications, steroids, or thyroid replacement medications.

Lithium may interact with diuretics, ACE inhibitors, acetazolamide, urea, xanthine preparations, alkalinizing agents such as sodium bicarbonate, iodide preparations, calcium channel blockers, metronidazole, fluoxetine, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

You may have increased seizures or unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you stop using Tegretol suddenly.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Tegretol?

Common side effects of Tegretol include:

  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • dizziness,
  • drowsiness,
  • dry mouth,
  • swollen tongue,
  • loss of balance or coordination, or
  • unsteadiness.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Lithium?

Common side effects of Lithium include:

  • hand tremors,
  • increased urination,
  • mild thirst,
  • diarrhea,
  • vomiting,
  • drowsiness,
  • muscular weakness,
  • lack of coordination,
  • giddiness,
  • weakness,
  • blurred vision, and
  • ringing in the ears.

What Is Tegretol?

Tegretol (carbamazepine) is an anticonvulsant used to treat seizures and nerve pain such as trigeminal neuralgia and diabetic neuropathy. Tegretol is also used to treat bipolar disorder. Tegretol is available in generic form.

What Is Lithium?

Lithium Carbonate Extended-Release Tablets are antimanic agents indicated in the treatment of manic episodes of Bipolar Disorder. Lithium Carbonate Extended-Release Tablets are also indicated as a maintenance treatment for individuals with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Maintenance therapy reduces the frequency of manic episodes and diminishes the intensity of those episodes that may occur. Lithium Carbonate Extended-Release Tablets are available in generic form.

What Drugs Interact With Tegretol?

Tegretol may interact with other seizure medications, HIV or AIDS medications, antibiotics, antidepressants, medications to treat mental illness, or blood thinners.

Tegretol may also interact with theophylline, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, drugs to treat tuberculosis, antifungal medications, cancer medicines, heart or blood pressure medications, medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection, steroids, or thyroid replacement medications.

You may have increased seizures or unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you stop using Tegretol suddenly.

What Drugs Interact With Lithium?

Lithium may also interact with diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), acetazolamide, urea, xanthine preparations, alkalinizing agents such as sodium bicarbonate, iodide preparations, calcium channel blockers, metronidazole, fluoxetine, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

How Should Tegretol Be Taken?

The starting dose of Tegretol to treat epilepsy in adults and children over 12 years of age is 200 mg twice daily for tablets and XR tablets, or 1 tsp 4 times daily for suspension (400 mg/day). Usual maintenance dose is 800-1200 mg daily. The starting dose to treat trigeminal neuralgia is 100 mg twice daily for tablets or XR tablets, or ½ tsp 4 times daily for suspension, for a total daily dose of 200 mg. Control of pain is maintained in most patients with 400-800 mg daily. Consult your doctor for pediatric doses.

How Should Lithium Be Taken?

Optimal patient response can usually be established with 1800 mg/day lithium carbonate in the following dosages: 3 tabs (900 mg) in the morning, and 3 tabs (900 mg) in the evening.

Reviewed on 4/15/2019

SOURCE:

Novartis. Tegretol Product Information.

https://www.pharma.us.novartis.com/sites/www.pharma.us.novartis.com/files/tegretol.pdf

FDA. Lithium Drug Information.

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/018027s059lbl.pdf

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