Other names: Carbagen SR; Tegretol®

Carbamazepine is a medication, which is primarily used to treat epilepsy. Carbamazepine is also used to treat bipolar disorder and ease pain associates with nerve damage.

Why is the test used?

The carbamazepine test is used to determine the levels of carbamazepine in the blood; it is usually used to monitor the levels of medication in the blood and acts as a useful tool for doctors to ensure that the levels of medication are at the target levels. The test is usually repeated if the dosage is changed or if the patient does not appear to be responding to the treatment.

The test is usually ordered by doctors when patients have symptoms of side-effects or adverse effects to the medication; possible side-effects include:

  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Skin irritation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Confusion

How is the test performed?

The test is done by analysing a sample of blood. Usually a doctor or nurse will use a tourniquet to make the veins swell temporarily; this makes it easier for the doctor to get the needle into the vein. The needle is inserted into the vein and the blood is collected in a syringe. Once the sample has been collected, it will be bottled, labelled and sent away to the laboratory for analysis.

What do the test results mean?

High levels of carbamazepine may indicate that the dosage is too high; the concentration should be between 4 and 12 mg/l; levels above 15 are considered to be toxic. If the results are within the target range and the patient is not experiencing any adverse or negative side-effects, this usually indicates that the dosage is correct and the treatment is working effectively.

Specific Blood Tests

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