Tegretol is the brand name for Carbamazepine. It is a medication that is used for a number of conditions, including Bipolar disorder, nerve pain, and people who suffer from certain types of seizures. The Tegretol blood test is used to measure the amount of medication that is in the blood to determine if it is maintaining a therapeutic level of the individual.
When Tegretol is not at therapeutic levels, it may either not have the intended effect or cause unintended and possible uncomfortable side effects.
The blood test may also be used to determine what dosing may be appropriate for someone who is a good candidate for taking this medication. Then, based on the results that are received from the test, medication levels may be adjusted upward or downward so that a therapeutic effect can be established.
Once the medication reaches the individualized therapeutic range, Tegretol blood testing continues as a way to monitor the condition being treated. This test will often be ordered if a person’s health changes for some reason after starting this medication as well.
When to Ask About the Tegretol Blood Test
The most common reason to discuss the Tegretol blood test with a medical provider is because of the presence of uncomfortable side effective. Tegretol can cause side effects at any dosage level, but the chances of experiencing a side effect increases as the dosage increases.
These side effects may include dizziness, a lack of coordination, feelings of sleepiness, vision that becomes blurred or doubled, and involuntary movement of the eyes. More serious side effects may include a rash that is red and itchy, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, and prolonged confusion.
Anyone who has taken Tegretol and experiences a fever, chills, a sore throat, ulcers in the mouth or throat, or a rapid heartbeat that is accompanied by a difficulty in focusing should seek immediate medical attention. Easy bruising, severe tingling in the fingers and toes, swelling in the ankles, or the symptoms of jaundice also require immediate medical attention.
Tegretol may also cause lower sodium levels in the blood than normal, a decrease in white blood cells, or an increase in a specific type of white blood cell called eosinophils.
What Do My Test Results Mean?
For most individuals, the therapeutic range of Tegretol, when it is taken alone without any other medication, is between 4-12 mcg/mL. Any medication levels that are above 15 mcg/mL are considered to be toxic and need to be addressed immediately. Medication levels below 4 mcg/mL indicate that the medication has yet to take its full effect on the body and dosage levels may need to be increased.
Therapeutic ranges can vary from laboratory to laboratory. Some individuals may also be more tolerable of Tegretol than others and require a higher dose to achieve a therapeutic level. Your medical provider will inform you of what your local facility’s therapeutic range happens to be and where your test results fall on that range.
When Tegretol is within the therapeutic range, most people who take this medication will not experience excessive side effects. Many medical providers will consider the benefits of the medication to be more important than the side effects that are caused. While first starting the medication, however, some people will still experience severe mood swings, seizures, and never pain. Incidents are usually reduced as therapeutic levels rise.
Here’s What You Need to Know
It is dangerous to change the amount of Tegretol you take without informing your medical provider of the change. People who are in a therapeutic range and then suddenly stop taking the medication may experience seizures, even if they have never had a history of seizures in the past. Changing Tegretol dosing may also affect how other medications are being absorbed by the body.
Dosage and adjustments are based on the Tegretol blood test and must be evaluated on an individualized basis.
Many different medications, including supplements and over-the-counter medication, will interact negatively with Tegretol. A complete list of what is being taken must be discussed with a medical provider before any therapies are started. Certain drugs can also alter how much Tegretol is absorbed per dose and should be avoided. Grapefruit juice will also increase the levels of Tegretol that are in the blood.
If you have been prescribed Tegretol and have not had a blood test recently, then discuss this guide with your medical provider. The Tegretol blood test may be right for you so that it can be determined if you are within the therapeutic range.