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What are the side effects of Tegrital?

Q: I am 33 years old and suffering from epilepsy for past 18 years. I am currently taking Tegrital 200 CR two tablets, twice a day. I haven't had a seizure for the past 2 years. But I still continue the same dosage. My family life is broken & I don't have any children. I doubt whether the medicine in restricting me from having children. I also stay absent minded. When my marriage broke, I didn't express my sadness as all women do. Is the medicine controlling my feelings? How long do I have to take the medicine?

A:Tegrital (carbamazepine) is the correct drug. An attempt can be made to withdraw the drug if there are no seizures for at least three years consecutively. The drug causes drowsiness but absentmindedness may not be related to the intake of the medicine. It does not cause infertility. However the drug is not recommended in the first three months of pregnancy. If it is absolutely essential, then alpha fetoprotein needs to be measured at 16 weeks gestation to make sure that the foetus is normal. The drug also helps in warding off and reducing depression.

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