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Precautions and Warnings With Felbamate

With felbamate, there are many precautions to be aware of, including warnings relating to who should not use the drug and possible side effects that may occur. This prescription epilepsy medication could cause potentially serious complications (such as liver failure and suicidal thoughts) and may not be safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking felbamate (Felbatol®) if you have:
  • Anemia or other blood disorders
  • Liver disease, such as cirrhosis, liver failure, or hepatitis
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Felbamate Warnings and Precautions

Some precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to taking felbamate include the following:
  • Seizure medications, including felbamate, may increase the risk for suicidal thoughts or behaviors (see Seizure Medications and Suicide). Please seek immediate medical attention if you have thoughts of suicide, depression, or any unusual changes in your mood or behavior while taking this medication.
  • Felbamate can cause a type of anemia called aplastic anemia, which can increase your risk of infection or bleeding. Although aplastic anemia is rare, it can cause potentially life-threatening complications. There is no way to tell ahead of time if you will develop this condition while taking felbamate.
Before starting felbamate, and throughout your treatment with this medication, your healthcare provider may recommend blood tests to help detect if you develop aplastic anemia. In addition, make sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have sudden or frequent infections, unusual bruising or bleeding, or low energy and weakness, as these may be signs of this serious condition.
  • Felbamate can cause liver failure, and should not be used if you have a history of liver problems. There is no way to tell if you will develop liver failure ahead of time while taking this medication.
Before starting felbamate, and throughout your treatment with this medication, your healthcare provider may recommend blood tests to monitor your liver function. Tell your healthcare provider if you notice any signs of liver damage, such as:
    • Dark urine
    • Loss of appetite
    • General feelings of discomfort
    • Gastrointestinal problems
    • Upper-right abdominal pain (stomach pain)
    • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice).
  • The kidneys remove felbamate from the body. Therefore, if your kidneys are not functioning properly, this drug may accumulate in the bloodstream, increasing your risk of side effects. If you have kidney problems, your healthcare provider may need to adjust your felbamate dosage.
  • Felbamate can interact with a number of other medications (see Drug Interactions With Felbamate).
  • As with all seizure medications, do not suddenly stop taking felbamate. Talk to your healthcare provider before stopping this medication.
  • Felbamate is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Felbatol and Pregnancy).
  • Felbamate passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking this drug (see Felbatol and Breastfeeding).
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Felbamate Drug Information

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