Drinking Alcohol While Taking Tegretol (Carbamazepine)

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the safety concerns with drinking alcohol while taking Tegretol (carbamazepine).

Question

Starting carbamazepine 200mg twice daily. Have seen various contradictory articles on drinking alcohol while taking. Label just says ask doctor before drinking and the pharmacist did not mention it at all.

Asked by Arty On Mar 07, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Mar 08, 2018

Tegretol (carbamazepine) is an anti-epileptic medication and is also used as a mood stabilizer for certain psychiatric disorders.


Although effective and generally used as a first line agent over other anti-epileptic drugs such as phenytoin due to its favorable side effect profile, carbamazepine has been associated with liver toxicity and in many cases, liver function tests are required over the course of treatment.


Alcohol consumption while taking carbamazepine increases the risk of liver associated problems and therefore is not recommended.


Alcohol With Tegretol (Carbamazepine)

Tegretol (carbamazepine) should be used cautiously those with existing liver disease. Not only is the drug extensively metabolized in the liver, liver toxicity (i.e. hepatotoxicity) has been reported, although it is relatively rare. Symptoms of liver toxicity include:

  • Jaundice
  • Rash
  • Increase in Eosinophils (i.e. Eosinophilia)
  • Elevated liver enzymes


For most individuals taking carbamazepine, liver function tests are required before therapy begins and periodically while taking the medication to ensure the liver is functioning normally.


Alcohol consumption theoretically increases the risk of liver associated problems while on carbamazepine therapy. Alcohol metabolism taken place mostly in the liver and put extra stress on it when consumed in conjunction with certain medications such as carbamazepine. 

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Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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