Dr C P Ravikumar


Parent or patient Information Leaflet

Consultant Paediatric Neurologist MRCPCH, CCT in Paediatrics (U.K.) Fellow in Paediatric Epilepsy & Neurology (London)

Brand names : Tablet : Oxetol, Zenoxa, Vinlep

Syrup : Vinlep, Zenoxa

Delayed release: Oxetol XR, Zenoxa SR

Oxcarbazepine is a medicine used in epilepsy to control focal seizures. It belongs to same family as Carbamazepine and Eslicarbazepine, if you have had any side effect to any of the other two, then you should avoid using Oxcarbazepine, unless there is strong reason. Always, discuss with your doctor.
It is a sibling of Carbamazepine and Oxcarbazepine. The biggest side effect of this family of drugs are severe skin reaction (Stevens Johnson Syndrome). It is expected the newer drugs have lesser risk of this serious reaction.

Why is Oxcarbazepine important for my child’s treatment?
It is important that your child takes Oxcarbazepine regularly so that your child doesn’t suffer from Seizures or have fewer seizures. Do not stop giving Oxcarbazepine all of a sudden, as it may result into your child having more seizures.

What is Oxcarbazepine available as?
Oxcarbazepine is available in the preparation of Liquid medicine, Tablets, Modified-release tablets (releases medication slowly into blood after it has been consumed) in the market.

“Generic Vs Branded Drugs”

When should Oxcarbazepine be given?
Twice a day; morning and evening. Ideally, 10-12 hours apart.
For example, anytime between 7 to 8 am and right after 12 hours between 7 to 8 pm. You can adjust the time slot according to your schedule.
However, there are some exceptions when your doctor may advise to give it thrice a day. Please follow your doctor’s instructions in such case.
It should ideally be given at the same time every day to establish a routine as it minimizes the chances of missing a dose.

What if I miss a dose?

Tablets & liquids: The child can be given the missed dose, if you remember to give it within a lapse of 6 hours. If you fail to give the missed dose within 6 hours, then might as well leave it. It is advisable to wait until the time of next routine dose.
Modified release preparations: If you miss a dose, you can give it any time within the next 8 hours. After this time, wait until the next routine dose.
Never give a double dose of Oxcarbazepine.
If your child vomits out the content within 30 minutes of taking the medicine dosage then you can give the dose again; but if your child vomits after 30 minutes of taking the dose, then just leave it be and do not give it again.

How much of the drug should be given?
Your doctor will work out the accurate amount of Oxcarbazepine (the dose) for your child and write the dosage in your prescription.
When you first start giving Oxcarbazepine to your child, you are supposed to give them a small amount and then increase the dose little by little over a course of few days or weeks. This helps your child’s body to get use to the medicine. Your doctor will clarify what steps to take.
It is mandatory to follow the instructions given by your doctor about the dosage of medication.
Ultimately, when your child is free of seizures or convulsions (fits) and has no obvious side effects, you will know that the dosage is just correct.

How should I give the medicine ? “Giving Medicines”
Tablets: A whole tablet must be swallowed with a glass of water, juice or milk. You may give it by crushing and mixing it in water/ juice or small serving of yogurt / Curd.

Liquid or syrup: Use an oral syringe or a medicine spoon to measure the adequate amount. You can easily get these from any pharmacy nearby.
Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the accurate amount of the drug.
Could this medication have any side effects on my child? Hyperlink to Side effects
Although medicines are given to make children feel better, sometimes, they may cause some unwanted side effects.
Side-effects that you need to be aware of:
Liver disease: If your child’s health deteriorates and falls sick every few hours, suffers from stomachache, skin and eyes are pale yellow in colour, feels lethargic and sleepy or increased number of seizures take them to your doctor straight away.

Other side-effects you should be aware of:

Your child may get these side-effects when they first start taking Oxcarbazepine.
Abdominal pain
Abnormal gait, change in behaviour
Low Sodium levels
Your child may be unusually sleepy

Your child may feel less hungry (lose their appetite) and feel sick (nausea) or be sick (vomit). These problems may be avoided by starting with a small dose with food and gradually increasing the dosage given.
They will be able to settle down within a week or so as their body gets used to the medicine. Continue to give Oxcarbazepine to your child as your doctor has directed you to.
If your child starts developing skin Rash, Stop Medications right there and SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ADVICE from your DOCTOR

Sometimes your child may experience other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice any abnormalities with your child’s body or behavior, do not hesitate and immediately contact your doctor.
Despite this long list of side effects, Oxcarbazepine is a very effective anti-epileptic (anticonvulsant) medicine and has very little effect on the child’s level of alertness, behaviour and learning abilities.


There is an option to check for a gene HLA – B 1502, which if present increases chance of above reaction (Stevens Johnson Syndrome), hence it’s use can be avoided.

Can other common medicines be given at the same time as Oxcarbazepine?
Medications like ibuprofen, paracetamol, antibiotics or any of the other over the counter medicines can be given when necessary, except the ones your doctor has prohibited you from.
Consult with your doctor before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.
Some other medicines used to treat epilepsy may affect how well Oxcarbazepine works or may cause side effects. If your child is experiencing more fits or seizures, or any other side effects after using other medications, talk to your doctor immediately.
Oxcarbazepine and pregnancy
Oxcarbazepine may harm an unborn baby.
The oral contraceptive pill may not be effective due to drug interaction. Hence an alternate form for contraception must be considered.

Where should I keep the medication?
Keep the medicine in a cupboard, secured away from heat and direct sunlight. It is not a must to keep the medicine in the refrigerator though.
Make sure the medicine is out of your child’s reach.
Store the medication in the same box it was packed in.
For more information please refer the manufacturer’s information leaflet.

References :

1. IAP Drug Formulary Web Update 2020(3) Edition 58, https://www.iapdrugformulary.com/Home
2. Consumer Medicines Information (CMI), https://www.tga.gov.au/consumer-medicines-information-cmi
3. British National Formulary for Children (BNFC) 4. Food and Drug Administration, USA https://www.fda.gov
Picture of Dr C P Ravikumar

Dr C P Ravikumar

Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore