What Factors Affect a Sufficient Oxcarbazepine Dose?

S. Berger

Oxcarbazepine is a medication that is part of a broad class of drugs known as anticonvulsants, and it is used to treat epilepsy, as well as some anxiety disorders. It reduces the electrical activity of certain brain cells called neurons, and also decreases activity at neuronal receptors that specifically bind the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. These multiple modes of action allow this drug to effectively treat multiple medical conditions. Several factors may contribute to a sufficient oxcarbazepine dose, like the age and weight of the patient, and the potential presence of certain contemporaneous pre-existing medical conditions.


To treat adult epilepsy, a patient is usually given an initial oxcarbazepine dose of 600 milligrams(mg) every day. The dose can be increased by up to 600 mg per day once each week, up to 2,400 mg per day, taken as two equal, smaller dosages. Patients should not usually take more than 2,400 mg per day. Although increasing the dose would probably increase efficacy in most people, the side effects become overwhelming for many people at this point.

Pediatric dosing for seizures from epilepsy and other disorders depends, at least in part, on the weight of the child. Children that weigh between 20 kilograms (kg) and 29 kg, or 44 pounds (lb) to 64 lb should receive an oxcarbazepine dose of not more than 900 mg each day, divided into two equal, smaller doses. This division of doses is also followed for children of other weight groups; those weighing between 29 kg and 39 kg, or 65 lb and 86 lb, may take a maximum dose of 1,200 mg per day. Those children that weigh more than 39 kg, or 86 lb, may take up to 1,800 mg per day. Smaller doses may be considered for children lighter than 20 kg, or 44 lb, or young children between two and four years of age.

Patients with damage to their kidneys, or pre-existing renal conditions, may have their oxcarbazepine dose altered from one that a healthy adult would take. Kidney conditions can affect the rate at which many drugs, including oxcarbazepine, are eliminated from the body. This means that renal conditions may cause this medication to remain in the body for a longer period of time than it would in most people, making each oxcarbazepine dose have a somewhat stronger effect. For this reason, dosages for this drug are usually cut in half, meaning an adult would start at 300 mg per day, and increased by this amount until a sufficient dose is found.

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