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Carbamazepine is an anticonvulsant forming part of the class of drugs known as sodium channel blockers. It calms overstimulated nerves in the brain by influencing the transmission of information via the nerves. Carbamazepine is prescribed to treat epilepsy, manic depression, neuralgia, diabetes insipidus and alcohol withdrawal.

Carbamazepine and the benefit of DNA analysis

The risk of side effects resulting from a treatment with carbamazepine varies from one individual to another. This means that the efficacy and side effects of carbamazepine can be predicted to some extent on the basis of your genes. Preventive DNA analysis can therefore be an important tool in optimising your medication.

Carbamazepine and the HLA-A*3101 gene

As a result of genetic variations, your body may not produce certain proteins or may produce them with an abnormal composition, potentially changing the way in which drugs are processed.

It is known, for example, that mutations in the HLA-A*3101 gene may be partly responsible for triggering a hypersensitivity reaction to a carbamazepine treatment. If you are HLA-A*3101 positive, your risk of experiencing (generally mild) side effects is significantly increased.

Information about your genetic predisposition may therefore provide grounds for extra vigilance in relation to a treatment with carbamazepine.

Read more about HLA-A*3101 »