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  • Updated 09.12.2021
  • Released 12.15.1998
  • Expires For CME 09.12.2024



Historical note and terminology

Carbamazepine is classified as an antiepileptic drug, although it is used for other indications as well. The era of antiepileptic drugs started with the introduction of bromides in 1857 and was followed by the discovery of the anticonvulsant effect of barbiturates in 1912 (12) and then by hydantoins a few years later (33). Several years elapsed without any further drug development in this area when, during the development of the antidepressant drug imipramine, carbamazepine (a related compound) was synthesized and shown to have antiepileptic properties (28). Efficacy in treating epilepsy was demonstrated by clinical trials (16). The beneficial effect of carbamazepine on trigeminal neuralgia was also demonstrated (03). The compound was developed and introduced into clinical practice as an antiepileptic drug in 1963 in the United Kingdom and Switzerland. It was initially used in the 1960s for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia in the United States and was approved later for the treatment of epilepsy. Classical reviews of carbamazepine include 2 monographs (29; 14).

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