Tegretol & Medical Alert Bracelets
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Q:  Why do I have to wear a medical alert bracelet for Tegretol, when I use the medicine for depression as a mood stabilerizer?

Dear Ms. S' -- 
That's a good question.  I would have presumed the alert was effectively for epilepsy, not for Tegretol as such.  Like wearing one that says you have diabetes, or an allergy to peanuts, or something.  I haven't heard of wearing one just to say you're taking that medication, and none of my patients wear one like that, nor has anyone asked about this.  

However, it is true that while you're taking Tegretol your liver works faster chewing up medications.  So I suppose one could say this alert is to tell someone, in case you couldn't, that you're taking Tegretol so you might need bigger doses of emergency medications if you needed them and couldn't communicate at the time (e.g. like a diabetic bracelet allows EMT's to know that this person might be unconscious because of their glucose, measure it quick; that kind of thing).  Never heard of it, but I suppose it might be a precaution one could take.  

Compare epilepsy to bipolar:  with epilepsy you might indeed be unconscious (right after a seizure) and the emergency response team would get a handy clue from your bracelet.  Why would you need this kind of thing if you have bipolar disorder?  I know, that's your question too.  Not sure, myself. 

Dr. Phelps

Published September, 2003


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