Calf Pain and Carbatrol

By Chris Coon from Watertown, NY on January 05, 2009
Category: Carbatrol (Oral)

I am a 48 year old male who has been very active all my life.  I have had a complex partial (?)seizure disorder since December of 2003.  The seizures have been controlled since January of 2005 when I started Carbatrol.  I am currently taking 900mg per day, and have not had a seizure since Nov 30, 2006.  I am on no other medications, have normal blood pressure, am 6' 0" 190lbs ,do not smoke, and am otherwise very healthy as far as I know.

In December of 2007 I began training for a 10 mile running race which I successfully completed.  I began my training in December running 5 miles a week and completed my training in May running 30 miles per week with no problems. 

 Shortly after running the race, while training (jogging),  I experienced a sharp pain in my left calf muscle which prevented me from running.  This was in May of 2007.  Since then I have been unable to do any running in excess of 7 miles per week at a very low intensity (4.5 mph - instead of 7mph).  Any time I increase mileage or intensity I suffer an injury to one of my calf muscles (right or left leg).

When the injury occurs it occurs quickly. One stride I'm fine, the next a sharp pain which feels like a cramp, however I am unable to run, and experience pain during normal daily activities for 7 - 10 days.  I also have swelling in the calf muscle of the injured leg.  The injury occurs in both legs.

I monitor my running intensity using a heart rate monitor, and try to never increase my mileages by more than 10% a week.  During the approx 18 months since this started I have taken up to 10 week rests to allow the injury to fully heal.  When I start back I am ok for a few weeks until my weekly mileages equal 10-12 miles, then it happens again.

My calf muscles often feel swollen and tight.  I refer to them as "puffy" calves. 

It is not as bad when I bike.  I have ridden numerous 60-90 mile bike rides during this time, (however I have trouble completing a 5 mile run??).

I have discussed with my neurologist (who is not that interested as long as the seizures are controlled), Physical Therapists (who gave me some calf strengthening exercises which I do; calf raises which sometimes lead to injury the next time I run), Orthopedic Surgeon (blank stare, wanted to replace hip), Vascular Surgeon (no vein problem, could be Compartment Syndrome - I don't think so because it continues to hurt for 10 days), Chiropractor (treated for seven weeks with soft muscle massage and stretching), my family doctor ("if R.I.C.E. dosn't work, discontinue running" - not yet accepable to me).

I have read that a side effect of Carbatrol is "calf pain, swelling or tenderness."

Could the Carbatrol be causing my problems?  What other seizure drugs might I have success with (I was on Keppra a year with seizures every 2 weeks before being switched to, and having success with Carbatrol)?  Is there a medicine which combats the calf pain (my blood samples are normal and I have taken numerous diet supplements during this time)?

The description of the side effect re calf pain is very brief.  Is there more detail or description of this side effect?

 Any advice or thoughts?





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