19 Sep 2011
Lamictal Quick Facts
Lamictal is an anticonvulsant, typically used in psychiatric medicine as a mood stabilizer, particularly for bipolar disorder.
Other Brand Names: none
Generic Name: Lamotrigine
- Partial seizures
- Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
- Bipolar I Disorder
- Bipolar II Disorder
- Treatment-resistant depression
- Schizoaffective Disorder
- Depersonalization Disorder
Availability: 25mg, 50mg, 100mg, 200mg tablets
- Any known hypersensitivity to lamotrigine
- concurrent or recent use of valproate or carbamazepine
- kidney or liver disease
- loss of balance
- loss of coordination
- double vision
- crossed eyes
- blurred vision
- vivid dreams or nightmares
- dry mouth
- mouth ulcers
- memory problems
- cognitive problems
- mood changes
- runny nose
- abdominal pain
- missed or painful periods
- lymph node swelling
- rashes (note: rashes are common, about 5-10% experience this. If so, go to emergency at the first sign of rash. Fortunately, serious rashes are very rare (0.1%) and lead to death even rarer (0.002%).
Lamictal needs to be titrated up carefully, to avoid potentially harmful side effects. Typical titration is 25mg weeks 1-2, 50mg weeks 3-4, 100mg week 5 and 200mg week 6.
Black Box Warnings: may cause potentially life-threatening skin reactions. If any rash shows up, go to emergency immediately. May also cause aseptic meningitis.
Half-life: 24-34 hours
Lamictal should be tapered slowly to avoid withdrawal effects. Frequency of withdrawal effects are unknown.
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Ok, I’ve been on lamictal for almost 2 months now, I’m still at 100mg only (going up to 200mg eventually) and I have to say it’s working great for me in getting my moods stable already. I’m still having some ups and downs that I need to watch out for, but they’re not as bad as they were before. Though I’m wondering if I’m getting a little hypomanic lately, I’ve heard it can happen at the lowest doses.
For the trans women out there: estrogen is known to weaken the effect of lamictal. I’m noticing it myself, I just restarted taking estradiol (was off of it for economic reasons), and even though I’m at 175mg now, the depression has come back. Pretty sure I’m mixed at the moment, getting a lot of restlessness and agitation with it too.
Concurrent use of valproate/Epilim or carbamazepine/Tegretol isn’t a contraindication to Lamictal – but it *does* significantly affect doses. Co-administration of valproate approximately doubles Lamictal blood levels (ie you need to take half as much Lamictal to get the same effect). OTOH, co-administration of carbamazepine significantly lowers Lamictal blood levels.
I take lamictal for seizures. I experienced drowsiness, dizziness, lack of balance, and lack of coordination when I started taking it. I’ve gotten over the side effects and now I’m doing fine.