Lamotrigine: medicine to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder

Abstract

Weight gain or loss is not an integral part of epilepsy although a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to weight gain. Pharmacological treatment for epilepsy may be associated with substantial weight changes that may increase morbidity and impair adherence to the treatment regimen.

Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) associated with weight loss are felbamate, topiramate, and zonisamide. AEDs associated with weight gain are gabapentin, pregabalin, valproic acid, and vigabatrin and possibly, carbamazepine.

Weight neutral AEDs are lamotrigine, levetiracetam, and phenytoin. In clinical practice it is critical to weigh patients regularly and AED selection should be based on each patient’s profile without sacrificing therapeutic efficacy.

Aseptic meningitis

This is inflammation of the protective membrane that covers your brain and spinal cord. Symptoms can include:

  • headache
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stiff neck
  • rash
  • unusual sensitivity to light
  • muscle pains
  • chills
  • confusion
  • drowsiness

Consumer resources

Other brands:Subvenite

Interactions

If you take Lamictal with certain drugs, the interaction may cause side effects. Interactions may also cause one or more of the drugs to stop working normally.

Taking the anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drugs valproic acid or divalproex sodium (Depakene, Depakote) along with Lamictal can double the amount of Lamictal that stays in your body. This effect can greatly increase your chances of side effects from Lamictal.

On the other hand, taking the anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drugs carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), phenobarbital (Luminal), or primidone (Mysoline) along with Lamictal can decrease the levels of Lamictal in your body by about 40 percent.

Estrogen-containing birth control pills and the antibiotic rifampin (Rifadin) also can decrease Lamictal levels by about 50 percent. These effects can greatly reduce how well Lamictal works to treat your bipolar symptoms.

Oct 4, 2010
(Started Jul 11, 2010)

  • Effectiveness


    Slight
    (for epilepsy)

  • Side effects

    Severe
    (ringing in ears (tinnitus), diarrhea, loss of short term memory, headaches in morning)

  • Burden


    Somewhat hard to take

Dosage:
300 mg
Daily

Advice {amp}amp; Tips:
the stomach issue cramps,and very bad diarea. I am getting monatary help they are sent to me in the mail

Side effects:
headaches in morning, loss of short term memory, diarrhea, ringing in ears (tinnitus)

  • Effectiveness


    Major
    (for epilepsy)

  • Side effects


    Moderate
    (insomnia, diarrhea, hair loss, double vision (diplopia), dry mouth, headaches, thirst, loss of fine motor skills, dry hair, muscle spasms, unintentional weight loss, dry tongue)

  • Burden


    Not at all hard to take

Dosage:
200 mg
Daily

Advice {amp}amp; Tips:
Seems to decrease cognitive side effects from the Topamax, does not cause major drowsiness like other AEDs I have tried, only need to take once per day.

Cost:
$50-99 monthly

Side effects:
muscle spasms, dry tongue, double vision (diplopia), diarrhea, loss of fine motor skills, dry hair, hair loss, unintentional weight loss, thirst, dry mouth, headaches, insomnia, dry mouth

  • Effectiveness


    Major
    (for epilepsy)

  • Side effects


    Moderate
    (insomnia, headaches, muscle spasms, dry tongue)

  • Burden


    Not at all hard to take

Dosage:
100 mg
Daily

Advice {amp}amp; Tips:
An unexpected benefit of Lamictal XR is that it has helped counteract some of the moodiness that the Keppra had induced in me. Lamictal XR has been an okay drug thus far, the main issues I have with it are major body aches and the occasional headache.

Cost:
$50-99 monthly

Side effects:
muscle spasms, dry tongue, double vision (diplopia), diarrhea, loss of fine motor skills, dry hair, hair loss, unintentional weight loss, thirst, dry mouth, headaches, insomnia, dry mouth

  • Effectiveness


    Slight
    (for seizures (grand mal or tonic-clonic))

  • Side effects


    Moderate
    (dizziness, nausea and vomiting)

  • Burden


    Somewhat hard to take

Dosage:
200 mg
Daily

Advice {amp}amp; Tips:
I am getting tired of this medication experimentation thing, really.

Cost:
$200 monthly

Side effects:
nausea and vomiting, dizziness

  • Effectiveness


    Slight
    (for seizures (grand mal or tonic-clonic))

Advice {amp}amp; Tips:
I think this medicine is more of a mood stabalizer, not a good anti convulsant. I am on a » good week» right now, expecting my monthly TC in a few days, stress and anxiety are what brings on my seizures, along with the inability to sleep a full night, I have to NOT BY CHOICE take several naps a day, because I will just fall asleep.

This med is probably the best I used for my epilepsy, considering the others made me want to do really bad things, anger, horrible it was. I really hate taking meds everyday, and my Dr keeps increasing my dose every 2 weeks, when we are on the increase I always have really bad depression, fatigue, mood swings, dizzy, cannot sleep, cant get off the couch or floor, and depressing thoughts fill my head, I feel like I am not in my own body, and I always freak out, and call my DR, to make sure I am not going crazy, but they are NO help, he tells me to see a shrink. which I am starting to do next Tuesday.

Cost:
$200 monthly

Side effects:
nausea and vomiting, dizziness

  • Effectiveness


    Major
    (for seizures (absence or petit mal))

  • Side effects


    Moderate
    (short term memory problems, sleepiness)

  • Burden


    Not at all hard to take

Dosage:
50 mg
Daily

Advice {amp}amp; Tips:
Short term memory problems.

Side effects:
short term memory problems, sleepiness

  • Effectiveness


    Slight
    (for bipolar disorder)

  • Side effects


    Moderate
    (memory problems)

  • Burden


    Somewhat hard to take

Dosage:
25 mg
Daily

Advice {amp}amp; Tips:
short term memory worsened

Cost:
{amp}lt; $25 monthly

Side effects:
memory problems

Jun 14, 2010
(Started Apr 01, 2009)

  • Effectiveness


    Moderate
    (for bipolar disorder)

  • Burden


    Not at all hard to take

Dosage:
100 mg
Daily

Cost:
{amp}lt; $25 monthly

Side effects:
constipation, rash on legs, dizziness, sedation, dizziness

  • Effectiveness


    Moderate
    (for epilepsy)

  • Burden


    Somewhat hard to take

Dosage:
400 mg
All the time (24/7)

Advice {amp}amp; Tips:
This is the strongest of my frequent anti-seizure medication. Makes me tired most of the time. Again, every four to six months I have breakthrough seizures so it does work work most of the time.

Mar 17, 2010
(Started Apr 01, 2009)

  • Effectiveness


    Major
    (for bipolar disorder)

  • Side effects


    Mild
    (constipation, rash on legs)

  • Burden


    Not at all hard to take

Dosage:
100 mg
Daily

Cost:
{amp}lt; $25 monthly

Side effects:
constipation, rash on legs, dizziness, sedation, dizziness

  • Effectiveness


    Major
    (for bipolar disorder)

  • Side effects


    Moderate
    (constipation, rash on legs)

  • Burden


    Not at all hard to take

Dosage:
100 mg
Daily

Advice {amp}amp; Tips:
Watch out for constipation

Cost:
{amp}lt; $25 monthly

Side effects:
constipation, rash on legs, dizziness, sedation, dizziness

Lamotrigine and breastfeeding

If your doctor or health visitor says your baby is healthy, lamotrigine can be taken while you’re breastfeeding.

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