Lamotrigine (la-MO-tri-geen)

 

Generic Name: Lamotrigine (la-MO-tri-geen)

Used to Treat: epilepsy

Seizure Type: All seizure types

Forms of the medicine:
Pill

Dosing:
100 mg. - 500 mg.

General Info:
What is Lamictal?
Lamictal (La-MIC-tal) is the brand name for the seizure medicine lamotrigine (la-MO-tri-geen). Lamictal is used to treat partial seizures in adults and partial and generalized seizures in children. Research has shown that this drug is effective for various seizure types, including partial seizures, generalized seizures of no known cause, and the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (a severe form of epilepsy). Lamictal is available in two forms: tablet and chewable dispersible tablets (can be chewed or dissolved in liquid).

How do I take Lamictal?
Lamictal may cause serious rashes that may need to be treated in a hospital or cause permanent disability or death. Thus it is important to take this medication exactly as it is prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts or longer than recommended by your doctor. Do not change your dosage without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor if the medication does not seem to work in treating your condition.

The tablets should be swallowed whole as they may leave a bitter taste if crushed. These may or may not be taken with food. It is recommended to take the medication in the same manner and at the same time each day. The chewable dispersible tablets may be crushed, chewed, or mixed with a tablespoon of liquid.

Your doctor will start you on low dose of lamotrigine and gradually increase your dose, not more than once every 1-2 weeks. You may be more likely to develop a serious rash if you take a higher starting dose or increase your dose faster than your doctor tells you that you should. Tell your doctor if you are taking valproic acid (Depakene) or divalproex (Depakote) because taking these medications with lamotrigine may increase your risk of developing a serious rash.

What if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take an extra dose, unless prescribed by your doctor.

What if I experience side effects?
Various side effects may occur in taking this medicine. Most side effects are not serious and may disappear naturally. Call your doctor if you have any questions concerning your possible side effects. However, do not stop taking your medication without advice from your doctor. They will discuss and recommend possible options for you. At times it is necessary to continue taking your medication despite these side effects.

There are other side effects that may be serious and indicate that your body is not tolerating the drug properly. Call a doctor right away if these side effects become severe or cause considerable problems in your daily functions. If you experience a change in seizures, severe rash, or allergic reaction contact your doctor immediately. If you experience persistent upset stomach, vomiting, or loss of appetite contact your doctor immediately.

Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Severe allergic reactions (rash, hives, difficulty swallowing / breathing, etc)
  • Chest pain
  • Signs of infection (fever, sore throat, etc)
  • Mental / mood swings
  • Depression, suicidal thoughts
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

Storage
Keep this medication in its original container, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store your prescription at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (i.e. not the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

Recommendation for women
Emerging data from the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry suggests an elevated prevalence of isolated, non-syndromic cleft palate deformity occurring in infants exposed to lamotrigine monotherapy during the first trimester of the mother’s pregnancy. Contact your doctor if you think you may be pregnant or are looking to conceive.

Other helpful information
Patients with liver disease or a history of an allergic reaction should not take Lamictal. Lamictal interacts with Dilantin, Tegretol, TegretolXR, Carbatrol, Phenobarbital and Depakene. The drug interacts with oral contraceptive drugs, lowering the effectiveness of both Lamictal and the oral contraceptive medication. The drug may be prescribed to patients on valproic acid but the combination is linked to higher rash rates unless a very slow titration upward of Lamictal is used at the start of therapy. Due to the drug interactions which produce high drug concentrations of both Depakote and Lamictal, the daily doses of both Lamictal and Depakote are typically much lower when they are used together than when they are used in monotherapy or when combined with other drugs. Because Lamictal has the potential to interact with many other commonly prescribed medications, it is important to let your doctor know if a new drug has been recently prescribed to you to make certain to correct for any potential drug interactions.

Side Effects

Ataxia, Blurred or double vision, Sleepiness, Skin rashes, Dizziness, Nausea, Headaches, Clumsiness, Drowsiness, Insomnia, Fatigue, Upset stomach, Vomiting, Difficulty concentrating