What happens with abrupt stop of Lamictal (Lamotrigine)?
Question posted by Blackey101 on 21 Jan 2013
Last updated on 15 August 2022
I have bipolar disorder and my psych put me on lamactil about 6 months ago. I had a good first experience, no real side effects, I'm already an insomniac. Then came Florence, the hurricane.
We were mandated to evacuate and we're gone far away for over a week. I already was low on meds so decreased from 2x a day to 1x a day. When we returned, I couldn't get my meds right away. I was off lamactil for a week.
I couldn't get out of bed, depression way worse and a feeling like I was stuck in quicksand and couldn't get out. I couldn't do any self care and barely cared for my disabled daughter. It was a nightmare.
Now I'm back in it, over 2 weeks and all the great help lamactil did seems over.
When is it going to kick in? Will it ever work again?? I'm so disappointed, cause it really gave me the lift I needed to get on with my life. I'm only on 25mg 3x a day now and Buspirone HCL 10mg 3x a day for anxiety. Any suggestions???
Hi Blackey101. I began taking Lamictal in 2003. After 14 years, long term use side effects began to occur, in my case severe gum disease with resultant loss of 10 teeth over the past 2 years and cataracts. My psychiatrist discontinued the Lamictal. He claimed there was no need to wean off of the medication and I followed his advice. I had no problems whatsoever other than the loss of mood stabilization. I do not recommend doing this without an order from your physician. I hope this helps. Good Luck!
I don't want to scare you but a couple of years ago I was weaning off my Lamictal from 250mg, I did it slowly until I got to 50mg and then figured I was safe to just stop from there. I was wrong. I had never had a seizure in my life until then. I was at work, about to send a fax and then I woke up on the floor in a puddle of blood with my nose broken, my lips split open and my two front teeth knocked out from fall flat on my face. Do NOT stop this med abruptly, do it slowly and in small increments.
"Following are some common withdrawal symptoms that you may experience upon abruptdiscontinuation of Lamictal. Keep in mind that everyone has a unique withdrawal experience and that your symptoms may not be the same severity as someone else going through the same withdrawal. Although it is important to know what symptoms are caused by withdrawal, it is also important not to psyche yourself out.
Anger, Anxiety, Balance problems, Bipolar symptoms, Concentration problems, Depression,
Dizziness, Fatigue, Headaches, Irritability, Mood swings,
In order to reduce severe withdrawal symptoms, it is important to titrate down from your current dose (i.e. conduct a taper). Tapering will give your body some time to gradually adjust to less of the drug. If you quit cold turkey, it can send both your body and brain into a chaotic state because they will be expecting to receive the drug.
People that have been taking Lamictal for an extended period of time have had to titrate up to their current dose. Therefore quitting cold turkey gives your body no time to readjust itself and is likely going to yield the most extreme withdrawal symptoms. Work with your doctor to come up with some sort of tapering protocol based on your current dosage so that you minimize your withdrawal.
Most people report feeling back to normal after 4 to 6 weeks of the drug being out of their system. As a general rule of thumb for more extreme withdrawal, I recommend judging symptoms after 90 days (3 months) of withdrawal. If you are transitioning to a different medication, the new medication that you are on may ease and/or mask the symptoms of Lamictal withdrawal.
I always recommend trusting your own experience in regards to symptoms. If you know that you are experiencing withdrawal or some sort of discontinuation syndrome, you probably are. Additionally don’t compare your withdrawal with that of others on forums – everyone is likely to have a different experience. Your best bet for ensuring quick recovery from withdrawal symptoms is to recognize them and do your best to cope with them knowing that you will eventually experience a full recovery."
Mental Health Daily
Mental Health Blog
I was on Lamictal, 150 mg daily for about 15 years, prescribed for bipolar. Started weaning off 4 weeks ago, down 1/4 tablet for one week, then half tablet, where I am now. The second two weeks were Hell. I was sick with headache, fever, gut problems. Now better but still have rash and gut issues. Will stick with half tab till symptom free then move on to1/4 tab. Yuk. Would never get on this stuff again.
Blackey101 DO NOT stop Lamictal Abruptly !! It must be weaned off slowly. :)
I've recently moved country and have run out of Lamotrogine (usually take 125mg 2x daily for tonic clonic seizures and have been for 6 years ). I can't get any more here as I'm not yet registered with doctors so have to wait until next week when my friend is visiting from home and bringing my prescription with her. I'm on my 4th day of no medication and it has been horrible. I have felt consistently dizzy and lightheaded, the most indescribable amount of confusion- I question absolutely everything I am doing as I am doing it and forget why I'm doing things halfway through doing them. The feeling that I'm going to have a fit has increased so much in the last 2 days that I couldn't work, leave the house, or even bed. On top of all of this it has given me extreme anxiety. DO NOT STOP TAKING THIS SUDDENLY, I wouldn't wish this on anyone!
I been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as well as adhd. I’m currently taking 200 mg of lamictal twice daily I’ve been seeing a counselor for a year this month she’s saying I don’t have bipolar disorder can I just stop the lamictal
I was on 300mg lamotrigine for 4y rs for BP, but recently added 20 mg Prozac and felt SO darn amazing that I insisted Dr. decrease Lamotrigine to 200mg/day. Its been 2 weeks now and I def. see a difference in mood. I am kind of melancholy and not as optimistic as I was a couple of weeks ago. Hate the idea of upping lamotrigine again, but hate the idea of living like this.
Hi all. Ive been on Lamotrigine for 4 years in combination with Toplep and Abilify. I have as of 3 weeks started tapering off the lamotrigine. I have had rather awful experiences such as severe panic attacks, insomnia, paranoia and depression. I also had racing thoughts, extreme fear and outbursts of anger. I am a lot better now and feeling more clear minded than I ever felt. It takes about 2 weeks to clear out of your system and I am on a very small dose now of 50mg.
The first few days were absolute hell and I thought I was never going to get through it. I do not advise anyone does this alone.
I take 300mg a day and was told by GNC that if I took 5-htp that would help and I could possibly get off Lamictal which would be great as I have no energy and 5-HTP is all natural and you can purchase at Walmart I just choose GNC as I wanted to look at all my options and they are trained in natural medicine.
I had a single seizure over 15 years ago and was prescribed Lamotrigine - 100 mg twice a day. I took it regularly until recently. I suggested to my doctor that I stop taking it and she said that would be okay and there was no need to stop gradually, because it was a low dose. I stopped 6 weeks ago. I am not aware of any difference to how I feel that could be put down to stopping it. I am relieved I've had no bad effects and disappointed I haven't had any of the positive effects I've read about.
A couple of days ago I had a partial seizure and had to go to the hospital. I'm taking it for bipolar and I forgot to take it for 4 days. It is very very important to make sure not to stop taking this medication. I had at least 7 seizure that day.
I wasn't on this medication for seizures, and I felt like crap for a couple weeks but once I started the probiotic I felt fine and have been off all meds for 2 years now. And I recommend probiotic to everyone!!! Your doctor can slowly take you off the same way they slowly put you on it
Please get weaned off. LAMICITAL primarily treats seizures, not just metal health help they later learned, so to stop abruptly you increase a risk of having seizures, spasms, uncontollable tics... check out all the info to your question right here on drugs.com, ought to be enough info/proof. . Please don't cold stop it!
I take 200 mg twice daily for seizures. One of the side effects of Lamotrigine is short term memory loss which happens all to often with me. In fact it happens so often that I occasionally forget to renew or refill my prescription before it runs out. I know I could do the auto-replenish system but I've had bad experiences with pharmacies screwing that up in the past plus I'm very OCD and like to micromanage everything. Anyway, I forgot to place a renewal last week and was forced to be without my medication for 3 entire days while the details were being worked out. That may not sound like much but in the case of Lamotrigine it's an eternity. I've lapsed before and the most common side effect has been disorientation and confusion. This time however it was that and worse. I've experienced minor spells of depression in the past but never like what happened this past weekend while off my meds.
When I had to repeatedly call the pharmacy and doctor's office to get the renewal straightened out I could barely formulate full sentences and my mood was so depressed I could barely express my immediate need for the drug. My pharmacist is in a grocery store and when I went to pick up the drug I felt like I was floating to the counter and speaking gibberish which was kind of embarrassing when around so many people. It's a good thing the pharmacist knows me and understands what I'm going through so I barely had to talk much at all. He just knew what to do. So all in all, do everything in your power to keep this drug in your system as it can do some real harm. I'm 38 and have been on this drug for the last 8+ years and as I get older I've noticed these side effects getting worse but the benefits of the drug outweigh the side effects as I haven't had a noticeable seizure in years. I say "noticeable" because mine are primarily nocturnal incidents which can leave pretty severe bodily injuries that effect me for many days afterwards.
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