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What happens with abrupt stop of Lamictal (Lamotrigine)?

19 Answers

wakenda 2 Nov 2018

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???

Votes: +0
ImW8ing 24 Oct 2018

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!

Votes: +1
Carri Jo 2 days 3 hours ago

Me too

Giaddot 29 April 2018

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.

Votes: +4
WildcatVet 9 Dec 2017

"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,
Tingling.
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.

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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

Votes: +1
Stella2010 9 Dec 2017

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. :)

Votes: +1
Mellowyellow1234 5 Dec 2017

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!

Votes: +1
Link12u 20 Sep 2018

I recently ran out of lamotrigine for 4 days. I take it for mood and depression due to bipolar disorder. What a total nightmare! I take 300 mg. at night. I was convinced that I had a stroke. Disoriented, numbness, loss of motor control increased tremors and hallucination and increased sensory stimulation to sounds and light
Have back issues so at first believed it had deteriorated. I am knocking on the door of paralysis therefore some of these symptoms made sense. Upon first dose on refill all symptoms completely were gone next morning. What a frightening experience.Never again!!!

Nicolehope 20 Oct 2017

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

Votes: +0
Gaz2217 20 Oct 2017

My wife suddenly stopped and she has epilepsy. A couple of days later she was in hospital after her worst night of seizures so far. She is now on three times the dose she was originally on.

Link12u 20 Sep 2018

No!!! Do not take the chance!!! Thought I was having a serious stroke. After 4 days back on all symptoms cleared. Very dangerous!!!

Carri Jo 2 days 3 hours ago

It is unethical and possibly illegal for a counselor to make a clinical diagnosis. Only a licensed psychiatrist, nurse practitioner and maybe a physician’s assistant are qualified to assess a condition like bipolar. Even you and I are not qualified to make the diagnosis that we are or are not bipolar. There are lots of derogatory side effects from abruptly stopping lamictal.
Nausea
Insomnia
Runny nose
Non-serious rash
Headache
Diarrhea
Abnormal dreams
Dizziness or drowsiness
Fatigue
Rare/serious side effects

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A serious, life-threatening skin rash (also known as Stevens–Johnson Syndrome) may occur with the use of lamotrigine. Contact your health care provider immediately if you have any of the following: a skin rash, blistering or peeling of your skin, hives, shortness of breath, or painful sores in your mouth or around your eyes. Extra caution is needed in children and teenagers ages 2-17 receiving lamotrigine. These patients may be at an increased risk of developing this life-threatening rash.
However, studies show that people who take lamictal are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts compared to those taking a placebo. I’m not qualified to give you medical advice, however, my own experience with lamictal and a bipolar disorder diagnosis have taught me enough to know that I need a psychiatrist to help me make decisions about my mental health and it’s medications.
PS. I ran out of lamictal once for 3 days and had a manic episode that cost me my job, caused paranoia and hallucinations that lasted so long I qualified for disability and have never made a full recovery. That was 8 years ago. I wish you all the best.

deedeelee 11 May 2017

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.

Votes: +0
tarrynh 3 March 2017

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.

Votes: +1
sunset13 2 March 2017

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.

Votes: +0
ElizabethN 17 Feb 2017

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.

Votes: +0
ElizabethN 20 Feb 2017

But now, I think I have a side effect. I am finding I have less get-up-and-go than usual and am finding it difficult to get things done efficiently. I have been getting so sleepy early in the evening, that I have given up trying to stay awake and have gone to bed early. Recently, I have slept for nearly nine hours some nights, which is much more than usual for me. I looked it up and found it may be a symptom of giving up Lamotrigine. It seems odd that it did not become obvious for about six weeks, but I travelled abroad during that time and had to cope with time changes and jet lag, so maybe that hid the symptoms. I hope I will get back to a seven hour night and feeling energetic again, as I am frustrated at getting less done than usual.

ElizabethN 20 Feb 2017

I would be interested to hear whether or not other readers have had these symptoms or think they are genuinely a symptom of giving up Lamotrigine. If they are, I hope they will go. If they are not, perhaps I should be worried about what is causing them.

ElizabethN 11 May 2017

To follow up on my comments in January and February, over three months after stopping Lamotrigine and over 15 years since my only seizure, I had another full blown seizure in April, including ambulance to hospital. So now I'm taking it again, probably forever, as I have never had any side effects that I am aware of. If it prevents seizures with no side effects, it's worth if for me.

Gaz2217 2 Oct 2017

My wife had her first seizure aged 31 roughly 5 months ago. She has nocturnal seizures which the Dr says are a type of provoked epilepsy. She was given Keppra which worked and stopped the seizures. She had 3 tonic clonic ones over a 2 week period then only a few slight jerks a couple of times. After 4 weeks of Keppra she felt horrible, lack of anything, agitated and moods all over the place. She was then given lanictal starting at 25 twice a day then eventually up to double that. She hates any medication and stayed on 25 twice a day. She'd gone 4 months without a seizure but had started feeling very low again. I'd noticed her change over a 2 week period, her moods all over the place again and extremely snappy. I came home one night and she went to bed in tears for no reason. The next day I reluctantly backed her to go down to just one 25mg tablet a day. Within days she felt back to normal but had decided to come off them fully.

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I asked her to wait till after I'd returned from working away though due to the risk of her having a seizure. During the 3 previous ones she'd walked round the house with zero awareness and we have 3 young children. I returned home last Friday to find out she'd fully stopped taking her meds on the Tuesday. She's been fine all day then I woke up to her another seizure at 1.45 this morning. I had to call an ambulance as it lasted twenty minutes and was confused for an hour. She will be now going the Doctors again tomorrow for more lanictal. I'd thought due to her only being on 25mg daily that she'd have a good chance of being OK coming off them.

ElizabethN 2 Oct 2017

To follow up: Having given up Lamotrigine at the beginning of January with no effects for three months, I had a big seizure at the end of March. My son was with me. He called an ambulance and I was taken to hospital, but kept in for only a few hours. I went home and started the Lamotrigine again, just 100 mg twice a day as before. As I have had no symptoms that I am aware of - good or bad - I shall just keep taking it now. It is easy to take and if it prevents another seizure it is worth it. It costs me nothing, because I live in England and treatments for epilepsy are free.

For your interest, in England there are charges for some prescriptions for some medicines for some groups that are not exempt, but the maximum charge is £8.40 ($11.20) for a prescription from a doctor. In other parts of the UK, there are no charges at all for any prescribed medicines. About £1000 (($1333) of my taxes goes to the National Health Service. I don't know what the situation is in the USA with Obamacare.

ElizabethN 2 Oct 2017

By the way, I didn't have any more of the symptoms I mentioned in another message. Now I think the wave of tiredness was simply due to jet lag from a journey a week earlier!

ElizabethN 2 Oct 2017

I forgot about one of my previous messages. It was the beginning of April, not the end of March, that I had my second seizure and I had already written about it.

Truey777 24 Jan 2018

I’m currently going through this now. So glad you posted this.

Ashestonix 10 Dec 2016

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.

Votes: +0
Ashsmith 10 Dec 2016

That it's awful. So sorry. I actually came off it quite easy and was taking it for bipolar as well. I was only on it for a few months. I am not a Dr and everyone is different. For me it was easy, just had to stick out the no appetite and not being able to sleep. That didn't last to long. Best of luck!

Ashestonix 10 Dec 2016

Oh that's good. I've been on it for about 9 years

Inactive 5 Feb 2017

Im not taking this for seizures or bipolar. I honestly question my doc putting me on this at all. Since she did though, i did get a rash that she hasnt been able to tell me was casued by. Ive been concerned about it the rash just keeps getting worse. So im stopping this now. Are you saying you werent on it for seizures but since stopping, had one??

bonafide_tiff 7 March 2017

TonyM
Lamictal may cause a severe or life-threatening skin rash, especially in children and in people who take too high a dose at the start of treatment. Serious skin rash may also be more likely to occur if you are taking lamotrigine together with valproic acid (Depakene) or divalproex (Depakote)

Ashsmith 20 Nov 2016

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

Votes: +3
shellybeans 3 Aug 2016

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!

Votes: +1
Anon1977 2 Aug 2016

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.

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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.

Votes: +1
HendrixChick 3 April 2017

Hello! Hopefully this will get to you. I've just started Lamotrigine for tonic clonic seizures - I've only had 2 in the past 3 years, but they are starting me on Lamotrigine. I'm 5 weeks in, going up slowly - I'm at 50mg every other day now and will be taking 100mg/day in a few weeks. I constantly feel like I'm floating and can't get words out. Did you have any side effects when you started and if so, did they subside? I can't go on like this. 24/7 dizziness, floating and anxiety.

zanoni314151 3 Feb 2018

Please folks consider cannabis as an alternative. The Creator has given us many natural cures that have been used for centuries. Type in Doctor Sanje Gupta a man once skeptical about cannabis until he decided to stop believing others and traveled around the US to see for himself. His insights are worth your time. His findings concerning childhood seizures are worth checking out. Cannabis has no known side effects and if you are reluctant to get high on THC, they have cannabis products with the THC removed. God Bless

lizzz1951 10 Oct 2018

I have been taking 25mg twice daily I haven't felt good and face swelled and got rash. So I been off since Sunday. I have headache, muscle cramps and twitches.. I can't eat, have lost 5 pounds, that's the only good part. How long will this last?

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lamictal, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, restless legs syndrome, lamotrigine

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