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Lamictal

Generic Name: lamotrigine (la MOE tri jeen)
Brand Name: LaMICtal, LaMICtal ODT, LaMICtal XR

Medically reviewed on April 30, 2018

What is lamotrigine?

Lamotrigine is an anti-epileptic medication, also called an anticonvulsant.

Lamotrigine is used either alone or in combination with other medications to treat epileptic seizures in adults and children. Lamotrigine is also used to delay mood episodes in adults with bipolar disorder (manic depression).

The immediate-release form of lamotrigine (Lamictal, Lamictal ODT) can be used in children as young as 2 years old when it is given as part of a combination of seizure medications. However, this form should not be used as a single medication in a child or teenager who is younger than 16 years old.

The extended-release form of lamotrigine (Lamictal XR) is for use only in adults and children who are at least 13 years old.

Lamotrigine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Lamotrigine may cause a severe or life-threatening skin rash, especially in children and in people who take too high of a starting a dose, or those who also take valproic acid (Depakene) or divalproex (Depakote).

Seek emergency medical attention if you have a fever or rash.

Before taking this medicine

You should not take lamotrigine if you are allergic to it.

Lamotrigine 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).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • kidney or liver disease;

  • depression, suicidal thoughts or actions; or

  • an allergy to a seizure medication.

Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking this medicine. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Do not start or stop taking seizure medication during pregnancy without your doctor's advice. Having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both mother and baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of lamotrigine on the baby.

Birth control pills can make lamotrigine less effective, resulting in increased seizures. Tell your doctor if you start or stop using birth control pills while you are taking lamotrigine. Your lamotrigine dose may need to be changed.

It may not be safe to breast-feed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

How should I take lamotrigine?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Taking too much lamotrigine at the start of treatment may increase your risk of a severe life-threatening skin rash.

You may need frequent blood tests to help your doctor make sure you are taking the right dose of lamotrigine.

Extended-release lamotrigine (Lamictal XR) may be used for different conditions than immediate-release lamotrigine is used for. Always check your refills to make sure you have received the correct size, color, and shape of tablet. Ask the pharmacist if you have any questions about the medicine you receive at the pharmacy.

If you switch to lamotrigine from another seizure medicine, carefully follow your doctor's instructions about the timing and dosage of your medications. Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Do not crush, chew, or break the regular or the extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.

Remove an orally disintegrating tablet (ODT) from the package only when you are ready to take the medicine. Place the tablet in your mouth and allow it to dissolve, without chewing. Swallow several times as the tablet dissolves.

To take the chewable dispersible tablet, you may either swallow it whole with a glass of water, or chew it first and then swallow it. You may also place the tablet into 1 teaspoon of water or diluted fruit juice and allow it to disperse in the liquid for about 1 minute. Gently swirl the liquid and then swallow all of the mixture right away. Do not save it for later use.

Do not stop using lamotrigine suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.

In case of emergency, wear or carry medical identification to let others know you use seizure medication.

This medicine may affect a drug-screening urine test and you may have false results. Tell the laboratory staff that you use lamotrigine.

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include blurred vision, problems with coordination, increased seizures, feeling light-headed, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking lamotrigine?

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.

Lamotrigine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

If you have to stop taking lamotrigine because of a serious skin rash, you may not be able to take it again in the future.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, or if you feel agitated, hostile, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • any skin rash, no matter how mild;

  • vision problems;

  • trouble walking;

  • a seizure;

  • low blood cell counts--fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath;

  • possible signs of brain inflammation--headache, neck stiffness, increased sensitivity to light, purple spots on the skin, confusion, drowsiness; or

  • signs of inflammation in your body--swollen glands, tingling or numbness, muscle weakness, stomach pain or tenderness, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), chest pain, new or worsening cough.

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect lamotrigine?

Other drugs may affect lamotrigine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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