Lamictal

Generic Name: Lamotrigine

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Lamictal is a medicine used alone or in combination with other medicines to treat certain types of seizures in adults and children. It is also used for long-term treatment of bipolar disorder in adults. Lamictal is available as chewable tablets (called Lamictal Chewable Dispersible Tablets), orally disintegrating tablets (called Lamictal ODT), and regular tablets.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Lamictal is thought to help keep electrical signals balanced in the brain.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What:

    Seizures: Lamictal has been shown to decrease the frequency of seizures when taken alone or in combination with another seizure medication.

    Bipolar Disorder: Lamictal has been shown to lengthen the time between mood episodes (such as depression and mania) associated with bipolar disorder.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. You may not feel the full effect of Lamictal for several weeks. Therefore, it is important that you take Lamictal exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    Your healthcare provider will ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your seizures or bipolar disorder are controlled.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Lamictal may cause a serious, life-threatening skin reaction, especially in children. This chance is also increased if you are taking a medicine called valproate or if you are taking a higher than recommended dose of Lamictal. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have a skin rash, blistering or peeling of your skin, hives, or painful sores in your mouth or around your eyes.

    Seizures in Children

    More common side effects may include: fever, accidental injury, common cold, abdominal (stomach area) pain, infection, vomiting, shaking.

    Seizures in Adults

    More common side effects may include: dizziness, headache, double vision, problems with coordination, nausea, blurred vision, sleepiness, runny nose, rash.

    Bipolar Disorder

    More common side effects may include: nausea, difficulty falling asleep, sleepiness, back pain, tiredness, rash, runny nose, abdominal (stomach area) pain, dry mouth.

    Less common side effects of Lamictal may include:

    Lamictal can cause other types of serious allergic reactions that may affect your organs and other parts of your body, such as your liver and blood cells. This may occur with or without a rash, with symptoms such as fever; frequent infections; severe muscle pain; swelling of your face, eyes, lips, or tongue; unusual bruising or bleeding; weakness; tiredness; or yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

    Increased suicidal thoughts or actions, with symptoms such as having thoughts about suicide or dying; attempt to commit suicide; new or worse depression, anxiety, or irritability; panic attacks; trouble sleeping; feeling agitated or restless; acting aggressive, being angry, or violent; acting on dangerous impulses; an extreme increase in activity and talking; or other unusual changes in your behavior or mood.

    Aseptic meningitis (a brain or spinal cord inflammation), with symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, rash, unusual sensitivity to light, muscle pains, chills, confusion, or drowsiness.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Lamictal if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Lamictal. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have kidney or liver problems; are taking birth control pills or other hormone medicines for women; have or had depression, mood problems, or suicidal thought or behavior; have had meningitis after taking Lamictal; a rash or allergic reaction to another seizure medication (such as valproate); or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults and children ≥ 2 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you or your child, based on the condition, weight, or if you or your child are taking other medications.

    If you have kidney or liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    It is important that you do not stop taking this medication abruptly. If you need to change or stop taking this medication, it is important that you only do this with the guidance of your healthcare provider.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Lamictal exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Lamictal without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Swallow Lamictal tablets whole. Tell your healthcare provider if you have trouble swallowing Lamictal tablets.

    If you are taking Lamictal orally disintegrating tablets, place it on your tongue and move it around your mouth. The tablet will rapidly dissolve. Swallow it with or without water and take it with or without food.

    If you are taking Lamictal chewable dispersible tablets, swallow them whole, chew them, or mix them in water or diluted fruit juice. If you are chewing them, drink a small amount of water or diluted fruit juice to help you swallow.

    To mix the chewable dispersible tablets in liquid, add the tablets to a small amount of water or diluted juice (1 teaspoon or enough to cover the tablets) in a glass or spoon. Wait at least 1 minute or until the tablet is completely broken up, then mix the solution together. Take the entire amount right away.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drive or operate dangerous machinery until you know how Lamictal affects you.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Lamictal is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Lamictal with the following: birth control pills, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, rifampin, or valproate.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Lamictal during pregnancy are unknown. Lamictal can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    If you become pregnant while taking Lamictal, talk to your healthcare provider about registering with the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the safety of seizure medicines during pregnancy.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Lamictal, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature. Protect from light and moisture.

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