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What is Lamotrigine?
Lamotrigine is an anticonvulsant or an anti-epileptic drug. It is marketed and sold under various trade names throughout the world, some of which are Lamictal, Lamitor, and Lametec (made by Cipla).
Lamotrigine is prescribed either as a standalone medication or in combination with other drugs to treat epileptic seizures in both adult and children. This medication is also used to delay mood episodes in adults who have bipolar disorder (manic depression).
Lamotrigine may also be given for conditions not mentioned here.
Important Information about Lamotrigine
The immediate-release type of Lamotrigine anti covulsant medication (Lamictal, Lamitor, Lametec) is suitable for children as young as 2 years old when given as part of a combination of seizure medications. It should however, not be used as a standalone medication in a child or teenager below 16 years of age. The extended-release form of Lamotrigine on the other hand is only recommended for people above 13 years of age.
Before taking Lamotrigine, let your doctor know if you have kidney or liver disease, past episodes of depression or suicidal thoughts, or if you are allergic to other seizure medicines.
Lamotrigine usage may result in severe or life-threatening skin rash, especially in children and in people who take a very high dose in the initial stage of the treatment. A severe skin rash is likely to occur if Lamotrigine is taken with other medications like valproic acid or divalproex. Get urgent medical attention if you experience these conditions after taking Lamotrigine: fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning sensation in eyes, skin pain followed by red or purple colored rash that spreads (primarily in the face or upper body) causing blisters and peeling
Lamotrigine usage causes suicidal thoughts. This side effect may require you to undergo regular follow up checks by your doctor. You must notify your doctor about any new or deteriorating symptoms like mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, suicidal or self hurting thoughts, increased agitation, hostility, restlessness, hyperactivity (mentally or physically).
Avoid stopping Lamotrigine medication suddenly without the advice of your doctor, even if you feel alright. Your condition may become worse with increased seizures if you stop this medication suddenly. Lamotrigine is not recommended during early pregnancy as it can increase the risk of cleft lip or cleft palate in the baby. Inform your doctor in advance if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Birth control pills can reduce the effectiveness of Lamotrigine. Notify your doctor if you use birth control pills as your Lamotrigine dosage may need adjustment if taken while on birth control pills.
Before taking Lamotrigine
You must not take Lamotrigine anti convulsant medication (Lamictal, Lamitor, Lametec) if you are allergic to it or other seizure medications. Ensure that you keep in mind all the precautions mentioned above before taking this medication and discuss about them with your doctor. Do not hesitate to ask any questions to your doctor or pharmacist which you may have regarding Lamotrigine. All medications come with patient leaflet. Read the instructions on them carefully.
How should I take Lamotrigine?
Take Lamotrigine (Lamictal, Lamitor, Lametec) strictly according to your doctor's direction or according to the instructions on the medication label. Do not alter the dosage unless your doctor advises you to do so. Your doctor may occasionally change the dosage over several weeks or months to ensure proper treatment. Follow your doctor's directions properly. Also, do not take this medication after the prescribed period is over. Avoid taking a high dose at the start of the treatment as doing so may increase the risk of contracting a severe and life threatening skin rash.
Avoid crushing, chewing, or breaking a regular Lamotrigine tablet and swallow it whole. While taking an orally disintegrating tablet of Lamotrigine, place the tablet on your tongue and motion it in your mouth. Let it dissolve fully and swallow several times as the tablet disintegrates. You may take some liquid to help swallow the disintegrated tablet. To take the chewable dispersible tablet, you may swallow it whole with a glass of water, or swallow if after chewing it. You can also disperse the tablet in a teaspoon of water or fruit juice and then drink it. Always store Lamotrigine in a cool and dry place.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Lamotrigine, take it as soon as you remember. Don't take the missed dose if the time to take the next dose is almost up. Taking multiple doses near to each other can lead to excess medication in your body which can be harmful.
What if I overdose?
In case of an overdose of Lamotrigine, get emergency medical attention or call the Doctor immetiately. Overdose may lead to blurred vision, co-ordination problems, increased seizures, light headedness, or fainting
Things and Activities to avoid while taking Lamotrigine
Lamotrigine may cause blurred vision and impact your thinking capability and reflexes which can make activities like driving difficult and intimidating. Be extra careful while indulging in such activities or keep them to minimum and do it when absolutely necessary while taking this medication.
Side Effects of Lamotrigine
Lamotrigine (Lamictal, Lamitor, Lametec) like all medications may have side effects. Some side effects of this medication are dizziness, drowsiness, headache, blurred or double vision, loss of coordination, shaking (tremor), nausea, vomiting, or upset stomach. If any of these conditions persist for too long and deteriorate, seek immediate medical attention.
Few people who take Lamotrigine are known to suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts or attempts, or any other mood or behavior based problems. Let your doctor know right away if you, your family member or caregiver witness any odd mood changes or behavior in you while taking Lamotrigine. A severe allergic reaction due to Lamotrigine usage is very rare and unlikely; but seek emergency medical attention if you get skin hives, breathing problems, or swelling in face, mouth, lips, or throat. These are not the only side effects of Lamotrigine anti convulsant medication. There may be others. Contact your doctor right away if you experience any serious side effects or if your condition worsens after taking Lamotrigine.
Lamotrigine Dosing Information
Lamotrigine dosage will be fixed by your doctor after examining you properly. Dosage may depend on a range of factors like age, sex, drug allergies, or seriousness of the condition among several other factors. Stick to your doctor's prescription strictly.
Interaction with other Medications
Some medications can interact with Lamotrigine and reduce its effectiveness or cause severe effects. Let your doctor know if you already use any of these interacting medications: hormonal birth control pills, carbamazepine, divalproex, oxcarbazepine, Phenobarbital, primidone, phenytoin, rifampin, or valproic acid. The drugs mentioned here are not the only ones that can interact with Lamotrigine anti- convulsant medication. There may be others as well. Share the list of all type of medications and related products which you are using with your doctor and never start a new medication without his or her advice.