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Lamotrigine (Lamictal)

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You'll want to stop slower than a week, bearing in mind that anticonvulsants can cause seizures if you stop them suddenly even if you don't have a history of epilepsy. Really you should speak to your psychiatrist about your wanting to quit and get a plan from him.

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I've been on lamotrigine (lamictal) for a couple of months and for the most part its been a good experience. My mood has generally been more stable and I've had a more positive outlook on life. However I have had a few short-lived, severe episodes during the time I've been taking lamotragine which seem to coincide with missing a dose/two doses. I hesitate to say 'relapses' because these have been different to my usual episodes. They've lasted about 3 days and have been very intense, including new features such as delusions, confusion, irritability and some very unwise decision making.

Because of these I'm considering whether or not I can live with lamotrigine. While I'm remembering to take it the effects are great, but I'm a naturally forgetful person and I'm likely to forget a dose every now and again. I can't afford to put myself, or those close to me, through 3 days of hell every time I do. I'm pretty new to Lamotrigine (I'm still on 50mg) so I'm seeking advice from those that have been taking it longer than I have.

1. Do the effects of missing a dose get less the longer you have been taking lamotrigine? Or do they stay the same?

2. Does the amount you are taking affect how bad missing a dose is?
Someone theorized that because I'm on a low dose, missing a single tablet might be more severe. If I'm only just at/near the therapeutic level then even though lamotrigine stays in your system for a long time, that one tablet could drop the level of drug in my system down so it's no longer effective? If this was the case, increasing my dose might help.

Any experience of how your dose increases/changes affected missing a dose would be great.

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I've been taking Lamictal as a mood stabilizer for 5 or 6 years now. It was prescribed because I have bipolar disorder.

But my gf takes it on top of Remeron to help with her depression - her doc hoped it would help stabilize her...

Neither of us have experienced what you describe as far as I know. I don't think so anyway...

When I started taking Lamictal, I was cycling, and was going up and down, though was mostly down. I started in January. By March, I was hypomanic, worst case so far at that point. Anxiety attacks, rage attacks, mixed cycles.. the doc gave me klonopin (clonazepam, I think) to help with the anxiety and highs.. That helped and I took it a few times.

I assume he also raised my dosage of Lamictal and/or added Topamax, I don't remember.

But things got better after that (May?), cycling still, other issues, but the meds were ok and the anxiety/highs were better.

The only side effect I had was parathesia (hands + feet fell asleep all the time) but that got better when I went off the second med (the doc raised the dose on Lamictal instead).

I would advise calling your doc. S/he might tell you to continue taking it (all meds take time) but it's good for him/her to know, and maybe your doc could help you with these symptoms or at least put your mind at ease some what..

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Maybe my final update here:

I quit taking both meds end of August. I was losing a lot of hair. It seemed to work fine, though, otherwise. However, I am doing fine now without being on anything, but I do have a fallback of anti-anxiety meds if things get bad. Hopefully, I will not need to take anything daily again.

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Thanks Velthir! I just left the pdoc's. I've been taking 100 mgs every day and he now lowered it to 75. I'm hoping things return to normal after this change.

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Warning about Lamictal!!

I am bipolar and was put on Lamictal for three months, the side effects are not worth the way it may make you feel. I'm not going to lie I felt great on this med, along with my Lithium. I started out on a low dosage and then was brought up to 200 mg. I had more energy, was more productive, happier, and my moods definitely were more stable. But and it's a Big but, I began to forget things that had been told to me ten minutes ago, this is a common side effect. I would be in the middle of a sentence and then I just would blank out and forget what I was about to say. I have always been really good at memorizing things, I had to study for something at work and just could not memorize a thing. My coordination with my body changed, I had slight problems with my balance and would bump into people a lot, my speech began to slur, All of these side effects are common!!

Then the thing that made me stop the med all together was that I began to lose a lot of my hair. The derm. told me the medicine had cause me to have tellogen effluvium, an all over hair shedding. My hair is still shedding and I have been off it for a month, it will take about six months to stop. When I researched the hair loss, so many people reported high hair loss on this med. Go on it if ;you want, but before doing so be aware of these side effects which many people experience. Any drug that does this to your body is destroying it. The withdrawl of lamictal is a whole another story. I am more depressed now from coming down from the drug than I was before taking it. Keep that in mind because if the drug is not agreeable with your body you will have to come off of it, and it is painful. I experienced tremors, dry eyes, not being able to focus, depression, anxiety, increased clumsiness, and heart palpations during the withdrawl. Everytime we would lower the dosage my mood would dip and dip. This is a serious drug that is very hard on the body, I don't recommend it.

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Lamictal is a serious drug that can be hard on the body. I took it and common side effects that many people experience are short term memory loss, slurring of speech, problems with coordination, and hair loss. These are all things I experienced, I was just completely weened off the drug, the withdrawl was tough, and leaves you in a depression. I was not depressed like this before the med. My brain is really adjusting it self now. My advice to you would be to watch out for these symptoms like a hawk. If you are forgetting something someone just told you or can't remember something mid sentence, stop. If you wake up one morning and notice your hair is significantly thinner stop. Of course contact your doctor sudden discontinuation with out being weened off can cause sever depression and seizures. No med should do this to your body. If you are on it be very aware of the changes in your body. I only say all this because I don't want someone to go throw what I have. Not Worth IT!!!

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I was just put on Lamictal last week. I'm not diagnosed as bipolar, but have panic disorder and depression. I'm currently on 15mg of Mirtazapine and 50mg of Sulpride as an add-on daily. This combo works to keep my panic at bay, but doesn't do much for depression, makes me extremely lethargic, and has reduced my libido to zero. It's also caused me to gain 30lbs in a year.

So far I don't notice any improvement on the Lamictal, but the side effects are quite severe. It causes me to wake up at about 6am every morning with quite bad anxiety. I have back and chest pain, a sore throat like feeling, and cognitive issues such as short term memory loss, difficulty finding words and misspelling. I really don't know if I should stay on this drug. Will the side effects subside?

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This thread has been helpful to me, as I started Lamictal a few weeks ago and trying to find out what's an "okay" side effect and what's a "severe" side effect.

I feel better than I've felt in years - I literally burst into tears yesterday (the good kind!) because I felt HUMAN again.

BUT (there are several) - I'm having the short term memory loss, to the point that I constantly feel like I've got something on the tip of my tongue but can't figure out what it is. Lamictal is also increasing my anxiety; it's lifted the depression but definitely worsened the anxiety. Had KILLER headaches for the first 3 days at 25mg and then again at 50mg, but they've settled down now. There's only one I'm really concerned with - BLURRED VISION. I've been feeling like I need glasses the past few weeks, something very unusual for me...I only made the connection today and decided to Google it, and sure enough, blurred vision is a common side effect.

Depending on what you read, some say it's a "don't worry about it" side effect, others say notify your doctor immediately! Any thoughts? The vision disturbances are not severe, but then I'm only on the 50mg dose and moving up to 100 next week. I just feel like I'm squinting at everything and I have to take a second to focus on a book or computer screen, and I find myself blinking a lot, as if trying to clear the cloudiness.

Not sure if I should notify my pdoc or not.

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P.S. Forgot to mention I'm taking the 50mg of Lamictal in conjunction with 300mg of Wellbutrin. It really does seem to be helping, but I'm so freaked out by the vision thing...also, I lost almost all of my hair after my second pregnancy (no one can figure out why), so I can't really afford to lose more. Seems like hair loss is really common with this med. Grrrrrr. I am really praying that doesn't happen.

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A psychiatrist has suggested I try Lamotrigine as a mood stabiliser. He said it might help stabilise my moods as I seem to go up and down, and that it will augment / add to the effect of my anti-depressant. He thinks I have either recurrent depression or an attachment disorder with a depressive reaction. I'm kind of confused after reading the pinned post about lamotrigine. No one has mentioned bipolar as a possible diagnosis. Has anyone else got experience of this drug in general & any newbie tips for what to expect? And also interested to hear from anyone with conditions other than bipolar who is on this drug, or is the psychiatrist easing me into a new label/pigeonhole?!

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I have been on Lamictal for a few years now and I have to admit that it is a good fit for me.

I cannot recall having any initial side effects nor do I have any side effects that stand out in my mind right now.

I was originally put on Lamictal to stabilise my moods (to supplement the antidepressant Effexor (generic). I have seen therapists and psychaistrists for many years (since age 18 - I am 37). My therapist thinks that I am a HIGH functioning borderline with depression and my psychiastrist thinks that I suffer from a mixture of: bi-polar II, depression and ADD. Regardless of the prognosis the basic gist is that a) I knew something was not right in my head b) my moods oscillated many times throughout the day depending on: others' moods, what I've eaten, any interactions with other people, whether or not I drink coffee, etc. and c) life was unmanageable. I lived according to my erratic moods, not by reality and/or common sense.

So back to the main point, Lamictal has worked really well for me. I don't have the black/white thinking as much. I see the grey areas and I don't react according to my moods, I actually sit and think first! (which is amazing!) I used to be really impulsive (not thinking before doing) and that has also lessened. Before Lamictal I impulsively: adopted a dog, bought a house, got married after knowing the guy only a few months, got separated after 9 months, divorced 6 months after that, maxed out credit cards, credit line against house and had to declare bankruptcy. After starting Lamictal: took a break from dating, got a second bachelors degree, got a better job, got a masters degree and have lived at the same residence for more than 3 years (and yes, I still have the dog!) ;) So, a life changer for me.

So, I hope that it works for you. If for some reason it doesn't, keep searching..... you will find the right combo that works like a lock and key.

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I have decided (after seeing my psychiatrist), to go back on lamotrigine (Lamictal) and buproprion (Wellbutrin). I have been having a lot of stress, anxiety, and irritation, and do not want to rely too much on anti-anxiety medication (I am prescribed Klonopin).

I don't recall blurred vision or speech or coordination issues... I do recall some hair loss, so I will be watching for that again. :(

I do recall night sweats and cold like symptoms when starting the med but those symptoms went away.

I did not have any withdrawals whatsoever when I got off the med back in August.

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I started 50 mg last night (since I have been on it before, my pdoc started me at 50mg instead of the usual 25mg, so I'll be taking 50mg for a week to start). So far, I have noticed a persistent mild headache and I woke up around 4 a.m. feeling energized. Some people feel drowsy on this, but for me, it was not like that. I just remembered that, so I think I will take my dose earlier today. No other symptoms.

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Has anyone experienced worsening depression while titrating up on lamotrigine? I started at 25mg for 1 week, 50 mg for 1 week and am now at 75mg until I see the pdoc on Monday. It's been about 3 weeks total since starting. I can't remember the last time I've felt this depressed. I wake up every morning and tell my boyfriend "I quit life." I've been having suicidal thoughts, but I would never act on them. I've read some people getting worse before getting better, but I don't know how long I can take this for. I'm also on 300mg wellbutrin xl. I'm trying to stick it out until I get to a therapeutic dose because I really want this medication to work and had high hopes for it.

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I am at 100mg now. In another week I will be at 200 mg. Only because I have been on it before and you don't need to go up so slowly.

Joyless37 I would say wait and try to reach that therapeutic level.

I actually started back on Wellbutrin today as well. I was on a combo of lamotrigine and bupropion (WB) and then stopped late August 2013. Just went back on in March 2014 (well, started lamotrigine and now started bupropion in April 2014).

I did my first 150 mg of bupropion/WB today and felt no symptoms whatsoever. If anything, I feel better.

I need to get rid of my irritability, anxiety, and agitation, and so have gone back on my full "cocktail." I also take klonopin, as needed. It helps make my life easier. I am a single mom and do EVERYTHING by myself. It's hard. So I have decided to go the medication route again.

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200 mg ended up being too much for me. I was SO completely flat. My mood was unchanging and flat for five weeks. I couldn't handle it. I went back to 100 mg (with pdoc's knowledge of course)

I hope the 200 works well for you!

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Hi Everyone,

I am new here. I came across this place while trying to search for answers. My pdoc has put me on Lamictal, a few weeks back for depression. She said I seem to cycle between a normal state and a depression stated. I don't handle stress and disappoints wells. I seem to be very sensitive. What other people can brush off, I dwell on it for a long time.

So my question is, how does lamictal make you feel? Today I woke up feeling more apathetic, than I have in a long time. I am not complaining about this feeling, its better than feeling like I am going to burst into tears at any moment.

thanks your support.

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Hi,

I've just started taking Lamictal this week myself and I take it in combo with several other drugs including 2 I was already on and a few new ones, so I don't know how objective my experience is...still Lamictal seems fast-acting and my mood is better, I feel more than just anxiety and hopelessness. I'm also light-headed sometimes but that's the only negative so far. Good luck!

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Hi Aobibh,

Thanks for the reply.

I think I am now in my third week as of today.

Lamictal seems to have worked faster for you. Ionly started feeling better yesterday. I hope that things continue to get better. I am now on 75mg and my pdoc said to stay in this dose for about 3 weeks. She said, she doesn't like her patients to go over 100mg because it messes with the brain?

Take care and let me know Lamictal goes for you!

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Hi again,

I am taking only 25mg a day this week, and I'll increase by 25mg each week until I take 75mg as my optimal prescribed dose. Like I said, I'm also on other drugs (Effexor, remeron, propranolol and deplin) so maybe it's all mixing together faster for me. I don't know what exactly could happen to your brain at 100mg but 75 does seem to the "recommended" dose. If that doesn't work well enough then adding other stuff into the mix is an option for you.

I'll keep posting as I increase my dose.

Cheers!

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Hi

I am also on Cymbatla, and valium or xanas as needed.

I have been on Effexor and propranolol before, a few years back.

Let me know how things go for you, and I'll do the same.

Im feeling a bit anxious today. But over all there has been an improve with my emotions.

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Yesterday and the day before, I had arguments with my boyfriend, we have not seen each other in a while, as he's been busy working. He is having a hard time with work and things seem be going wrong for him, so he's not understanding of how I feel.

So I spent all of Thursday night crying! I was really hoping Lamictal would less the effects my emotions have on me. I took valium, didn't really help.

On friday, we had another argument, I said something that made him really upset with me, he said he didn't want to see me that day. I don't know when ill see him next. I took some xanax and that seemed to help a little bit.

So I am feeling a lot of emotional pain. I took some more xanax today, but it does't take all my pain away, just reduces it a little. I am tired of being so upset all the time, and feeling so low.

I told my bf, i would give him some space, so I have not texted him in 24 hours and it was soooo hard, as I feel so needy right now.

I am using every bit of strength I have, not to text him and tell him that I am missing him. But is so hard. I don't want to message him for a few days. Infact, I am really hoping he will message me first, but I don;t think he will, since I was the one who said the unkind thing.

We have both said unkind things to each other. My friends, say I need to stop blaming myself, but how do I do this? I wish I was one of those people that could push their emotions aside and continue on with life.

I would like to talk with him about how I feel, but I feel its not the right time, as he's very consumed with his issues.

I wish Lamitcal would kick in and help me! I can't go one feeling so depressed all the time.

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