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Lamotrigine

Lamotrigine

Description

Lamotrigine is an antiepileptic drug belonging in the phenyltriazine class used in the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder. For epilepsy it is used to treat partial seizures, primary and secondary tonic-clonic seizures, and seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Lamotrigine also acts as a mood stabilizer. It is the first medication since lithium granted Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the maintenance treatment of bipolar type I. In the US, lamotrigine is available as oral tablets under the market name Lamictal. Chemically unrelated to other anticonvulsants, lamotrigine has relatively few side-effects and does not require blood monitoring. While lamotrigine is primarily indicated for epilepsy and bipolar disorders, there is evidence that it could have some clinical efficacy in some neuropathic pain states. Lamotrigine is also used as an off-label drug in treating other neurologic and psychiatric pathologies like borderline personality disorder [6]. The exact mechanism of action of lamotrigine is not fully elucidated, as it may have multiple cellular actions that contribute to its broad clinical efficacy.

Approval And Uses of Lamotrigine

In the United States, this drug received marketing approval way back in December 1994 and it was only in 2003 that it received FDA approval because of the benefits derived from it when used on bipolar patients. Initially, Lamotrigine was approved as an anticonvulsant.

Generic Version of Lamotrigine

The effectiveness of generic Lamotrigine is generally good except the generic version manufactured by a company called TEVA. People who have taken this version because of pressure from their insurance provider have reported that it is not as effective.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Lamotrigine extended-release (long-acting) tablets are used with other medications to treat certain types of seizures in patients who have epilepsy. All types of lamotrigine tablets (tablets, orally disintegrating tablets, and chewable tablets) other than the extended-release tablets are used alone or with other medications to treat seizures in people who have epilepsy or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (a disorder that causes seizures and often causes developmental delays). All types of lamotrigine tablets other than the extended-release tablets are also used to increase the time between episodes of depression, mania (frenzied or abnormally excited mood), and other abnormal moods in patients with bipolar I disorder (manic-depressive disorder; a disease that causes episodes of depression, episodes of mania, and other abnormal moods). Lamotrigine has not been shown to be effective when people experience the actual episodes of depression or mania, so other medications must be used to help people recover from these episodes. Lamotrigine is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It works by decreasing abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

How does Lamotrigine affect the brain?

Brain cells need to work (fire) at a certain rate to function normally. During a seizure, brain cells are forced to work much more rapidly than normal. Lamictal helps prevent brain cells from working as fast as a seizure requires them to. In this way, seizures can be stopped when they are just beginning.

How should this medicine be used?

Lamotrigine comes as a tablet, an extended-release tablet, an orally disintegrating tablet (dissolves in the mouth and can be swallowed without water), and a chewable dispersible (can be chewed or dissolved in liquid) tablet to take by mouth with or without food. The extended-release tablets are taken once a day. The tablets, orally disintegrating tablets, and chewable dispersible tablets are usually taken once or twice a day, but may be taken once every other day at the beginning of treatment. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand.

What are the most common side effects of Lamotrigine?

Most people who take Lamictal don't have too much trouble with side effects. The most common complaints include:

  • dizziness
  • upset stomach
  • headache
  • unsteadiness
  • double vision
  • rash

Precautions

Before taking lamotrigine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease.

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