As you may already know, Lamictal changed and saves my life. It’s the only drug I’ve been able to take since I was diagnosed in 1995. I am always singing the praises about the drug.
It comes with side effects for sure- the main one being a rash that can be serious. But it’s very, very rare. Many health care professionals are wary of Lamictal because of the rash, but I always remind people that a potential side effect is just that. If monitored correctly, the potential is small. Also, the rash is normally benign. Make sure your prescriber knows all of the history before saying no to prescribing Lamictal or Lamotrigine. A rash doesn’t mean you can’t take the drug. It often means you just need to start with a lower dose and increase is slowly.
What is Lamotrigine?
The generic form of Lamicatal is called Lamotrigine. Lamictal is the brand name and is still prescribed. If you search under the word ‘generic’ you can read my stories of woe regarding the generic form. It didn’t work for me at all and I went back to brand name Lamictal. If Lamotrigine works for you, that is fantastic as it’s very cheap. If you try it first and it doesn’t work, defintely ask about the brand name Lamictal. Insurance companies will usually allow the brand change if your prescriber explains why.
For most, the generic is just fine. My mother takes Lamotrigine with very few side effects and great results.
In my experiences with my clients as well as my own experience with myself and family members, Lamictal has many, many more benefits than being a mood stabilizer for bipolar depression. I have seen the following benefits for many years:
Benefits of Lamictal
1. It works extrememly well for irritation and mild aggression. It’s especially effective for negativity.
2. Rapid cycling. Though this is not talked about as much, Lamictal reduces my rapid cycling by at least 50%.
3. Hypomania- the milder mania from Bipolar two. Lamictal is not an anti mania drug- this is why people with bipolar one almost always take Lithium, Tegretol, Depakote and or an antipsychotic such as Seroquel, Ability, Risperdol or Zyprexa to manage the mania along with the Lamical for depression. I have bipolar II and belive me, Lamictal helps my hypomania!
4. Mild psychosis. Lamictal keeps me more in touch with reality! It doesn’t have strong anti psychotic benefits, but it defintely helps my paranoia.
I’ve seen it change the lives of so many people! I suggest that anyone who is having trouble with bipolar disorder symptoms at least try Lamictal. As mentioned before, it can be started at a super low dose in order to minimize side effects and then kept at an effective dose for a very long time. It’s considered the least side effect heavy of any bipolar disorder medication.
I have been on Lamictal since 2005. I defintely have side effects off and on from a stiff neck to itching and twitching! When my dose gets too low- I twitch ‘like a maniac!’ as my friend Pam once said. She really found me amusing! It has also stopped working for me before and my dose had to be significantly increased. The average dose is 250 mg. My mom takes 125 mg and I take 700 mg! Making sure it’s dosed correctly is essential as the range of doses is so high.
I just got this comment from Lin:
Hi, my daughter has taken Lamictal for siezures for many years with no side effects. We had just increased her dose and she started developing tics and high anxiety . Her Neurologist said they are both side effects.Hope this helps.
All drugs have side effects, even aspirin. But I always, always look at the payoff of the drug. If it helps more than it has side effects, I am up for it.
If you are having a hard time or if someone you love is having a hard time, it’s always a good idea to talk to a prescriber about Lamictal.
It can change a life!