PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION

Lamictal (generic)

type of medication:

Lamictal is a commonly prescribed medication (anticonvulsant) that’s often well-tolerated and effective.


Treatment for:

Bipolar

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Lamictal (lamotrigine)

How it works, what it treats, side effects, and more.

Mimi Winsberg, MD

Chief Medical Officer, Brightside Health
Stanford-trained psychiatrist with 25 years of practice

At Brightside Health, our psychiatric providers specialize in finding the right medication for your specific needs. As part of your treatment, your provider may recommend Lamictal. They’ll go over how the medication works, and answer any questions you may have.

In the meantime, we’ve provided some general information about this medication below. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Lamictal (lamotrigine) is a prescription drug used to manage seizures in people with epilepsy, but it also has a special use if you have bipolar disorder. Our providers at Brightside prescribe Lamictal (lamotrigine) to decrease extreme mood changes if you have bipolar disorder and your mood swings are mostly stabilized. It’s not used to treat the actual severe manic or depressive episodes—it’s usually taken in addition to other medications that treat bipolar disorder symptoms.

The medication is anticonvulsant or antiepileptic and works by decreasing abnormal electrical activity in your brain to help delay the recurrence of manic and depressive episodes.

When you work with Brightside, you can be confident our providers have the experience to help you decide what’s right for you. You get personal attention and information about all your treatment options. We make sure you understand how your medication works and what to expect so that you participate in all your care decisions and feel confident about your treatment.
Lamictal (lamotrigine) is approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder, especially bipolar depression, in adults age 18 and older.

At Brightside, we use Lamictal (lamotrigine) if you have bipolar disorder that is stabilized, and we want to help you maintain a balanced mood. This maintenance treatment is usually combined with other medications that regulate bipolar mood swings.

Lamictal (lamotrigine) helps keep your mood stabilized and delays episodes of extreme mood changes, including:

  • Depression symptoms, such as sadness, hopelessness, changes in sleep, difficulty concentrating, and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Mania symptoms, including extreme excitability, excessive energy, feeling distracted, racing thoughts, and engaging in risky or dangerous activities

Your Brightside provider specializes in finding the right balance of medication to manage your symptoms and help you feel your best.

We understand you may be wondering whether this medication will work for you. It’s a common question, and we’ll work together with you to find the answer. Many different factors influence how you respond to medication. Keep in mind that some medications work better for certain people than others. Each person is different—genetics, age, and gender, among other differences—so your response to Lamictal (lamotrigine) may be different from someone else’s response. Other factors such as underlying health conditions, other medications, and dietary considerations can also play a role in how a medication helps your symptoms.

At Brightside, we help take the guesswork out of creating an effective treatment plan. That means we evaluate which medications and dosages have the best chance of helping you feel better with minimal side effects.

Typically, your provider will have you start with a low dose of Lamictal (lamotrigine) and gradually increase it over several weeks to monitor how you feel and see if it’s holding off periods of extreme moods. We understand you want to see results right away, but we want to make sure your treatment plan is tailored to your exact needs. Your health and safety are our top priority.

Remember, Lamictal (lamotrigine) is used to help stabilize your moods—it won’t cure bipolar disorder. It may take several weeks until you feel a difference. Whether you notice a difference or not, it’s essential to continue taking the medication. Please don’t stop taking it or make any changes without talking to your doctor first—even if you notice unusual differences in your mood.

Abruptly stopping the medicine can cause seizures, so it’s vital to talk to your provider if you have any concerns. If you stop taking Lamictal (lamotrigine), it’s critical to get advice from your provider before restarting your prescription. Your provider will tell you how to start again safely.

You may wonder how long you should take Lamictal (lamotrigine) as part of your treatment for bipolar disorder, but it’s different for everyone. It will depend on your diagnosis and specific symptoms. You and your provider will decide together how long you should take it. If you have any concerns at any time, your Brightside provider is here for you. We want you to feel confident about your treatment and participate in all decisions related to your care plan.

Lamictal (lamotrigine) is started at a low dose and gradually increased over several weeks to get the maximum benefit. It’s safe to take for an extended period when taken as prescribed, as long as your provider closely monitors your care. Typically, your provider will check your progress after taking the medicine for more than 16 weeks to determine its long-term effectiveness.

Most importantly, we want you to keep taking your medicine until your doctor says it’s time to stop – even after you start to feel better.

To get the best results with medication, it’s important to consistently measure progress during treatment. This is known as Measurement Based Care, and it’s the approach we use at Brightside. It’s common to adjust the dose when starting a new medication until you find just the right fit.

Lamictal (lamotrigine) is safe and effective when it’s used as directed. There are no known problems with long-term use.

A placebo-controlled trial in patients with bipolar disorder showed the medication’s effectiveness as a well-tolerated maintenance treatment, especially for preventing depression.

It’s most beneficial in helping you maintain a balanced, stable mood once your mood swings are under control. If you are experiencing actual episodes of mania or depression, Lamictal (lamotrigine) has not been shown to be effective. You’ll need other medications to help you recover from these episodes. Lamictal (lamotrigine) is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It works by decreasing abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

If you decide to take Lamictal (lamotrigine), you don’t have to worry about it changing who you are. It’s intended to make your emotions and moods more balanced and stable, but it doesn’t change your personality. The goal is to let you feel more like yourself when you’re at your best.

You will get the best results if you take Lamictal (lamotrigine) exactly as your provider prescribes. Your Brightside provider may adjust your dosage to help you achieve the maximum benefit with the fewest side effects.

Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Back pain
  • Balance and coordination problems
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rash
  • Sleep problems
  • Sore throat and stuffy nose
  • Stomach pain
  • Tremors

In some instances, it may cause more severe side effects, including serious skin rashes, allergic reactions, low blood cell counts, and extreme mood changes. If the symptoms seem life-threatening, call 911. For other symptoms, please contact your provider. If at any point you have questions or concerns about your medication, your Brightside provider is here to help.

At Brightside, your health and safety are our highest priorities. We make sure you get individual attention and guidance to make sure you feel your best.

Your Brightside provider will prescribe you Lamictal (lamotrigine) to help you feel better. After you start to feel these positive effects, you may want to stop taking the medication. However, if you suddenly stop taking Lamictal (lamotrigine), it can cause serious problems—including seizures and worsening of bipolar disorder symptoms that may need immediate attention. That’s why it’s so important to continue taking your medication until your provider tells you otherwise, whether you feel better or not.

When you and your Brightside provider decide it’s time to stop taking Lamictal (lamotrigine), your provider will tell you how to reduce your dose gradually and avoid withdrawal symptoms.

If you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant, please talk to your provider before making any medication changes.

Lamictal (lamotrigine) has been associated with an increased risk of oral cleft birth defects in infants. Animal research studies have shown when mothers are given this medicine, it can harm the fetus. It also passes into your breast milk. If you are taking Lamictal (lamotrigine) while breastfeeding, watch your baby closely for signs of stopped breathing, extreme sleepiness, and reduced sucking ability.

Your Brightside provider will discuss all the benefits and risks of taking Lamictal (lamotrigine) and all your treatment options. Together, you’ll decide what’s best for you.

Lamictal (lamotrigine) isn’t addictive, but it’s essential to continue taking it as prescribed to prevent unwanted side effects that can happen if you stop. If you have any concerns about taking your medication, please talk to your provider first. They can make any needed changes to your dosage safely and prevent unexpected side effects.

You can view the FDA black box warning for Lamictal (lamotrigine) here. If you have questions about whether the black box warning for Lamictal (lamotrigine) applies to you, please talk to your provider.

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Real stories.
Real results.

Read More Reviews

“I feel MUCH IMPROVED! My medication works well for me, and the personal care I have received has been wonderful! My provider listens to me with understanding and compassion.”

Tonya T

“5/5. My provider is excellent and takes time to understand my symptoms and make informed medication determinations. After many years of being on multiple medications, I am feeling much relief after less than two months of treatment.”

Anonymous

“Happier than I have been in years. One of the best decisions of my life was trying Brightside.”

Michael P

“I was impressed with how fast I was able to get an appointment as the wait in my area is months long. I received helpful medication quickly, which is also hard to get here. My provider is terrific, helpful, and kind. The zoom appointments are great for my hectic life. Really love this program so far!”

Anna W

“Very easy and simple to get the medication I needed. Since starting to use Brightside, I have begun to feel so much better about myself and I wake up every day with a sense of excitement that wasn’t there before!”

Brandon D

“It is so convenient to get medication and a therapist that work with my schedule. The quality of care is beyond top notch, and being able to see someone on Sundays is so convenient for people who work during the week.”

Anonymous

Real stories.
Real results.

“I feel MUCH IMPROVED! My medication works well for me, and the personal care I have received has been wonderful! My provider listens to me with understanding and compassion.”

Tonya T

“5/5. My provider is excellent and takes time to understand my symptoms and make informed medication determinations. After many years of being on multiple medications, I am feeling much relief after less than two months of treatment.”

Anonymous

“Happier than I have been in years. One of the best decisions of my life was trying Brightside.”

Michael P

“I was impressed with how fast I was able to get an appointment as the wait in my area is months long. I received helpful medication quickly, which is also hard to get here. My provider is terrific, helpful, and kind. The zoom appointments are great for my hectic life. Really love this program so far!”

Anna W

“Very easy and simple to get the medication I needed. Since starting to use Brightside, I have begun to feel so much better about myself and I wake up every day with a sense of excitement that wasn’t there before!”

Brandon D

“It is so convenient to get medication and a therapist that work with my schedule. The quality of care is beyond top notch, and being able to see someone on Sundays is so convenient for people who work during the week.”

Anonymous

Read More Reviews

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