What is LAMICTAL?
(LAMICTAL) Lamotrigine is used alone or with other medications to prevent and control seizures. It may also be used to help prevent the extreme mood swings of bipolar disorder in adults. Lamotrigine is known as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug. It is thought to work by restoring the balance of certain natural substances in the brain. This drug is not approved for use in children younger than 2 years due to an increased risk of side effects (such as infections).
How should I use LAMICTAL?
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking lamotrigine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor. Swallow the tablets whole since chewing them may leave a bitter taste. Dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and use of certain interacting drugs. (See also Drug Interactions section.) For children, the dosage is also based on weight. It is very important to follow your doctor's dosing instructions exactly. The dose must be increased slowly. It may take several weeks or months to reach the best dose for you and to get the full benefit from this medication. Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased. Also, if you have stopped taking this medication, do not restart lamotrigine without consulting your doctor. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take LAMICTAL?
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, heart problems (such as irregular heartbeat, heart block, heart failure). This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or blur your vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness or clear vision until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis). Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Children may be at greater risk for skin rashes while taking this drug. See also Warning section. Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness, loss of coordination, or fainting. These side effects can increase the risk of falling. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. This drug passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
What may interact with LAMICTAL?
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: dofetilide, orlistat. Other medications can affect the removal of lamotrigine from your body, which may affect how lamotrigine works. Examples include hormonal birth control (such as pills, patches), estrogens, other medications to treat seizures (such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, valproic acid), certain HIV protease inhibitors (such as lopinavir/ritonavir, atazanavir/ritonavir), and rifampin, among others. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose of lamotrigine if you are on these medications. This medication may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal birth control products (such as pills, patch, ring). This effect can result in pregnancy. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for details. Discuss whether you should use additional reliable birth control methods while using this medication. Also tell your doctor if you have any new spotting or breakthrough bleeding, because these may be signs that your birth control is not working well. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and opioid pain relievers (such as codeine). Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely. This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including urine drug screening tests), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
What should I watch for while using LAMICTAL?
Rarely, serious (sometimes fatal) skin rashes have occurred while taking this medication. These rashes are more common in children than in adults. Rashes may be more likely if you start at too high a dose, if you increase your dose too quickly, or if you take this medication with certain other anti-seizure medications (valproic acid, divalproex). These rashes may occur anytime during use, but most serious rashes have occurred within 2 to 8 weeks of starting lamotrigine. Get medical help right away if you develop any type of skin rash, or if you have other signs of a serious allergic reaction such as hives, fever, swollen lymph nodes, severe dizziness, painful sores in the mouth or around the eyes, swelling of the face/tongue/throat, trouble breathing, or liver problems (symptoms include stomach/abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting that continues, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin). Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking lamotrigine. Even after you stop taking this, it is still possible for a rash to become life-threatening or cause permanent scars or other problems.
What if I miss a dose of LAMICTAL?
It is important to take each dose at the scheduled time. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
What side effects may I notice from receiving LAMICTAL?
See also Warning section. Dizziness, drowsiness, headache, vomiting, or upset stomach may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. A small number of people who take anticonvulsants for any condition (such as seizures, bipolar disorder, pain) may experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems. Tell your doctor right away if you or your family/caregiver notice any unusual/sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior including signs of depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, thoughts about harming yourself. Get medical help right away if any of these rare but serious side effects occur: fainting, fast/slow/irregular/pounding heartbeat, easy or unusual bruising/bleeding, stiff neck, vision problems, loss of coordination, muscle pain/tenderness/weakness, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine). This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Where should I keep LAMICTAL?
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.