How safe is lamictal

Lamotrigine

This is how lamotrigine works

effect

The human nervous system is activated or inhibited by certain messenger substances. Normally, these messenger substances are released according to the external circumstances and ensure that the body reacts appropriately to various situations such as injury, stress or rest.

In diseases of the nervous system, this controlled equilibrium is disturbed. A genetic predisposition or damage to the brain can increase the excitement or reduce the inhibition. The nervous system of the brain can then be over-excited, which can lead to epileptic seizures.

Lamotrigine lowers the hyperexcitability by blocking certain ion channels (especially sodium and calcium channels) in the nerve cells, thus reducing the risk of an epileptic seizure. So the active ingredient is an anti-epileptic.

Lamotrigine also has a mood-enhancing effect and can therefore also be used to prevent depression.

Lamotrigine uptake, breakdown and excretion

The active ingredient is quickly and completely absorbed from the intestine into the blood. The maximum effect occurs after about two and a half hours. The active ingredient is broken down in the liver and then excreted through the kidneys.

When is lamotrigine used?

The indications for use of lamotrigine include:

This is how lamotrigine is used

The active ingredient lamotrigine is mostly used in the form of tablets, but there are also suspensions that are easier to swallow. It is usually taken once a day. It is recommended that you take the tablets at the same time of day before or after a meal whenever possible.

The right dose is determined individually for each patient: First (in weeks one and two) you start with a low daily dose of 25 milligrams. In the third and fourth weeks the daily amount is increased to 50 milligrams per day. Depending on the patient, the so-called “maintenance dose” afterwards (from week 5 of treatment) is 100 to 200 milligrams per day.

This dosage regimen, also known as “titration”, is used when no other anti-epileptic medicine is used besides lamotrigine. In the case of combination treatment with other active substances, the lamotrigine dose may need to be adjusted.

Patients with kidney and liver problems and children between the ages of two and twelve receive a lower dose.

Women who take hormonal contraceptives must tell the doctor who is treating them. The dose of lamotrigine must be increased in this case. The dosage must also be adjusted again when you stop using the contraceptive.

What are the side effects of lamotrigine?

Age restrictions

Children under two years of age should not be given the medicine as there is too little experience in this age group.

pregnancy and breast feeding period

Lamotrigine is considered to be the drug of choice for epileptic women during pregnancy. Studies have shown that the risk of malformations in the unborn child is minimally increased, but the benefits of the treatment outweigh the benefits. For this purpose, lamotrigine should be used as the only drug (monotherapy). In combination with other anti-epileptic drugs, the risk of malformations increases.

Since there is evidence that lamotrigine can disrupt the unborn child's folic acid supply, folic acid should be taken from the time a pregnancy is planned.

The active ingredient can pass into breast milk. Therefore, the benefits of breastfeeding should always be weighed against the risk to the infant.

Driving and using machines

Taking lamotrigine can seriously affect your ability to react. Experts therefore recommend avoiding active driving and operating heavy machinery during treatment.

Interactions

Lamotrigine increases the effects and side effects of carbamazepine, another anti-epileptic drug. Carbamazepine, on the other hand, reduces the effect of lamotrigine.

Other anti-epileptic drugs (phenytoin, primidone, phenobarbital) can also impair the effect of lamotrigine. The same goes for hormonal contraceptives (the “pill”) and the antibiotic rifampicin (for tuberculosis).

The anti-epileptic valproate, on the other hand, can increase the effects of lamotrigine.

How to get lamotrigine medication

Epilepsy and depression are diseases that must be treated by a doctor. In order to ensure regular monitoring of the success of the therapy, drugs containing lamotrigine are only available from pharmacies with a doctor's prescription.

How long has lamotrigine been known?

Lamotrigine has been available as an anti-epileptic drug since 1993. At this point in time, its positive effects on mood and balance were already noticed. This "side effect" helps LamotrigineTo prevent depression and dejection. For this reason, the active ingredient is also increasingly being prescribed as an antidepressant.

Author & source information