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Can Lamictal Be Used For Depression

Taking Lamictal For Anxiety Disorders: Does It Help

Lamotrigine – Mechanism, side effects, drug interactions & uses

Lamotrigine is a synthetic phenyltriazine chemical with anticonvulsant and analgesic properties initially sold by GlaxoSmithKline under the brand name Lamictal. It was first approved by the FDA in 1994 for the treatment of partial seizures in adults, and was subsequently approved in 1998 for the management of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome a severe form of epilepsy in which individuals experience multiple types of seizures plus neurodevelopmental deficits. Thereafter, lamotrigine received FDA approval in 2003 as an intervention for pediatric partial seizures, and also as a maintenance therapy for bipolar disorder.

As more research was conducted evaluating the therapeutic properties of lamotrigine, mounting evidence suggested that it may be safe and effective in treating conditions for which it has not received FDA approval. Based on this evidence, medical professionals occasionally prescribe lamotrigine off-label to help manage: cluster headaches, major depressive disorder, migraines, peripheral neuropathy, and trigeminal neuralgia. Although relatively underinvestigated as an intervention for anxiety disorders, some believe that lamotrigine facilitates a robust anxiolytic effect and should be utilized more frequently in anxiety sufferers.

Lamictal For Bipolar Treatment

People that suffer from bipolar disorder, have extreme mood swings, with periods of mania alternated with periods of depression.

For adults aged 18 or older, Lamictal can be used in combination with other medicines to prevent those episodes of depression, however, it is not clear yet on how Lamictal works in the brain to have this effect.

Lamotrigine Augmentation In Resistant Depression

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
First Posted : May 13, 2009Last Update Posted : May 13, 2009
  • Study Details
  • Male or female subjects, age 18-65
  • A current primary diagnosis of unipolar major depression based on certain criteria
  • Exclusion Criteria:

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    Esketamine Helps The Brain Form New Connections

    Research suggests that untreated depression causes long-term brain damage and is a risk factor for dementia. Studies show that people with depression have up to 20% shrinkage of the hippocampus, a region of the brain critical for memory and learning. But esketamine may counteract the harmful effects of depression.

    Animal studies indicate that connections between brain cells diminish under chronic stress, but esketamine reverses these stress-related changes. Esketamine is different than any other antidepressant in that it not only prevents the neurotoxic effects of depression on the brain, but it also seems to have a growth-promoting effect, explains Kaplin.

    Lamictal Warnings And Interactions

    Lamotrigine 100mg Lamictal tablets 10

    Lamictal carries a black box warning regarding a potentially life-threatening hypersensitivity drug rash. In some cases, a severe rash can develop and lead to conditions known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrosis , both of which require emergency medical treatment.

    The risk of developing a serious rash may be increased if:

    • You’re currently taking a valproate medication
    • You have a history of hypersensitivity to other anticonvulsants
    • You take more than the recommended dose of Lamictal or increase the dosage more quickly than recommended

    Children may also face a higher risk of developing a serious rash than adults.

    If you notice any type of rash while taking this medication, you should seek immediate medical attention. Severe cases require hospitalization, and once a hypersensitivity reaction has occurred, no matter how mild, Lamictal treatment should never be restarted.

    Other potential problems with Lamictal include:

    You should remain under the close care of your doctor while taking Lamictal. You should not stop taking your medication abruptly. If you decide to stop the medication, you may need to wean off slowly as withdrawal symptoms are possible.

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    How Long Does Lamictal Take To Work For Anxiety

    We all experience feelings of sadness from time to time. However, these emotions usually go away within a few days. Unfortunately, for many individuals the bouts of sadness takes out the pleasure from their life. Besides losing interests in everyday tasks, the individuals who are diagnosed with depression and anxiety often face many other emotional and physical symptoms. In fact, their mood disorders can greatly put their life at risk.

    Luckily, there are several treatment options available for individuals with a history of depression and anxiety. One such medicine is Lamictal. Although, the medicine is usually prescribed as a treatment for epilepsy health care practitioners also find it helpful in reducing the symptoms depression and anxiety. Generally, it is given to treat patients who experience depression with bipolar disorders. However, it can also be given to those who have unipolar depression or depression without bipolar disorder. Additionally, Lamictal for anxiety is also effective for those who have not had success with other anti-depressants.

    Other Possible Mechanisms Of Lamotrigines Anxiolytic Action

    Although the bulk of lamotrigines anxiolytic effect is derived from the blockade of voltage-gated sodium channels, voltage-gated calcium channels, downregulation of glutamate, and upregulation of GABA these are not its only actions. To a less significant extent, lamotrigine also modulates voltage-gated potassium channels, the HPA axis, and possibly oxidative stress and/or the 5-HT1A receptors. Its reasonable to suspect that the effect of lamotrigine upon these additional targets could modestly contribute to its total anxiolytic effect.

    Potassium channel modulation: In addition to blocking various voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels, lamotrigine appears to modulate voltage-gated potassium channels. Data from a study by Zona, Tancredi, Longone, et al. indicate that lamotrigine bolsters 4AP-sensitive potassium -mediated hyperpolarizing currents in cortical neurons of rats. Another study by Huang, Huang, Liu, and Wu indicated that lamotrigine inhibits potassium channels to increase neuronal excitability of H19-7 hippocampal neurons.

    When these Kv7 potassium channels are activated, they limit repetitive firing of excitatory neurotransmitters and also inhibit the release of monoamines. If lamotrigine were to modulate any of the Kv7 channels, it would correspondingly affect downstream dopaminergic and serotonergic activity, possibly inducing an anxiolytic effect in a subset of persons. Other studies also indicate that potassium channel activity affects anxiety.

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    How Long Do People Generally Take Lamictal

    You may wonder how long you should take Lamictal as part of your treatment for bipolar disorder, but its 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 is started at a low dose and gradually increased over several weeks to get the maximum benefit. Its 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 its time to stop even after you start to feel better.

    Drawbacks Of Lamictal For Anxiety Disorders

    Lamotrigine (Lamictal) for Epilepsy and Bipolar disorder, Epileptologist explains

    Although some benefits may be attained from using lamotrigine as an anxiolytic, there are some serious potential drawbacks to contemplate as well. Among the most significant of potential drawbacks associated with utilizing lamotrigine to treat anxiety is that it may exacerbate a persons preexisting symptoms of anxiety. Other potential drawbacks of using lamotrigine as an anxiolytic include: adverse reactions, high cost, inefficacy, long-term effects, side effects, and withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation.

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    Will I Need To Take Other Medication As Well As A Mood Stabiliser

    A combination of a mood stabiliser and another drug might be the best way to manage your symptoms. This depends on your diagnosis and the problems you experience. The other kinds of medication that you may be offered include:

    See our pages on treatments for bipolar disorder, treatments for mania and hypomania, and treatments for depression to find out more about other treatments you may be offered alongside mood stabilisers.

    Lamotrigine Alone Compared To Lamotrigine Plus Antidepressant For The Treatment Of Bipolar Ii Depression

    The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
    First Posted : May 17, 2007Last Update Posted : June 4, 2015
    Condition or disease

    PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of lamotrigine when added to antidepressant medication, versus lamotrigine monotherapy, in the treatment and prevention of major depression in patients with Bipolar II Disorder which has not responded to antidepressant treatment alone.

    HYPOTHESIS: Our primary hypothesis is that depressed patients with Bipolar II Disorder using lamotrigine plus antidepressant, as compared to those using lamotrigine monotherapy, will experience a greater decrease in their score on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, a standard measure of severity of depression. The investigators also hypothesize that patients using lamotrigine in combination with antidepressant will have a greater survival time without experiencing depressed, manic, or hypomanic episodes during maintenance therapy, and an improved quality of life, compared to those receiving lamotrigine monotherapy.

    Subjects meeting any of the following criteria are not eligible to participate in the trial:

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    Can Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women Take Lamictal

    Most medicines are restricted to be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, Lamictal is occasionally prescribed to women with symptoms of depression and epilepsy provided that they are thoroughly informed about the potential risks to the unborn baby. Furthermore, women who wish to conceive while on Lamictal depression should seek medical advice before stopping contraceptive.

    Above all, it is important that you follow doctors advice religiously before taking any medicine during pregnancy.

    • Women taking medicines such as Lamictal during pregnancy are more at risk of delivering a baby with developmental disorders. However, if you suddenly stop the medication during pregnancy, there is a risk of seizures that may harm both the mother and the baby.
    • Women who use Lamictal during pregnancy should be prescribed the lowest dose and be given lamotrigine on its own.
    • The doctors should also monitor the dosage of Lamictal and adjust accordingly to the changes in body during pregnancy.
    • Lamictal passes into breastmilk and should only be taken if the benefits of breastfeeding outweighs the side effects of the medicine.

    Simply put, all concerns regarding the use of Lamictal should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor to avoid any complication in the fetus and newborn.

    Other Medicines And Lamictal

    Lamotrigine (Lamictal): uses, dosage and side effects

    Inform your doctor if you are taking other medicines to treat epilepsy or any other mental health problem.

    Some of the medicines can be:

    • oxcarbazepine, felbamate, gabapentin, levetiracetam, pregabalin, topiramate or zonisamide, used to treat epilepsy.
    • Lithium, Aripiprazole or olanzapine, used to treat mental health problems.
    • Bupropion used to treat mental health problems or to stop smoking.

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    What Else Should I Consider Before Taking Mood Stabilisers


    Medication can affect sexual desire , arousal and your ability to have an orgasm. If this happens, talk to your doctor. Changing the dose could help with this problem.


    If you are thinking of trying for a baby, speak to your doctor about your medication.

    Your doctor should give you information about the effects that medications can have during pregnancy.

    If you are pregnant and need to take a mood stabiliser speak to your doctor. Some mood stabilisers can cause problems if you take them whilst you are pregnant. It is important that any decision about treatment during pregnancy weighs up the individual risks and benefits.

    LithiumTaking lithium during pregnancy can cause heart problems in the foetus. Lithium should be not be taken when you are pregnant if possible.

    ValproateValproate can harm an unborn baby. It can cause birth defects such as:

    • spina bifida,
    • problems with forming the face and skull, and
    • problems forming the limbs, heart, kidney, urinary tract and sexual organs.

    It can also cause developmental and learning problems such as:

    • being late in learning to walk and talk,
    • lower intelligence than other children of the same age,
    • poor speech and language skills, and
    • memory problems.

    Children are also more likely to have autism or autistic spectrum disorders and signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder .

    LamotrigineNICE guidleines say that you should tell your doctor if you are pregnant and taking lamotrigine.

    Breast feeding

    Effect Of Lamotrigine On 5

    The antidepressant drug lamotrigine is found to be therapeutically more effective in the treatment of depressive phase of the bipolar disorder than in treating hypomania or mania . The use of lamotrigine as an augmentation drug was suggested from the evidence of the efficacy of the drug in the treatment of major depressive disorders, which also includes refractory unipolar depression . The onset of antidepressant action accelerated when administered in combination with other classical antidepressants . Pilot studies have reported the augmentation therapy of lamotrigine with SSRIs to be well tolerated and far more superior in efficacy than that of SSRI monotherapy .

    performed electrophysiological studies in the rat brain to evaluate modulation of the antidepressant-like effects of sustained administration of carisbamate and lamotrigine on monoaminergic mystems. They concluded that 5-HT firing in the DRN is decreased but 5-HT transmission in the forebrain is enhanced by sustained carisbamate and lamotrigine administration.

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    How To Take And Store

    Lamictal tablets should be swallowed whole. They can be taken with or without water or food, but if you have side effects like nausea, taking your medication with a small snack may help.

    Lamictal CD can be swallowed whole, chewed, or diluted in water or fruit juice. If you chew these tablets, you may want to drink a small amount of water or diluted fruit juice to help you swallow.

    Lamictal ODT should be placed on your tongue and moved around in your mouth until dissolved. These tablets will dissolve quickly and can be swallowed with or without water. They can also be taken with or without food.

    If you miss a dose of this medication, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, however, don’t double up. Simply skip the missed dose and wait for your next dose.

    It may take several weeks before you start feeling positive effects from this medication. Be sure to keep taking your recommended dosage don’t stop because you haven’t noticed any change.

    It is possible to overdose on Lamictal. If you or your loved one suspect an overdose of this medication, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or 911 immediately for help. Lamictal is rapidly absorbed, so it’s important to act quickly.

    Lamotrigine For Bipolar Disorder

    Lamictal (Lamotrigine) Mood Stabilizer – PSYCHIATRIST REVIEW

    Lamictal is approved by the FDA for the maintenance treatment of adults with bipolar disorder. It has been found to help delay bouts of depression, mania, hypomania , and mixed episodes in those being treated with standard therapy. It is especially effective in the prevention of bipolar depression. It was the first FDA-approved therapy since lithium for maintenance in bipolar disorder.

    Lamictal is considered a mood-stabilizing anticonvulsant and is most commonly prescribed to prevent or control seizures in the treatment of epilepsy. Recent studies have shown it may possess antidepressant effects in bipolar disorder.

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    Dosage For Bipolar Disorder

    The following table details Lamictal dosages for bipolar I disorder in adults.

    Your medical professional will start you with a low dosage, then increase it over time. This is to lower your risk of a serious skin rash* from Lamictal.

    Your dosage also depends on other drugs youre taking for bipolar disorder.

    • Dosage A: If you take Lamictal with valproate* .
    • Dosage B: If you take Lamictal but not carbamazepine , phenytoin , phenobarbital, primidone , or valproate.
    • Dosage C: If you take Lamictal with carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, or primidone, but not valproate.
    Week of therapy
    • seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome

    Dosage for adults, as well as children ages 12 and older

    For this purpose, the table below details Lamictal dosages for adults, as well as children ages 12 years and older.

    Your medical professional will start you on a low dosage, then increase it over time. This is to lower your risk of a serious skin rash* from Lamictal.

    Your dosage also depends on other drugs youre taking for bipolar disorder.

    • Dosage A: If you take Lamictal with valproate* .
    • Dosage B: If you take Lamictal but not carbamazepine , phenytoin , phenobarbital, primidone , or valproate.
    • Dosage C: If you take Lamictal with carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, or primidone, but not valproate.
    Week of therapy

    Dosage for children ages 2 to 12

    Side Effects Of Lamotrigine

    Some side effects that appear should get better after a few days. If they do not, you should go back to your doctor.Do not stop taking the tablets until you talk to your doctor, or you may get withdrawal symptoms as well.

    Very common side effects of taking lamotrigine include:

    • headaches

    Common side effects of taking lamotrigine include:

    • feeling aggressive, agitated or irritable
    • feeling sleepy, tired or drowsy
    • insomnia
    • nausea or vomiting
    • having pain in your back or joints, or elsewhere

    There are other side effects that you can get when taking this medicine we have only included the most common ones here.

    Please look at the leaflet inside your medicine box, or ask a doctor or pharmacist, if you want to know whether you are getting a side effect from your medicine.

    If you do get a side effect, please think about reporting it via the Yellow Card Scheme.

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