What is Lamotrigine used for?
Lamotrigine, also marketed as Lamictal drug, is an anticonvulsant and anti-epileptic medicine that has been used for treatment of epilepsy and maintenance of several psychological disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as anxiety and Depersonalization disorder. The medicine has been used for over thirty years and directly acts on neurotransmitters to block, modulate or inhibit electrical activity, thereby preventing focal, absence and tonic-clonic seizures, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome’s seizures and working as a mood stabilizer. But alike other drugs, this medicine too has several adverse effects which need to be controlled and monitored during drug interactions and their effect on every single patient must be studied. Some mild to medium adverse effects of Lamotrigine have been found in recent studies. These side effects are a result of inhibited sodium channels in neurotransmitters.
Here is a detailed description of side effects associated with Lamotrigine that can be monitored and controlled with effective dosage and drug interactions.
Side effects of Lamotrigine in men
Some of the Lamotrigine side effects are mentioned below
- Skin Rashes – A major side effect of Lamotrigine, which can be seen in either gender, is skin reactions. Lamotrigine is prescribed to patients after a thorough medical check-up as it is associated with life threatening skin reactions such as DRESS Syndrome, Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis and Steven-Johnson Syndrome. Generally, any benign or threatening skin reaction appears in first 2 to 8 weeks of therapy. Therefore, any unexpected skin rash should receive medical attention.
- Migraine and Headaches – When prescribed for epilepsy, Lamotrigine can lead to a surge in the incidences of migraines and headaches. Most of the males taking Lamotrigine therapy might have intense bouts of headaches and may feel dizzy. Sometimes, migraines and headaches associated with this drug may also lead to sleeplessness. This side effect can be easily monitored through regular exercising (under practitioner’s supervision), drug interactions and tranquilizers prescribed by the therapist.
- Weight fluctuations – Another adverse effect of Lamotrigine in men is weight fluctuations. Several males may notice considerable weight loss or weight gain depending upon their medical condition and Lamotrigine’s interactions with other medicines. Since the side effect profile is different from patient to patient, hence weight fluctuations vary. A balanced nutritional diet designed by the therapist along with few precautionary measures can help in dealing with the situation.
- Vision Problems – Lamotrigine may lead to double vision and crossed eyes. Initial side effects of taking Lamotrigine include blurred vision, lack of coordination and loss of balance in males. This side effect in men can be dealt with thorough medical check up before and after taking Lamotrigine and careful monitoring.
Most of these effects aren’t long term in nature. Adequate changes in diet, simultaneous drugs, exercising and monitoring can help reduce the adversity of these side effects. Contradictions, particularly headaches, weight gain, nightmares and dry mouth are reported by men who are taken off the drug.
Side effects of Lamotrigine in women
Women who are prescribed Lamotrigine for mood disorders or epilepsy may witness several side effects of the drug. In fact, clinical trials suggest that women are more likely to have more side effects of Lamotrigine than men, although other anticonvulsants affect males more than females. Some of the major side effects of Lamotrigine on women are mentioned here.
- Painful or missed menstrual periods – Most women may initially experience missed of painful menstrual periods. This is because Lamotrigine interacts with female hormones. It is not recommended for females on estrogen-containing contraceptives. Therefore, birth control oral contraceptives must be given only after thorough medical screening. A short term effect of Lamotrigine is vaginitis. Women taking this drug may experience painful menstrual periods, which is a long term side effect.
- Rashes and insomnia – Alike men, women may also have skin reactions to Lamotrigine. Rash images and Rash pictures must be taken and shown to the therapist in case any unexpected rashes are noticed on the body. Side effects rash aren’t common and only 5 to 10 percent of patients develop a rash.
- Pregnancy and Breast Feeding – Lamotrigine must only be prescribed to pregnant women if its benefits outweigh its side effects and potential risks. Lamotrigine raises the risk of cleft lip and palate malformation in infants if it is taken in first trimester. Lamotrigine is found in breast milk, therefore breast feeding isn’t recommended during treatment.
Apart from this, a lot of women may experience memory problem, abdominal pain and cognitive problems when they start taking Lamotrigine.
Side effects in children
Only small doses of Lamotrigine are given because of its possible side effects in children. These adverse effects are mentioned below:
- Migraine – Children who take higher dosage of Lamotrigine may complain of headaches or migraine. This is because most of the children suffering from epilepsy or mood disorders tend to take other valproate medicines, which may result in too much Lamictal in the body. This condition can be monitored by giving small dosage of the drug to children.
- Sleep problems and weight loss – Lamotrigine often results in insomnia among children. Most of them may also experience high and sudden weight loss, which can dealt by a balanced, nutritious diet formulated along with the therapist. Children may also witness cognitive problems.
Side effects that are long term can be monitored and dealt with children. Mostly, Lamotrigine isn’t prescribed in higher dosage to kids as they are more prone to rashes than adults.