Lamotrigine- What is it?
Medical science has evolved and when it comes to treatment of mental illness and psychological disorders, a number of medicinal approaches are available. One of the popular drugs that is currently used for treatment of mood disorders and epilepsy is Lamotrigine.
Marketed as Lamictal tablets in Europe and US, Lamotrigine drug classification falls under the Anti-Epileptic type of medicines. Pronounced as /ləˈmɪktəl/, this medicine is an anticonvulsant drug which is widely popular for treatment of epilepsy as well as mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression (used off-label for depression). The package inserts are available in the form of tablets and dispersible tablets.
The drug, which is approved by FDA helps in treatment of partial seizures, acts as mood stabilizer and helps in managing mood disorders wherein the patient suffers from depressive episodes.
The Uses of Lamotrigine
Since Lamictal drug is an anti-epilepsy drug as well as a mood stabilizer, hence it is widely used for treatment of several types of seizures as well as mood disorders like bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. Lamotrigine can be put to several uses, some of them have been mentioned below-
- Treatment of Epilepsy and Seizures – Lamotrigine is known for treatment of epilepsy. It used to treat focal seizures, also called partial seizures. At the same time, it also helps in treatment of primary and secondary tonic-clonic seizures. For treatment of absence seizure, wherein the patients suffer brief loss of consciousness, this drug can be use to stabilize abnormal electrical activity or to help the brain develop required thresholds for electrical activities.
- Antidepressant actions- Alike other anticonvulsants, Lamictal is also a mood stabilizer. The drug is used in combination with other medicines for treatment of major depressive disorder or clinical depression. Acute depressed are prescribed this drug. Lithium and Lamotrigine are two most popularly used drugs for the treatment of depression.
- Maintenance of Bipolar Disorder- Owing to its antidepressant nature, Lamotrigine is also used for treatment of an extreme mood disorder known as Bipolar. Bipolar disorder is a psychological disorder that causes extreme shift in moods and bouts of great excitement and major depression. Lamictal deals with the depressive symptoms of this disorder and helps in maintenance of Bipolar Disorder.
- Treatment of other psychological conditions- Several longitudinal studies, case studies and researches have proved that Lamotrigine can be used for effective treatment of conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since it reduces the excitation of the nerves, hence it is also prescribed for dealing anxiety and phobias.
Generic versions of Lamotrigine are available in USA as well as Europe, although it is majorly produced by GlaxoSmithKline. Approved by FDA in 1994, the drug has been found useful in treatment of patients who fail to respond to other antidepressants or lithium-based mood stabilizers. It also controls mood cycles in people who haven’t received adequate relief from other drugs like carbamazepine and valproate. One of the reasons why Lamotrigine is a preferred choice is because it has relatively less harmful side effects on patients in long run.
- Mechanism of Action
Lamotrigine’s mechanism of action works in following ways:
Lamotrigine or Lamictal directly acts on neurotransmitters. Hence, it has the ability to modulate, inhibit or block neural activity. Since it is a foliate antagonist, it can modulate the voltage of minerals like calcium, sodium and potassium in neurotransmitters.
Lamictal blocks voltage sensitive sodium channel alpha subunits, which means that it prevents the burst of electrical activity in the brain, especially in the cases of focal seizures, wherein brain activity suddenly spurts in partial regions. In cases of absence seizures, it blocks or modulates the voltage channels of calcium and potassium in a neuron. Therefore, it effectively reduces the excitatory effect of seizure inducing neurotransmitters. It reduces excitatory neurotransmitters by blocking, modulating or inhibiting sodium channels depending upon their prescribed intake.
It stabilizes mood because of its antidepressant actions and its affect on sigma opioid receptors. Therefore, it is used for treating depression, PTSD, bipolar, Borderline Personality disorder as well as Depersonalization disorder.
Drug Interactions between Lamotrigine and other mood stabilizers have been widely researched. Studies suggest that no such interaction occurs between Lamotrigine and Lithium. But those taking carbamazepine along with Lamotrigine receive better benefits because the former facilities metabolism of Lamotrigine. Similarly, valproate drug interation with Lamotrigine introduces double plasma levels of Lamotrigine because of which dosage should be limited.
Lamotrigine- A review
I have been taking Lamictal drug from treatment of seizures. The generic Lamotrigine is taken at 50 mg, 4 mos. in the evening. I must say that it has benefitted me in several ways. Seizures have reduces and I feel that my body tolerates it more than other preventative medicines. In my review the medicine is effective, but since there have been no drug interactions between Lamotrigine and my previous drug Amitriptyline, I do experience headaches and neck problems more often.