With the new generic form of Lamictal on the market, many people are wondering if they should switch to it. Some might be hesitant due to cost or insurance coverage. But there are some other issues that may come up with switching medications that you should consider before making a decision. This article will provide information about Lamictal and the new generic.
What Is Lamictal?
Lamictal is a medication that is commonly used to treat epilepsy. It is also sometimes helpful in treating mood disorders like bipolar disorder and depression. Lamictal (lamotrigine) belongs to a group of drugs called antiepileptic drugs, or AEDs. When taken as prescribed, it can help control seizures and decrease the frequency of seizures in some people with these conditions.
Let’s start with the drug itself. This medication is a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder in adults and children 10 years old and above. It works by increasing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain, which helps to stabilize your mood. Since it is a mood stabilizer that means it is not an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug although people have been known to use this medication off-label for those purposes. When used as a treatment for bipolar disorder, doctors usually prescribe one of these medications along with another type of medication called an antipsychotic usually taken at nighttime to help sleep since it can cause insomnia. Side effects from these types of combo meds can be very severe so they are only prescribed when absolutely necessary.
How To Take Lamictal?
It is important to note that people should never change the dosage of their medication without talking to a doctor or nurse first. In some cases, a dose adjustment may be necessary if a person’s health changes or they start taking other medications. In general, lamotrigine can be taken with or without food once a day for adults and children 10 years and older. Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions about how to take your medication.
You should always follow these directions as well as any dosing recommendations made by your healthcare professional. If you miss a dose of lamotrigine, it should be taken as soon as possible unless it is almost time for your next regular dose or if there are less than 12 hours before your next dose is due. If that is the case, do not take the missed dose and continue to take the medication as prescribed.
Side Effects Of Taking Lamictal
There are possible side effects associated with taking lamotrigine that may affect daily activities or affect you socially. Some of these side effects include-
- Upset stomach
- Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
- Blurred vision
- Increased cough
- Rash/hives on the skin
- Sore throat or mouth sores
This list is not all-inclusive and there are other possible side effects; contact your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms while taking this drug. It should be noted that not every person will experience all of the listed side effects, nor will they experience these side effects at the same time. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you determine if lamotrigine is right for you based on your medical history and current medications.
When Should You Not Take Lamictal?
There are some instances when you should not take Lamictal, including if you have a history of seizures or are allergic to lamotrigine. You should also not take this medication if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as the effects of the drug on an unborn or nursing child are unknown. Additionally, do not take this medication if you are currently taking another antiepileptic drug without consulting your doctor as there is a risk of serious liver damage. If you have any other medical conditions, consult with your doctor before taking lamotrigine to see if it is safe for you to take.
Alternatives Of Lamictal
If a person experiences severe side effects from taking Lamictal or if it is not the right medication for them. There are other alternatives that can be prescribed by a doctor. These alternatives include-
• Lithium: This drug is used to treat bipolar disorder and helps to stabilize moods. It can be taken alone or in combination with other medications. Side effects can include weight gain, hand tremors, and excessive thirst.
• Seroquel: This antipsychotic medication is used to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression and comes in both tablet and liquid form. Side effects can include drowsiness, dry mouth, and dizziness.
• Tegretol: This antiepileptic drug is a chemical derivative of a naturally occurring substance found in the herb called “Sarpedon,” which is used to treat epilepsy and some psychiatric disorders. Side effects can include nausea, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, sleep problems, or blurred vision.
• Depakote: This antiepileptic drug is chemically related to valproic acid and has been approved for use in treating epilepsy. It can also be prescribed for manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder. The primary side effects are nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, sleep problems, weight gain/loss of appetite, and diarrhea.
• Vigamox: This medication treats eye infections caused by bacteria and comes as an ophthalmic solution/ drops used directly on the eye. Side effects can include burning/stinging of the eye, tearing eyes, itching, redness, blurred vision, and eye discharge.
• Sumycin: You can take this medication orally to treat acne and other types of infections cause by bacteria. The most common side effects are abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting that do not go away within one hour of taking the medication, rash/hives on the skin, yellowing of the whites in the eyes or skin.
Drug Interaction For Lamictal
A doctor prescribes Lamictal when a person has had an inadequate response to at least two antiepileptic medications during their lifetime. However, healthcare experts also advise taking Lamictal in combination with other drugs if that is the requirement. The point to note is that lamotrigine may not be appropriate for a person who has previously attempted to take their own life. As there is a high risk of suicidal thoughts when taking this medication. Lamictal can have several drug interactions and is not suitable if you are currently taking any of the following medications:
- Sulfonamide drugs
Precautions For Taking Lamictal
Lamotrigine comes in chewable or dispersible tablets, capsules that dissolve in the mouth, and oral suspension. If a doctor prescribes lamotrigine orally disintegrating tablets, do not split or chew them; swallow them whole with water only. Do not mix them with food or fluid other than water.
Do not stop taking lamotrigine without first talking to your doctor. This may lead to seizures or an increase in the activity of your mood disorder (such as mania). If you miss a dose of Lamictal takes it as soon as possible. Unless it is almost time for your next dose. Also do not double up on doses. Under no circumstances you should take two doses at once.
Finally, avoid exposure to sunlight and UV rays (within the hours of 10 am-3 pm), wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, protect eyes with sunglasses that block out 100% UVA/UVB rays, and drink plenty of water while taking lithium.
If you are planning on becoming pregnant or breastfeeding while taking Lamictal, speak to your doctor first.
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 you no longer need it. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
The drug information contained here is subject to change. Do not replace it as medical advice for individual conditions or treatment purposes. The information does not work in place of a visit with a healthcare professional. Nor does it constitute medical advice for medication treatment programs specifically. Individuals who suffer from any disease or disorder mentioned in this article should contact their physician immediately. Regarding possible changes in dosage schedules due to individual factors.
Patients and consumers should use the information on this site as an adjunct to their conversations with healthcare professionals. They should consult their health care professional for advice on specific drugs or treatment options they may choose to prescribe. The information provided here is for informational purposes only.
A Word From MantraCare
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