Lamictal for Anxiety (A complete guide)

We will discuss Lamictal for anxiety indications, side effects, and precautions. 

Lamictal for anxiety treatment?

Lamictal for anxiety treatment is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but it is approved as a treatment for bipolar disorder and seizure disorders.

Lamictal is the brand name of the chemical component lamotrigine, classed as a mood stabilizer and anticonvulsant. 

Lamictal for Anxiety (A complete guide)

Even though Lamictal is not approved for anxiety treatment it is prescribed by some doctors to treat some cases of generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety. 

Lamotrigine Brand names

  • Lamictal
  • Lamictal CD
  • Lamictal ODT
  • Lamictal XR

How does Lamictal work?

Lamictal is considered a mood stabilizer but was originally conceived as an anticonvulsant to treat seizures and it is usually combined with other medications for the treatment of Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive). 

With this in mind, Susan McQuillan, MS, RDN from PsyCom indicates that Lamotrigine seems to delay the time between mood changes and manic or depressive states in people with bipolar disorder by decreasing the electrical activity in the brain.

Therefore, Lamictal works by blocking the signals in the brain that triggers epileptic seizures.

Lamictal for epilepsy treatment

According to the Patients leaflet, there are some instructions on the epilepsy treatment as indicated below:

  • Usually, for adults and children aged 13 years and over, lamotrigine can be used alone or in combination with other anti-epileptic drugs. Additionally, it can also be used with other medicines to treat the seizures caused by a condition called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.
  • Children aged 2 to 12 years, lamotrigine can be used also with other medicine to treat those conditions.

It is important to be aware that the seizures can become worse or happen more often for some types of epilepsy.

You may experience severe seizures, which can result in serious health problems.

If the frequency of your seizures has increased or they become more severe see your doctor as soon as possible. 

Lamictal for bipolar treatment

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

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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.

What you need to know before you take Lamictal

If you suspect you are allergic or you are allergic to Lamotrigine or any of the ingredients, an allergic reaction can manifest with the following symptoms:

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Swelling of face, lips, tongue or hands/feet
  • Breathing difficulties

If this happens to you, contact your doctor and don’t take any more Lamotrigine tablets.

Lamictal for Anxiety (A complete guide)

Warning and precautions

Tell your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Kidney problems
  • If you have ever had a rash after taking this medicine or any other medicines to treat bipolar disorder or epilepsy.
  • If you have had meningitis after taking lamotrigine. 
  • If you are taking any other medicine that contains Lamotrigine
  • If you have Brugada syndrome
  • Haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)

Potential life-threatening reactions while taking this medicine

If you have an allergic reaction to Lamotrigine you have a higher risk of developing Stevens-Johnsons syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Inform yourself about the symptoms to look out for while you are taking this medicine.

Suicidal ideation or suicidal attempt

People with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of suicide ideation or suicidal attempts.

If you have a bipolar disorder you may be at risk when you start the treatment, if you had already suicidal thoughts or suicidal behavior and if you are under 25 years old. 

It is important to seek medical assistance or go to the nearest hospital for help.

Lamictal for Anxiety (A complete guide)

Other medicines and Lamictal

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. 

Lamictal drug interaction

Some medicines that interact with Lamictal can cause side effects such as:

  • Valproate used to treat epilepsy and mental health problems  
  • Carbamazepine used to treat epilepsy and mental health problems  phenytoin,
  • Primidone or phenobarbitone used to treat epilepsy  
  • Risperidone used to treat mental health problems  rifampicin, which is an antibiotic medicine used to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection (a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir or atazanavir and ritonavir)  
  • Hormonal contraceptives, such as the Pill 

Inform your doctor if you are taking any of the above.

How much should I take?

The dose will depend on the following factors:

  • Your age
  • Whether you are taking Lamictal with other drugs
  • If you have kidney or liver problems

It can take a while to find the best dose for you. It is necessary to be patient.

The usual reported dose goes between 100 mg to 400 mg a day for adults and children aged 13 or above. 

How to take Lamictal?

It is recommended to take your dose once or twice a day, as your doctor advises and it can be taken with or without food. 

Your doctor may ask you to stop other medicines depending on your condition and how to respond to the treatment.

It is important to swallow your tablets whole, do not break them or chew. 

Lamictal for Anxiety (A complete guide)

What happens if I take more than I should?

If you or someone has taken more than the recommended dose you should consult with your doctor or go to the nearest hospital immediately. 

Side effects of an overdose can be fatal and some of those symptoms can be:

  • Rapid, uncontrollable eye movements’
  • Clumsiness and lack of co-ordination that affects your balance
  • Heart rate changes
  • Loss of consciousness or coma

Potentially serious side effects 

Like any other drug, Lamictal also has some side effects but not everyone develops the symptoms. 

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Skin rashes or redness (allergic reaction)
  • Ulcers in the mouth, throat, nose or genitals
  • Sore mouth or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Fever
  • Swelling around your face, or swollen glands in your neck, armpit or groin.
  • Unexpected bleeding or bruising, or the fingers turning blue 
  • Sore throat, or more infections (such as colds) than usual.  
  • Increased levels of liver enzymes seen in blood tests  
  • An increase in a type of white blood cell (eosinophils)  
  • Enlarged lymph nodes  Involvement of the organs of the body including liver and kidneys  
  • A group of symptoms together including fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, stiff neck and extreme sensitivity to bright light. 
  •  Lower immunity because of lower levels of antibodies called immunoglobulins in the blood which help protect against infection

Common side effects

  • Headache
  • Skin rash
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness or feeling sleepy
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Feeling restless
  • Irritability
  • Shaking/tremors
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling tired
  • Pain in your back, joints or elsewhere

What the Lamictal Tablets looks like

  • Lamotrigine 25mg tablets are Light yellow to yellow colored, capsule-shaped, biconvex, uncoated tablets debossed with ‘E’ and ‘1’ on either side of the scoreline on one side and breakline on the other side. 
  • Lamotrigine 50mg tablets are Light yellow to yellow colored, capsule-shaped, biconvex, uncoated tablets debossed with ‘E’ and ‘B’ on either side of the scoreline on one side and breakline on the other side. 
  • Lamotrigine 100mg tablets are Light yellow to yellow colored, capsule-shaped, biconvex, uncoated tablets debossed with ‘E’ and ‘C’ on either side of the scoreline on one side and breakline on the other side. 
  • Lamotrigine 200mg tablets are Light yellow to yellow colored, capsule-shaped, biconvex, uncoated tablets debossed with ‘E’ and ‘D’ on either side of the scoreline on one side and breakline on the other side. 
  • Lamotrigine tablets are available as blister packs in the pack sizes of 7, 14, 21, 28, 30, 56 and 100 tablets. (Not all pack sizes may be marketed). 

When will I see results?

It varies from one person to another but some people start noticing changes about a month of starting the treatment.

Advantages of Lamictal

According to Psycom:

  • It’s effective for the majority of bipolar patients
  • Ideal for mixed states
  • It’s good for patients who are not responding to other treatments

What happens if I stop taking the medicine?

You should talk yo your doctor before considering to stop the Lamictal treatment.

If you have stopped the treatment, it is recommended to avoid re-starting the treatment. 

Why is this blog about Lamictal for anxiety important?

Lamictal is recommended to be used for the treatment of bipolar disorder and epilepsy, not as an anxiety treatment.

There are several anti-anxiety medications that can work for you, ask your doctor for detailed information and assess with him/her the potential benefits and side effects of each one of them. 

Additionally, now we have a full understanding of what Lamictal is used for, the benefits and also the side effects.

For any additional questions or concerns about this medication, talk to your doctor for more detailed information.

Please feel free to comment on the content of this blog on the comments section down below!

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

What we recommend for curbing Anxiety

Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety

Anxiety Weighted Blankets

  • Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.

Online Therapy

  • Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.

Anxiety Course

  • With over 50,000 participants, this anxiety course may be just what you need to regain control of your life.

Light Therapy

  • Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night.  An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Lamictal for anxiety

What is the best mood stabilizer for anxiety?

The best mood stabilizer will depend on your symptoms and on the doctor’s assessment of your individual conditions and needs. 

Can Lamictal give you anxiety?

Yes, some of the side effects include mania, irritability, depression, confusion, concentration issues, anxiety, and agitation.

How long does it take Lamictal to work?

Lamictal can take up to 6 weeks for you to see benefits in the treatment of your symptoms.

Does Lamictal make you sleepy?

Lamictal can make you feel drowsy or sleepy initially.

Also, it can make it difficult for you to sleep. 

Does Lamictal make you gain weight?

Lamictal is not associated with weight gain as other mood stabilizers are.

If you do start taking Lamictal and gain weight it may be associated with other factors such as your lifestyle or changes in your diet. 

What time of day should I take Lamictal?

There are no restrictions on the time of the day you should take Lamictal, but it is recommended to take it at the same time daily. 

Recommended reading

  1. LAMOTRIGINE TABLETS: Formulation and In vitro evaluation of Lamotrigine Orally disintegrating tablets and Sustained-release tablets
  2. The Effectiveness of Lamotrigine in the Treatment of Photosensitive Epilepsy
  3. Estimation of Lamotrigine
  4. The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide, Third Edition: What You and Your Family Need to Know
  5. Navigating Life with Epilepsy (Neurology Now Books) (Brain and Life Books)

References

PsyCom

Mind.org

medicines.org.uk: Package Leaflet Information for the user

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