Is Lamictal effective for depression and anxiety?

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depression

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 depression is also effective for those who have not had success with other anti-depressants.

How Lamictal works?

Lamictal is a brand name for a medication called Lamotrigine. It is the second medication (after Lithium) to gain the approval of FDA for use as a mood stabilizer. Lamictal for depression  works by decreasing the abnormal activity of brain.

Numerous nerve cells make up our brain. These cells transmit electrical signals to communicate with each other. However, these signals require careful monitoring for optimal functioning. In case of overstimulation of the signals – the brain performance can malfunction causing fits and seizures.

The medicine Lamotrigine reduces the chances of epileptic fits by normalizing the electrical activity of the brain. It does this by blocking the way of sodium from entering the nerve cells. It also prevents the release of neurotransmitter called glutamate that is responsible for increasing the “excitement” agent in the brain. Health experts claim that glutamate plays a key role in causing epileptic seizures and reducing its release is the best way to stabilize activity in brain.

Dosage of Lamictal for Depression

Although, the doctor is the best prescriber for any medicine, a typical dosage of Lamictal is usually 100 – 200 mg per day. The tablets for Lamictal depression are available in different forms including chewable and orally dissolving tablets. The full effect of the medicine takes a month to become evident.

Side effects

Some common side effects of Lamictal depression include:

  • Skin rash
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Change in bowel movement i.e. constipation or diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Palpitations
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Body pain
  • Complication in vision such as blurred or double vision
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Loss of balance

The above side effects usually go away on its own but if they become bothersome, it is best to seek the advice of your health care practitioner. Additionally, it is not necessary that you will experience all of the above adverse reactions. Different medicines affect individuals differently and a side effect listed here does not mean that all individuals using Lamictal depression will experience this or any other side effects.

Moreover, some serious complications can also occur from the use of Lamictal. These include:

  • Pain in chest
  • Swelling
  • Excessive headache
  • Sensitivity
  • Passing out
  • Abnormal seizure activity

In case you or a loved one experiences these life-threatening side effects, we suggest going to the nearby Emergency room immediately.

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.

Can everyone take Lamictal for Depression?

No, Lamictal is not safe for everyone and elderly patients as well as underage adults should not use the medicine. Individuals with history of allergic reactions, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure, and liver abnormalities should also avoid the medication.

Additional tips for using Lamictal for Depression

  • Do not suddenly stop the medicine without the permission of doctor. Abruptly stopping its use can result in the return of seizures that may become worse. If you wish to cease the use of Lamictal, consult with your doctor who will gradually decrease its dose.
  • It is important that the medicine is taken regularly and as suggested by the doctors. Failure to follow instruction can result in relapse of seizures and depressive thoughts.
  • The medicine may cause vision problems and we suggest that you avoid machinery and driving when using the medicine.
  • Lamictal can interact with other medicines even over-the-counter painkillers. Make sure you discuss the possible complications with your doctor prior to starting Lamictal and be sure to tell your doctor before taking any other medicine.
  • Drinking alcohol may contribute to the drowsy feeling you are already experiencing with Lamictal. It is best that you avoid drinking while taking Lamictal to prevent any complications.

Final words

Depression and anxiety are the two most common mental illnesses of U.S. The good news is that these disorders are treatable and medicines like Lamictal can greatly improve the quality of life of the patients. If you or a loved one has depression and anxiety disorders, ask your doctor about your treatment options with Lamictal.

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