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Generic Name: Lamotrigine

Brands: Lamictal, Lamictal ODT, Lamictal XR

Class: antiepileptic, also known as anticonvulsant (phenyltriazine)

Availability: Prescription

Molecular Formula:C15H16Cl2N5O6

Substance UNII: XO321MNH5M

What is Lamotrigine?

Lamotrigine (Lamictal) is an anticonvulsant drug in the phenyltriazine class. It is often sold under the trade names of Lamictal, Lamictal ODT and Lamictal XR.

What is Lamotrigine Used For?

Lamotrigine is used by both adults and children for the treatment of seizures. The drug may be used to treat partial-onset seizures, generalized seizures from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures. It may be administered by itself or with other antiepileptic drugs. Some doctors may also place a patient on lamotrigine when converting over to this drug when they are taking other antiepileptic drugs.

Another use for lamotrigine is to control mood swings for people who have bipolar I disorder. The drug is a maintenance treatment as it can help delay these mood swings.

How Does Lamotrigine Work?

The exact method on how lamotrigine works for patients who experience seizures is not currently known. A proposed mechanism of action is that the drug has an effect on the sodium channels as it inhibits the channels’ voltage sensitivity. This action helps to stabilize neuronal membranes and controls the release of excitatory amino acids such as glutamate. By reducing the amount of glutamate that becomes released, the brain does not become too overactive to the point where a person will experience a seizure.

How lamotrigine works for bipolar I patients to control their mood swings is also not known. It is believed that it helps control receptors in the brain to better control a patient’s mood.

How Long Does It Take for Lamotrigine to Work?

The drug lamotrigine is considered a long-term treatment as it may take several weeks before a person sees improvement in their mood when they take it to treat bipolar I symptoms or for seizures.

Do Not Use Lamotrigine If:

There are several instances where this drug may not be the best choice for you. According to the FDA, the following should not use lamotrigine:

  • Hypersensitivity to lamotrigine or to the active ingredients in this medication

Please note that the above list may not be complete. There could possibly be other situations where use of this drug is not advisable for some patients.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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