Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.
Aseptic meningitis: Rarely, lamotrigine can cause symptoms of aseptic meningitis (inflammation or swelling of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord that is not caused by bacteria). If you have an autoimmune condition (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, mixed connective tissue disease), you are more at risk for developing this. If you experience symptoms such as stiff neck, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, fever, or changes in consciousness, stop taking this medication can get immediate medical attention.
Birth control pills/hormone replacement therapy: The dose of lamotrigine you take may need to be adjusted if you start or stop oral contraceptives or other female hormonal treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy.
According to some case reports, when lamotrigine was taken in combination with birth control pills or other hormone replacement, rarely seizures, unexpected pregnancies, and menstrual bleeding disorders (e.g., breakthrough bleeding) occurred.
Do not start or stop taking these medications without consulting your doctor. If you experience changes in your menstrual pattern such as breakthrough bleeding while taking lamotrigine with these medications, contact your doctor.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: If you have uncontrolled epilepsy, you should not drive or handle potentially dangerous machinery. Common side effects of lamotrigine include dizziness, problems with muscle coordination, drowsiness, double vision, and blurred vision. You should not to undertake activities requiring mental alertness or physical coordination until you determine how lamotrigine affects you.
Heart disease: Lamotrigine can cause a change in the rhythm of the heart, particularly for people who already have certain heart conditions. If you have any heart condition, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Hypersensitivity reaction: Lamotrigine has occasionally caused a hypersensitivity reaction that may be life-threatening or fatal. If you experience any rash, swelling of the face or lymph nodes around the neck, contact your doctor immediately.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced liver function or liver disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
This medication may also cause a decrease in liver function. If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Rashes: Severe skin rashes leading to hospitalization have been reported by people taking lamotrigine. This appears more likely to happen if the dose is increased too quickly. The risk of a serious rash is higher for children and may be higher for people who have experienced rashes when taking other medication for epilepsy. Nearly all cases of serious rashes associated with lamotrigine have occurred within 2 to 8 weeks of the start of treatment. If you notice a skin rash, fever, or swollen glands, seek medical attention immediately.
Stopping the medication: Suddenly stopping any antiepileptic medication may cause rebound seizures. In general, the medication should be stopped gradually, as directed by your doctor, to minimize this risk. Before stopping lamotrigine, contact your doctor for guidance.
Suicidal or agitated behaviour: People with epilepsy sometimes experience depression. If you have depression or bipolar disorder, you may be at an increased risk of feeling agitated (restless, anxious, aggressive, emotional, and feeling not like themselves), or wanting to hurt yourself or others. If you experience these side effects or notice them in a family member who is taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy: The use of lamotrigine during pregnancy has been associated with an increased number of cases of cleft palate, a birth defect. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Do not stop taking the medication until you've consulted your doctor, since doing so can cause rebound seizures that may be harmful to the mother and unborn baby.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking lamotrigine, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding. Generally, breast-feeding while taking lamotrigine is not recommended.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using lamotrigine for children under 16 years of age, other than those with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, have not been established.