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Learn what you need to know before taking Lamotrigine for depression: how it works, potential side effects, and what to do in case of overdose. Depression Open Talks will provide science-backed information on this matter.

Depression gives you a lot of trouble and makes it difficult to live a regular life. Because each person is affected differently by the ailment, medical practitioners adjust treatment to each individual’s specific state and condition. People suffering from depression are frequently counseled to make lifestyle adjustments that decrease stress and enhance sleep. Doctors will also provide advice on creating an active living environment, exercising frequently, and consuming a balanced diet.


While these modifications are useful, some individuals may require assistance with prescription drugs such as mood stabilizers or antidepressants. Lamotrigine (Lamictal) is an example that should be mentioned. This FDA-approved medicine reduces mood episodes in bipolar illness and is more effective against depression than mania compared to other mood stabilizers.

What is Lamotrigine?

Lamotrigine (brand names: Lamictal, Lamictal CD, Lamictal ODT, Lamictal XR) is a medication licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration that works in the brain. Lamotrigine, like other mood stabilizers, was created as an anticonvulsant to treat seizures and is frequently used in conjunction with other drugs to treat bipolar (manic-depressive) illnesses.  Lamotrigine augmentation has also been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of treatment-resistant unipolar depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The most prevalent application is to treat the depression episodes that bipolar disorder patients experience. Lamictal is also used to treat depression in people who are not bipolar and whose depression has not been adequately managed by other drugs such as mood stabilizers and antidepressants. This is a psychotropic drug, so it has many potential side effects. Hence, before using Lamotrigine to treat depression, it is essential to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge to use the drug properly and minimize unwanted cases.

Why do depressed patients choose Lamotrigine?

Patients choose lamotrigine since it is often well tolerated. People reported higher adverse effects from placebo than from this medicine in some tests. That may not seem feasible, but it appears that Lamotrigine improved their physical health while addressing their depression. It doesn’t make people feel dull, flat, or unsteady.

The findings of numerous trials that compared placebo to medicines show that Lamotrigine is the only medication that patients are unaware they are taking. It doesn’t make people feel like they’re on medicine, and the advantages are cumulative. After two years, almost two-thirds of individuals with bipolar mood disorders reacted exceedingly well to lamotrigine and their number of days experiencing depression was halved compared to those not taking medicine. 

Lamotrigine for depression: Is it effective?

While the specific mechanism of action is unknown, Lamotrigine reduces the intensity of irregular electrical activity in the brain, which decreases the duration between mood shifts and manic or depressed states in persons with bipolar illness. People with bipolar disorder are more likely to have recurring and relapsing bouts of mood fluctuation. Lamotrigine maintenance medication reduces the risk by avoiding or delaying recurrences and relapses.

Lamotrigine is beneficial for unipolar depression & PTSD

The National Library of Medicine researched a 38-year-old woman who was being treated for persistent depressive disorder with Lamotrigine. The results revealed that the medication was ineffective in treating unipolar depression but was beneficial in the treatment of bipolar depression and had a minimal risk of causing a manic episode. Lamotrigine was also helpful in treating cognitive depression and psychomotor impairment in bipolar depression patients. As a result, in terms of efficacy and safety, the use of lamotrigine in the treatment of persistent depressive illness may be beneficial.

How Should Lamotrigine Be Taken?

Take this medication just as advised by your doctor to assist your condition as much as possible while reducing the possibility of side effects. A drug guide should be provided with this medication. Read and carefully follow these directions. Lamotrigine can be taken with or without food, on an empty or full stomach. If your doctor instructs you to take the medication in a particular manner, do so.

If you take chewable dispersible tablets or tablets for suspension, you can swallow them whole, chew them and swallow them, or dissolve them in a tiny quantity of liquid and drink them. If the tablets are chewed, a little amount of water or diluted fruit juice should be consumed to help with swallowing. Add enough water or diluted fruit juice to cover the pills to break them up (about a teaspoonful). Wait 1 minute after the pills have been thoroughly disseminated before swirling the solution and swallowing it.

Make sure your hands are dry before handling the dissolving pill

Make sure your hands are dry before handling the dissolving pill if you are taking it. Do not remove the pill from the blister pack until you are ready to consume it. Peel the foil away from the pill and remove it from the blister pack. The pill should not be pushed through the foil. Move the tablet around in your mouth by placing it on your tongue. It should dissolve shortly. Swallow or drink a sip of water once the pill has melted. Completely swallow the extended-release pills. 

While using lamotrigine, avoid consuming alcohol or using illicit substances. They may reduce the medication’s advantages (e.g., aggravating your illness) and raise its harmful effects (e.g., sedation).

Lamotrigine Side Effects

Typical side effects

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Nose bleed
  • Rash that isn’t serious
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Unusual dreams
  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Fatigue

Uncommon/serious side effects 

Lamotrigine may cause a significant, life-threatening skin rash (also known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome). If you develop any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately: a skin rash, blistering or peeling skin, hives, shortness of breath, or painful sores in your mouth or around your eyes. Lamotrigine should be used with extreme care in children and teens aged 2 to 17. These patients may be at a higher risk of developing this potentially fatal rash.

According to studies, people who use antiepileptic drugs like lamotrigine experience suicidal thoughts or act up to twice as often as people who take a placebo (inactive medication). These thoughts or behaviors happened in around one out of every 500 individuals on antiepileptic drugs. Please contact your mental health expert if you have suicidal thoughts.

Lamotrigine has been linked to aseptic meningitis, a dangerous inflammation of the protective membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. If you get a headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, rash, unusual sensitivity to light, muscular aches, chills, disorientation, or drowsiness while taking lamotrigine, call your doctor right once.

Lamotrigine usage has been linked to an uncommon but potentially fatal immune system response that can cause major blood or liver issues. If you have a fever, repeated infections, severe muscular pain, swelling of the face, eyes, lips, or tongue, enlarged lymph glands, unusual bruising or bleeding, weakness, exhaustion, or yellowing of the skin or white area of your eyes, call your doctor very once.

Onset generally happens within the first few weeks of initiating treatment. Patients experiencing these symptoms should be assessed as soon as possible, termination and conversion to alternative medication may be necessary. Seizures may occur if a patient who is taking lamotrigine abruptly discontinues it.

Is it safe to quit taking lamotrigine abruptly?

Bipolar disorder needs long-term care. Even if you feel better, do not suddenly stop taking lamotrigine. Your healthcare professional will determine how long you will need to take the medication based on your feedback. Missed lamotrigine doses may raise your chances of a recurrence of your mood symptoms. If you miss a dosage of lamotrigine, take it as soon as you recall, unless your next dose is approaching. Consult your healthcare practitioner about this.

Do not double your dose or exceed the recommended amount

Do not double your dose or exceed the recommended amount. Contact your physician if you skip more than three days of medicine since he or she may need to alter your dose. Do not discontinue or adjust your dose of lamotrigine without first consulting your healthcare professional. To be effective, lamotrigine should be taken daily, as directed by your doctor.

If you or a loved one suffers from depression, make an appointment with an expert therapist to get professional help. During the appointment, your healthcare practitioner will evaluate your medical history and discuss potential treatment options with you. The above is for reference information about the effectiveness of Lamotrigine for patients with depression. The session will assist you in determining the appropriate treatment choice for your circumstances, which may include a prescription for Lamictal. 

Lamotrigine for depression: Key takeaways

Depression is a common mental health disorder that can have serious effects on one’s wellbeing. While there are many treatments available, Lamotrigine is an effective medication for managing symptoms of depression. Lamotrigine is an anti-convulsion medicine with proven results in treating depressive episodes, however it is important to understand the risks and benefits associated with taking this Lamotrigine for depression treatment.


Lamotrigine (Lamictal). (n.d.). NAMI. Retrieved December 25, 2022, from https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Lamotrigine-(Lamictal)

Lamotrigine (Oral Route) Side Effects. (2022, November 1). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 10, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/lamotrigine-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20067449?p=1

The effectiveness of lamotrigine for persistent depressive disorder: A case report. (n.d.). NCBI. Retrieved December 25, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8919124/

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