Lamictal, or lamotrigine, is an anti-seizure medication that has been prescribed to treat epileptic seizures for about 10 years. In addition to its mood stabilizing effects, Lamictal has antidepressant effects as well that have been prescribed for bipolar or manic depressive patients. Some researchers have suggested that Lamictal be the first-prescribed medication for bipolar patients suffering from more depressed versions of the disorder. Often antidepressants prescribed for bipolar disorder will trigger manic phases, increasing the rate of unhealthy mood swings, but Lamictal does not appear to have this same effect.
As an anti-epileptic drug, Lamictal is considered broad spectrum. This means that it effectively treats both partial-onset and generalized-onset epilepsy. It is thought to do this by inhibiting sodium channels and reducing glutamate (an excitatory neurotransmitter) release. Lamictal is available in tablets of many sizes and doses, with tiny pills available for children.
Lamictal does have a very serious side effect that takes the form of an allergy. The medication can cause a very serious skin rash that, in its worst forms, results in death. When Lamictal was first prescribed about 10% of all patients was getting this life-threatening rash, which is a terrible rate of negative reaction. However, doctors soon found that the likelihood of suffering this allergic reaction decreases the longer the medication is in use. By beginning with a very low dosage of Lamictal and progressively increasing the dosage to an effective level, patients can grow acclimated to the drug and in doing so avoid the rash.
Aside from this rash, the medication seems to have very few negative side effects. A few patients have complained of ankle swelling, and for some the medication simply did not work. No weight gain problems have been described, which is unique among anti-depressant medication. The effects of Lamictal during pregnancy have not been studied, and it the drug is transmitted through breast milk. Nobody knows the damage to infants who are exposed to the medication, so Lamictal should not be used during pregnancy unless absolutely necessary. Patients on Lamictal should never breast feed.
If you or a loved one have suffered negative side effects to Lamictal and feel that you were not properly warned about these dangers, contact a lawyer today to discuss your options and possibly engage in a lawsuit to improve the packaging and warnings about Lamictal side effects.
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