Meds and you

27 September 2013

Lamotrigine

Lamotrigine is an anticonvulsant. Anticonvulsants are drugs that are used to treat or prevent convulsions, i.e. the seizures seen in epilepsy.

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Lamotrigine is the active ingredient of Aspen Lamotrigine (Nappi Code: 705436-001, 705440-001, 705441-001 & 705442-001), Austell Lamotrigine (Nappi Code: 707787-001, 707788-001, 707789-001 & 70779-001), Epitec (Nappi Code: 704379-001, 704380-001, 704381-001 & 704382-001), Lameptil (Nappi Code: 707359-001, 707360-001, 707361-001 & 707362-001), Lamictin Tabs (Nappi Code: 805505-008, 805513-019, 805521-003 & 819034-002), Lamitor (Nappi Code: 704486-001, 704487-001 & 704488-001), Merck-Lamotrigine (Nappi Code: 706346-001, 706347-001, 706348-001 & 706349-001) and Sandoz-Lamotrigine (Nappi Code: 705251-001, 705250-001, 705248-001 & 705249-001).

General information
Lamotrigine is an anticonvulsant. Anticonvulsants are drugs that are used to treat or prevent convulsions, i.e. the seizures seen in epilepsy.

Lamotrigine can be used as an epileptic treatment on its own, or as an adjunctive treatment for epilepsy not controlled by conventional drugs.

In South Africa lamotrigine is registered for the treatment of partial seizures, a seizure that starts in one particular part of the brain, and primary generalised seizures, seizures which occur when electrical discharges begin in both halves of the brain at the same time. It is also effective in treating epilepsy in children, and is furthermore applied for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaux syndrome, a difficult-to-treat form of childhood-onset epilepsy.

Unlike many other antiepileptics, lamotrigine does not affect the efficacy of oral contraceptives.

Do not stop using this antiepileptic drug abruptly as it may cause a recurrence of seizures. It is advised that you decrease your dose gradually. Your doctor should withdraw treatment gradually over a period of 14 days.

Lamotrigine may deplete folic acid levels in your body if taken long-term. A folic acid supplement or plenty of fresh, green vegetables as part of your diet is advised.

It should be noted that because lamotrigine may cause dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation, driving and any hazardous tasks should be avoided until you know how this medication affects you.

How does lamotrigine work?
Lamotrigine acts by restoring a possible disturbance in the balance between excitatory and inhibitory chemical messengers in the brain.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 3
Available as: lamotrigine is available as tablets and dispersible tablets.
What does it do? Lamotrigine is an anticonvulsant drug.
Overdose risk: medium
Dependence risk: low
Is lamotrigine available as a generic? yes
Is lamotrigine available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: it may take a few days for treatment to take effect.
Duration of action: up to 24 hours
Stopping this medicine: do not stop using this antiepileptic drug abruptly as it may cause a recurrence of seizures. It is advised that you decrease your dose gradually - your doctor should withdraw treatment gradually over a period of 14 days.

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • if you have a liver or kidney disease

  • if you are taking any other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.
Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children under the age of 12 unless prescribed by a paediatrician.
The elderly: no special precautions need to be taken.
Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

Side Effect
Frequency
Consult your doctor

Common
Rare
Only if severe
In all cases
diarrhoea
X

X

nausea/vomiting

X
X

skin rash
X


X
blurred vision
X


X
dizziness

X
X

drowsiness

X
X

headache
X

X

irritability

X

X
unusual bruising/bleeding

X

X
fever

X

X
sore throat

X

X
flu-like symptoms

X

X

Interactions

phenytoin, carbamazepine reduced effect of lamotrigine
carbamazepine increased risk of skin reactions
isoniazid reduced lamotrigine effect
rifampicin reduced lamotrigine effect
pyrazinamide reduced lamotrigine effect
methotrexate increased risk of folate deficiency
paracetamol reduced effect of lamotrigine
valproic acid risk of lamotrigine toxicity

Disease interactions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a kidney or liver disease.

Overdose action
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage
Adults: oral, 100-500 mg daily

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.
 
 

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