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US brand name: Lamictal
Generic name: lamotrigine

Lamictal’s Pros and Cons


  • The best medication on the market to deal with bipolar depression without the risks of mania or lowering the seizure threshold associated with antidepressants.
  • Just the best med on the market for bipolar depression.
  • Weight neutral.
  • One of the safest meds to use during pregnancy.
  • The side effects suck less than the other meds with FDA approval for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder.


  • That “without the risk of mania” is only after you’re taking enough, usually 200mg a day. You might get a little too happy the first couple of weeks. Or too irritable, anxious and otherwise unpleasant to be around.
  • Easily affected by drug-drug interactions, in spite of being metabolized in such a way that only a few meds should affect it.
  • Can mess with your skin in all sorts of ways that could cause you to panic and stop taking it when you don’t have to.
  • Which is really a shame, because Lamictal is one of those drugs where if you stop taking it then try it again later it may or may not work as well the next time.

Interesting Stuff your Doctor Probably didn’t Tell You about Lamictal

  • Women have noticeably more side effects than men.
  • Lamictal prescriptions have been filled with Lamisil, and vice versa.
    • Why GSK gave them both such similar names is beyond me.
    • Bonus irony: Given all the dermatological problems Lamictal causes, it’s possible someone would need prescriptions for both Lamictal and Lamisil.
  • Lamictal was originally developed as a folate antagonist, like how many antimalarial drugs work, except targeting your brain. It was supposed to be a side effect in a pill to test if folate had anything to do with seizures.
  • There’s a genetic test for susceptibility to The Rash
    • At least if you’re of East Asian descent (excluding Japanese and Korean1)
    • But if your genetic heritage is from elsewhere in East, Southeast, and South Asia, talk to your doctor about getting screened for the HLA-B*1502 allele before starting Lamictal, Tegretol, and other meds, crazy or not, where SJS and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are actual concerns.

Best Known for

  • The Rash. Everyone is scared shitless of The Lamictal Rash.
  • Totally kicking the assess of Symbyax, Seroquel, and whatever other atypical antipsychotics with FDA approval to treat bipolar depression. Despite not having FDA approval to treat bipolar depression.
  • A multiday hangover if you drink half a lite beer.

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« Lamictal’s Side Effects, Warnings, etc. | Lamictal’s Pharmacology »

Pages and Forum Topics Google Thinks are Relevant to Your Mental Health

1 You can still discuss HLA-B*1502 allele screening with your doctor if you're Japanese, Korean, Kazakh, or even Caucasian, but as far less than 1% of those populations have it, you'd probably be wasting time and money. SJS and TEN can still happen for all sorts of reasons we've yet to determine, some people are just lucky enough to have one we know about.

Last modified on Wed, 04 May, 2016 at 17:22:00 by JerodPoorePage Author Date created January 18, 2011, at 15:16:23
“Lamictal (lamotrigine): Pros and Cons” by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2011 Jerod Poore Published online 2011/01/18

Lamictal, and all other drug names on this page and used throughout the site, are the trademarks of someone else. Lamictal’s PI Sheet will probably have the name of the manufacturer and trademark owner (they’re not always the same company) at or near the very bottom. Or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing. It may of changed hands by the time you finished reading this article.

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