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Lamotrigine oral tablet side effects: A detailed guide

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Lamotrigine oral tablet is prescribed for treating certain types of seizures and bipolar disorder. It’s an antiepileptic drug that may cause mild or serious side effects. These include serious skin rashes and dizziness.
Medically reviewed by Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD
Updated on July 28, 2023

Specifically, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved lamotrigine oral tablet to treat certain types of seizures caused by epilepsy in adults and children ages 2 years and older, such as:

In addition, lamotrigine is also approved for treating bipolar I disorder in certain adults.

This article describes possible side effects of lamotrigine oral tablet. You’ll also find information on cost savings and coupon options for lamotrigine. You can explore this overview article to learn more about lamotrigine oral tablet, including the drug’s uses and side effects, ways to save on cost, and more.

Lamotrigine oral tablet is a generic version of the brand-name drug Lamictal. Lamotrigine also comes in other forms that you swallow, but these forms aren’t described in this article. To learn more about these forms, talk with your doctor.

Boxed warning: Risk of serious skin rashes

Lamotrigine has a boxed warning for the risk of serious skin rashes. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

For details, see the “Side effects of lamotrigine in detail” section below.

More common side effects of lamotrigine

Lamotrigine oral tablet may cause mild or serious side effects. Below are some of the more common side effects of this medication that occurred during the drug’s studies. Side effects varied based on the condition being treated.

More common side effects reported in people taking lamotrigine oral tablet for epilepsy include:

More common side effects reported in people taking lamotrigine oral tablet for bipolar disorder include:

Mild side effects of lamotrigine

Lamotrigine may cause certain mild side effects. Usually, mild side effects are temporary and can be easily managed. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have side effects that don’t go away or become bothersome.

Mild side effects of lamotrigine oral tablet that occurred in the drug’s studies include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects of lamotrigine in detail” section below.

Lamotrigine oral tablet may cause more mild side effects than those listed above. For details, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects of lamotrigine

Lamotrigine may cause certain serious side effects. If you have any serious side effects from lamotrigine oral tablet, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency or your side effects feel life threatening, take immediate action. Call 911 or a local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.

After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. Visit MedWatch’s website if you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with lamotrigine.

Serious side effects of lamotrigine oral tablet that occurred in studies include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects of lamotrigine in detail” section below.
Lamotrigine oral tablet has a boxed warning for this side effect. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. To learn more, see the “Side effects of lamotrigine in detail” section below.

Side effects of lamotrigine in children

For children, doctors prescribe lamotrigine oral tablet to treat certain types of seizures in children ages 2 years and older, such as:

In studies, certain side effects were more common in children than in adults. These side effects include:

  • infection
  • fever
  • accidental injury
  • risk of serious skin rashes*

* Lamotrigine oral tablet has a boxed warning for this side effect. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “Side effects of lamotrigine in detail” section below.

If you’d like to know more about side effects in children taking lamotrigine oral tablet, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Common questions about side effects of lamotrigine

Here are answers to some common questions about side effects of lamotrigine oral tablet. If you have other questions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Can lamotrigine cause sexual side effects?

Yes, sexual side effects are possible with lamotrigine.

Although rare, some people reported changes in libido (sex drive) during studies of lamotrigine. Both increased and decreased libido happened in these studies. Difficulty or inability to orgasm was also rarely reported in people taking lamotrigine during these studies.

Talk with your doctor if you’re concerned about sexual side effects due to taking lamotrigine. If you experience these side effects, your doctor may suggest stopping lamotrigine treatment.

However, they may want to slowly lower your dose over time until it’s safe for you to stop taking the drug. This lowers your risk of withdrawal seizures, a rare but serious side effect that can happen if you suddenly stop taking lamotrigine.

Is weight gain or memory loss possible side effects of lamotrigine?

Yes, both may be possible.

In studies, weight gain was rarely reported as a side effect in people taking lamotrigine. However, weight loss was also reported as a side effect.

Problems with memory, including memory loss, were also rarely reported in these studies.

Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your memory or weight while taking lamotrigine.

Will lamotrigine 100 mg cause fewer side effects than the drug’s other strengths?

Maybe. In general, lower doses of a drug carry a lower risk of side effects compared to higher doses. But all strengths of lamotrigine can cause the same side effects.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have additional questions regarding your risk of side effects from taking lamotrigine.

Does lamotrigine cause long-term side effects?

Yes, in some cases, lamotrigine oral tablet may cause long-term side effects. These can occur after you’ve been taking the drug for a while.

Examples of long-term side effects reported with lamotrigine oral tablet include:

  • withdrawal seizures if you take lamotrigine and then suddenly stop treatment
  • aseptic meningitis, which goes away if you stop taking lamotrigine

Talk with your doctor to learn more about these side effects and how to manage them. Ask your doctor for more information about how long these side effects of lamotrigine may last.

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Side effects of lamotrigine in detail

Below you’ll find details on some of the side effects of lamotrigine oral tablet.

Risk of serious skin rashes

Lamotrigine has a boxed warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the risk of serious skin rashes. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

In studies, serious skin rashes were rare in people taking lamotrigine oral tablet. This side effect may be serious or even life threatening.

Examples of serious skin rashes lamotrigine may cause include Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Symptoms may include:

  • skin rash or hives
  • skin that blisters or peels
  • painful sores inside your mouth or around your eyes

Serious skin rashes are more common in children compared to adults taking lamotrigine. These reactions are more common during the first 2–8 weeks of taking lamotrigine, but they may happen at any time during treatment. To lower the risk of serious skin rashes, doctors typically prescribe a low starting dose of lamotrigine and increase it over time as needed.

Taking the antiepileptic drug divalproex sodium (Depakote) together with lamotrigine may raise your risk of serious skin rashes.

Ways to manage

If you experience symptoms of a mild skin rash, tell your doctor right away. Seek immediate medical care if your symptoms feel serious or life threatening.

Your doctor will likely suggest stopping treatment with lamotrigine if you experience a serious skin reaction while taking the drug.

Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

In studies, suicidal thoughts or behaviors were rare in people taking lamotrigine oral tablet. These side effects are serious.

All antiepileptic drugs, including lamotrigine, are known to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors. But it’s important to point out that epilepsy itself also raises the risk of experiencing suicidal behaviors or thoughts.

Symptoms of suicidal thoughts or behaviors include:

  • having thoughts about suicide or dying
  • feeling agitated or restless
  • acting impulsively
  • experiencing anxiety or depression that’s new or worsens

Certain factors can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors with lamotrigine oral tablet. These include having an existing mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression.

Ways to manage

If you experience symptoms of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, tell your doctor right away. Seek immediate medical care if your symptoms feel life threatening.

If you experience suicidal behaviors or thoughts while taking lamotrigine, your doctor will likely suggest stopping treatment.

Suicide prevention

If you or someone you know is in crisis and considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:

If you’re calling on behalf of someone else, stay with them until help arrives. You may remove weapons or substances that can cause harm if you can do so safely.

If you are not in the same household, stay on the phone with them until help arrives.

Severe inflammation

In studies, it was rare for people taking lamotrigine oral tablet to develop severe inflammation throughout their bodies. This was caused by an overactive immune system reaction called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). This side effect can be life threatening.

Symptoms of HLH may include:

Ways to manage

Tell your doctor right away if you experience symptoms of HLH. Seek immediate medical treatment if your symptoms feel life threatening.

Your doctor will likely recommend stopping lamotrigine treatment if they confirm you have HLH as a side effect of the drug.

Allergic reaction

For some people, lamotrigine oral tablet can cause an allergic reaction. This side effect was rare in studies.

Symptoms can be mild or serious, and they may include:

  • itchiness
  • skin rash
  • swelling under the skin, usually affecting eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)v

In addition, lamotrigine has a boxed warning for the risk of serious skin rashes, which are severe allergic reactions. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

For details, see the “Side effects of lamotrigine in detail” section above.

Ways to manage

For mild allergic reaction symptoms, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may recommend treatments to help manage your symptoms. They’ll also let you know whether you should keep taking the medication.

For severe allergic reaction symptoms, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms require immediate medical care because they can become life threatening. If you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to lamotrigine oral tablet, your doctor may recommend taking a different medication instead.

Warnings for lamotrigine

Below are some factors you may want to discuss with your doctor before taking lamotrigine oral tablet.

Boxed warning: Risk of serious skin rashes

Lamotrigine has a boxed warning for the risk of serious skin rashes. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

For details, see the “Side effects of lamotrigine in detail” section above.

Other warnings

It may not be safe for you to take lamotrigine oral tablet if you have specific health conditions. These are sometimes called drug-condition interactions. Other things may also affect whether lamotrigine oral tablet is a safe treatment option for you.

Before taking lamotrigine oral tablet, tell your doctor about your health and medications you take. Things to consider include:

Lamotrigine and pregnancy

It’s not known whether lamotrigine oral tablet should be taken during pregnancy. If you’re planning a pregnancy or can become pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking this medication.

Consider joining the Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry if you and your doctor decide you’ll take lamotrigine during pregnancy. (Lamotrigine is an antiepileptic drug). Pregnancy registries help doctors and patients make safe treatment choices during pregnancy. You can learn more about the registry or sign up by visiting this site or calling 888-233-2334.

Lamotrigine and breastfeeding

It’s not known whether lamotrigine oral tablet should be taken while breastfeeding. If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to do so, talk with your doctor before taking this medication.

Lamotrigine and alcohol

Lamotrigine oral tablet is not known to interact with alcohol.

That said, alcohol intolerance has rarely been reported as a side effect in people taking lamotrigine. With this condition, your digestive system cannot break down alcohol normally. This can cause symptoms including diarrhea, nausea, and hives.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe to consume it during your treatment with lamotrigine oral tablet.

What to ask your doctor

This article describes common and serious side effects of lamotrigine oral tablet. If your doctor prescribes this medication, they can discuss possible side effects with you. Let your doctor know if you have concerns or questions about treatment with this medication.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How do side effects of lamotrigine compare with those caused by other antiepileptic drugs?
  • Do medications I take interact with lamotrigine and increase my risk of side effects?
  • Does my lamotrigine dosage affect my risk of side effects? Can you prescribe a lower dosage for me if I have side effects during treatment?
  • Will my risk of side effects with lamotrigine decrease as I continue treatment?

Disclaimer: Optum Perks has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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