Lamotrigine is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat epilepsy (also known as fits or seizures) in adults and children.
This medicine is also used on its own or together with other medicines to treat a certain type of mood disturbance called bipolar I disorder (mood changes between feeling very high and very low) in adults.
Take Lamotrigine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Lamotrigine is available as a conventional tablet, chewable or dispersible tablet for oral suspension, orally disintegrating tablet, or an extended-release tablet.
If you are taking the conventional tablet, swallow it whole with a glass of water. Do not chew or crush.
If you are taking the chewable or dispersible tablet for oral suspension, you may chew, swallow it whole, or disperse it in a little amount of water or fruit juice. To disperse the tablet for oral suspension, add the tablet in a small amount of water (1 teaspoon or at least enough to cover the tablet), let it sit for about 1 minute or until the tablet is completely broken up, then stir and drink the dispersion immediately. Make sure that you drink the entire glass of water to get your complete dose. If you chewed the tablets, you may drink a small amount of water or fruit juice to help you swallow your dose.
If you are taking the orally disintegrating tablet, it must be placed on the tongue and moved around the mouth. The tablet will dissolve rapidly and may be swallowed with or without water.
If you are taking the extended-release type of tablet (usually labelled as “XR”), swallow it whole. Do not divide, chew or crush the tablet.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on your condition and response to the medication.
Lamotrigine must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it suddenly as this may worsen your condition.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take Lamotrigine if you ever had an allergic reaction (e.g. rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to this medicine or any of its ingredients.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- history of allergic reaction or rash to other medicines for epilepsy or bipolar disorder
- heart disease or problems e.g. heart failure, recent heart attack, Brugada syndrome (an inherited disease that causes abnormal electrical activity within the heart)
- currently having or history of suicidal thoughts or behaviour
- moderate to severe liver disease
- kidney disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Lamotrigine to a child. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects.
If you are going to have a laboratory test (e.g. certain urine drug screening), inform your doctor or the laboratory personnel that you are taking this medicine.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine tests (e.g. liver or kidney function, ECG [a test used to record the electrical activity of the heart]) may be done before or while you are being treated with Lamotrigine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
- Regular monitoring for signs of depression, suicidal thoughts, unusual mood or behavioural changes, and allergic skin reactions may also be needed.
Lamotrigine may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or some problems with your eyesight. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert or need to see clearly.
This medicine may also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Apply sunscreen when going outdoors and avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight and UV lamps.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dry mouth, stomach pain, anxiety, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, difficulty in controlling or coordinating movements, irritability, and joint or back pain.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes, mouth or throat
- headache with fever, chills, stiff neck, extreme sensitivity to bright light, muscle pain
- rapid, slow or pounding heartbeat with shortness of breath, chest pain, feeling lightheaded
- frequent or persistent sore throat with fever, unusual bleeding or bruising
- yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark coloured urine, tiredness, swelling in the legs and ankles
- having thoughts of self-harm
- unusual changes in mood or behaviour (being too depressed, agitated, or having compulsive and impulsive behaviour)
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
- confusional state, shaking or tremor
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. sodium valproate, carbamazepine, phenytoin, primidone, phenobarbital
- rifampicin (medicine to treat TB, an infection known as tuberculosis)
- medicines for HIV infection e.g. combinations of lopinavir/ritonavir or atazanavir/ritonavir
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Lamotrigine.
Inform your doctor if you are currently taking birth control pills as this can reduce the effectiveness of Lamotrigine. You should not stop or start any birth control pills without first informing your doctor. Ask your doctor about using non-hormonal birth control as an alternative while being treated with this medicine.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Protect from light and moisture.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.