Lamictal is classified as an anticonvulsant drug. It also helps regulate mood and increase the time between manic and depressive episodes in patients with bipolar disorder. Like many drugs, it carries a small risk of some serious and potentially fatal side effects. However, with proper patient education and health care monitoring the chances of a serious or permanent side effect are rare.
Keep in mind that pretty much all medications carry the risk of some scary side effects. The odds of these effects occurring in you are low, but it’s good to be informed before you take a medication. This list of side effects isn’t meant to discourage or encourage anyone from using Lamictal or other lamotrigine containing drugs. It is merely a reference about the drug and side effects.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (USNLM), the most recent warning added to the package insert and healthcare provider information about Lamictal is about the potential of patients developing asceptic meningitis. Asceptic meningitis is similar to bacterial meningitis, but bacteria do not grow in the fluid around the brain and spinal cord.
Patients who experience any of these symptoms should consult with their physician to be tested for aseptic meningitis: stiff neck, headaches, photosensitivity (abnormal sensitivity to light), nausea, chills, fever, sleepiness, confusion, sore throat, generalized pain in the body, rash, nausea and vomiting.
The other main serious side effect of Lamictal is a potentially fatal skin rash. According to the USNLM, Lamictal may cause a rash that, “…may need to be treated in a hospital or cause permanent disability or death…Serious rashes usually develop during the first 2 to 8 weeks of treatment..but can develop at any time during treatment.”
Some of the milder side effects may lessen or go away as your body adjusts to the medication. Lamictal works well for many people by lowering the number and severity of seizures. It also helps some people have fewer manic and depressive episodes. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about potential side effects and how Lamictal compares to other medications for your condition.