Lamictal (lamotrigine) is a mood stabilizer used to treat bipolar disorder and an anticonvulsant used to treat epilepsy. When used to treat bipolar disorder, the medication helps minimize the frequency of mood swings. Lamictal inhibits seizures in persons with epilepsy and can be administered alone or in combination with another anticonvulsant.
There often arises a query; Does Lamictal help for generalized anxiety disorder? Read more to know about it.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not accepted Lamictal (lamotrigine), a mood stabilizer and anticonvulsant, to treat anxiety disorders. It has been approved for the treatment of bipolar illness and seizure disorders.
Anxiety was noted as a side effect by 4% of subjects during Lamictal clinical trials. However, 3% of the control group felt anxiety, indicating a rare adverse effect.
Advantages of Lamictal (Lamotrigine) for Anxiety Disorders
Although an unproven strategy, there are numerous potential benefits of using lamotrigine as an off-label treatment for anxiety.
The most apparent possible benefit is that lamotrigine may turn out to be the most effective anxiolytic medicine that a person suffering from an anxiety condition has ever tried.
Other potential advantages of using lamotrigine for anxiety include its capacity to address comorbidities, low cost, neuroprotective qualities, and unique method of action. Furthermore, nearly all preliminary findings suggest that lamotrigine may benefit a subset of anxious people.
Lamictal’s Common Adverse Effects
Lamictal is a generally well-tolerated medicine, and the drug’s dosage must be gradually increased. Extremely significant skin responses are more likely if your body is exposed to too much medication too rapidly. Other Lamictal side effects include:
- Loss of equilibrium
- Double vision
- Loss of appetite
- Abnormal movements if eyes
- Having difficulty speaking
- Concentration problems
- Uncomfortable or missed Menstrual cycles
- Hair thinning (rare, but occurs in some individuals)
These adverse effects may fade with time. Contact your doctor if they don’t or if they are troublesome.
Precautions for Lamictal
Before starting Lamictal, go over your medical history with your doctor in depth. The following are some potential issues to be aware of:
- Allergy to lamotrigine or any of the other components in Lamictal
- Interactions with other drugs, whether OTC, prescription, or simple vitamins & supplements
- Pregnancy; if you become pregnant while taking Lamictal, tell your doctor immediately.
- Drowsiness; don’t drive or operate heavy machinery until you’ve been taking Lamictal for a while and know how it affects you.
- Drinking alcohol, which might exacerbate the drowsiness caused by Lamictal.
- Autoimmune disorders such as a blood disorder, lupus, or liver or kidney disease.
The Rash Caused by Lamotrigine
The most severe danger of lamotrigine is a rare allergic reaction known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, fatal if ignored. A patient may first have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, or sore throat, followed by a rash or skin blistering.
Most rashes appear within two to eight weeks of starting treatment, and they are more common in children than in adults. Larger starting dosages, higher rising doses, and the usage of lamotrigine in combination with valproate all enhance the risk of rash.
Mechanism of Action of Lamictal
After lithium, Lamictal was one of the first drugs approved by the FDA to treat bipolar disorder. Lamictal reduces aberrant excitatory activity in the brain, even though the exact mechanism of action is unknown.
It is essential to investigate the mechanism of action of lamotrigine to identify how it may decrease anxiety symptoms. Although the mechanism of action of lamotrigine is not entirely understood, it is suggested that it acts primarily as a presynaptic inhibitor of voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs), stabilizing neuronal membranes and inhibiting glutamate release. The majority of its anxiolytic impact is thought to be generated via the regulation of voltage-gated sodium channel activity and the downstream effects associated with this modulation.
Furthermore, lamotrigine affects voltage-gated calcium channels, increases GABA, and inhibits serotonin reuptake — all of which may contribute [to varying degrees] to anxiety reduction. However, it is rational to expect that the importance of the anxiolytic benefit gained from lamotrigine will be dependent on the user’s underlying neurochemistry and physiology. Individuals with anxiety who have anomalies in the neurochemical systems targeted by lamotrigine may be expected to benefit more significantly from anxiolytic treatment than others.
It is also used to treat various mood problems associated with borderline personality disorder and dissociative disorders. Though Lamictal showed promise in a short trial of persons who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mood stabilizers, in general, are not a mainstay in the treatment of PTSD, which is a trauma-related condition.
You should consult a psychiatrist before taking Lamictal to treat anxiety. You can visit Marham to make an appointment with the Best Psychiatrist in Islamabad.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1- How effective is Lamictal for anxiety?
For the treatment of Anxiety, Lamotrigine has a rating of 6.8 out of 10 based on 90 ratings. 61% of reviewers said it had a favorable effect, while 26% said it had a harmful impact.
2- Who should not take lamotrigine? If you are allergic to lamotrigine, you should not take it. Lamotrigine may induce a severe or life-threatening skin rash, particularly in youngsters and those taking a very high initial dose, as well as those taking valproic acid or divalproex sodium.
3- What happens if you miss the Lamictal dose? Missed doses may result in a seizure. If you fail to take your tablets for more than five days in a row, consult your doctor since you will need to restart on a reduced dose and gradually progress to your usual amount. If you frequently forget to take the medication, setting the alarm may help.