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Precautions and Warnings With Lamotrigine

Understanding precautions and warnings with lamotrigine prior to taking it can help ensure a safe treatment process. These include being aware of potential drug interactions, possible side effects, and the risks of suddenly stopping the drug. Precautions and warnings with lamotrigine also extend to people who are allergic to any components of the drug and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Lamotrigine: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking lamotrigine (Lamictal®) if you have:
 
  • Liver disease, such as liver failure or cirrhosis
  • Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Heart disease or any heart problems
  • A blood disorder
  • Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
     
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
     
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Lamotrigine

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking lamotrigine include the following:
 
  • The medication can cause life-threatening skin rashes (see Lamictal Rash). Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop any rash while taking lamotrigine.
     
  • Lamotrigine can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. These allergic reactions can cause organ failure and even death. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you have any early signs of such a reaction, including:

 

    • Fever
    • Swollen lymph nodes (swollen "glands")
    • Swelling of the mouth or lips
    • Difficulty breathing.

 

  • There have been cases of liver failure caused by lamotrigine. Children under two years old are at especially high risk, especially children with mental retardation, brain damage or disease, or certain other health problems. The medication is not approved for children under 10 years old and should rarely be used in young children, due to the risk of liver damage.

 

  • Lamotrigine can cause aseptic meningitis, which is nonbacterial inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs or symptoms of this condition, such as:
     
    • Headache
    • Fever and chills
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Stiff neck
    • Rash
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Drowsiness or confusion.
  
  • Lamotrigine can cause anemia or other blood disorders, which might increase your risk of bleeding or infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any unusual bruising or bleeding or frequent infections.
     
  • As with all seizure medications, lamotrigine should not be stopped suddenly (see Lamictal Withdrawal). If you stop taking the drug for any reason (even for just a few days), do not start taking it again without talking with your healthcare provider.
     
  • If you have liver, kidney, or heart problems, your body may not handle lamotrigine as well as it should, and you may be at a higher risk for lamotrigine side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking the drug if you have liver, kidney, or heart problems.
     
  • The medication can accumulate in the eyes, potentially causing problems. You should receive regular eye exams while taking it.
     
  • Lamotrigine can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and vision problems. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you see how the medication will affect you.
     
  • Lamotrigine can interact with other medications (see Drug Interactions With Lamotrigine).
     
  • Lamotrigine is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for pregnant women, although the full risks are not known. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug while pregnant (see Lamictal and Pregnancy).
     
  • Lamotrigine passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Lamictal and Breastfeeding).

 

  • Early evidence suggests that seizure medications, including lamotrigine, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors (see Seizure Medications and Suicide for more information)

 

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