HeadMeds gives young people in the United Kingdom general information about medication. HeadMeds does not give you medical advice. Please talk to your Doctor or anyone else who is supporting you about your own situation because everyone is different. Please read more important details about our site.

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Lamotrigine

Return to Lamotrigine overview
  1. Use and Action
  2. Warnings and side effects
  3. Sex, drink, weight and everything else

You can drink alcohol while taking lamotrigine

  • You can continue to drink alcohol while taking lamotrigine. Alcohol is likely to make you more sleepy so be careful.

Do not drive a car or ride a bike just after you start taking lamotrigine

  • Taking lamotrigine may make you feel dizzy, and may affect your eyesight (possibly blurred or double vision), when you start taking it.
  • This could affect you if you drive a car, ride a bike, or do anything else that needs a lot of focus. It might be best to stop doing these things for the first few days, until you know how it affects you.
  • Do not worry - most people do these things as normal while taking lamotrigine.

Try not to take lamotrigine for the first time just before your exams

  • You might have sleep problems (feel tired or have difficulty getting to sleep), and some blurred eyesight or double vision when you start taking lamotrigine.
  • You should talk to your doctor about any future exams if you are starting lamotrigine.
  • You might decide together to delay starting it until you have done them.
  • If they are more than a month away, however, you might find that it is better to start lamotrigine to improve your motivation to study.
  • Do not worry - most people do all these things as normal while taking lamotrigine.

Lamotrigine is not a banned substance in sport

  • Lamotrigine is not a banned substance in sport.
  • It could, however, make you feel dizzy and give you blurred or double vision when you start taking it.
  • It might be better to delay any sport that needs a lot of focus until you know how it affects you.
  • Do not worry - most people do all these things as normal while taking lamotrigine.

Lamotrigine may affect your sleep

  • Lamotrigine may make you feel very drowsy or sleepy when you start taking it.
  • It may also make it difficult for you to get to sleep.
  • If these symptoms carry on for a long time, or if this is difficult for you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other medicines you could take.

Let your family and friends know you are taking lamotrigine so they can support you and help you look out for side effects

  • The side-effects of lamotrigine might put a strain on your friendships and relationships, especially in the first few days of taking it.
  • You might feel irritable, aggressive or anxious.
  • These side-effects should get better after a few days.
  • You should then be getting the good effects of lamotrigine, and that should improve your relationships in itself.
  • It might actually be a great idea to choose a good friend to tell about your medicine when you start taking it. (Or - even better - to take a friend with you to the doctor before you start taking the medicine!)
  • They could look at the medicine leaflet, or at this website.
  • They could help you to understand whether the medicine changes your behaviour, or gives you side-effects (sometimes it is hard for us to see it ourselves).

No effects of lamotrigine on fertility have been noted

  • There is nothing to suggest that lamotrigine has any effects on fertility.

Lamotrigine is considered one of the safer drugs to take during pregnancy

You should use good contraception when you are taking lamotrigine until you are ready to start a family.

  • If you do become pregnant while you are on lamotrigine, you should carry on taking the medicine and go back to your doctor as soon as possible, to see if you should change or stop your medicine.
  • Studies of over 7,500 women taking lamotrigine showed no increase in problems during the early stages of pregnancy.
  • The doctor might also give you extra folic acid to take, to prevent any spine problems in your baby.
  • From month 4 onwards you are likely to need a higher dose of lamotrigine to keep your body levels constant.

If you are taking lamotrigine for epilepsy these dose increases may be made against blood level tests.

Breastfeeding may cause symptoms in the baby

If you agree - with your doctor - to carry on taking lamotrigine, you should tell your midwife that you are taking it before you give birth.

  • After giving birth your lamotrigine dose will go back to what it was before.
  • Lamotrigine can be passed to the baby in breastmilk, and side-effects have been seen in breastfed babies. Usually there is no problem with breastfeeding a healthy baby.
  • Talk to your midwife or doctor about the benefits and risks of breastfeeding while taking lamotrigine.

Lamotrigine can produce a false positive result in some drug tests

  • Lamotrigine can produce a false positive test for phencyclidine (PCP) on a urine drug screen.
  • Talk to your doctor about this if it is a problem for you.

References

Search www.medicines.org.uk to find patient information leaflets and prescribing information on lamotrigine. The SmPC lists all the inactive ingredients in the product so you can check against any allergies. If you are still unsure about this then speak to your pharmacist.

  • British National Formulary (BNF) and British National Formulary for children. Download the BNF/BNFC app (blue background) on to your mobile device. No longer available for public access via the web 
  • Taylor D, Barnes T, Young A. Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines in Psychiatry, 13th edition. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, May 2018. ISBN: 978-1-119-44260-8
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Medicines Ethics and Practice (42nd edition). London: RPS, 2018. Standards for pharmacists to work to. It is not a free publication
  • World Anti Doping Agency WADA Prohibited List https://www.wada-ama.org/en/resources/science-medicine/prohibited-list-documents 
  • Choiceandmedication; an independent source of information on many mental health conditions and their medicines with easy to read fact sheets www.choiceandmedication.org Personal subscriptions to download the app available for £1 per month (with proportionate discounts for longer periods) but your local mental health Trust may subscribe and provide information sheets for free.
  • Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPS). Information sheets on drugs in pregnancy http://www.medicinesinpregnancy.org/ 
  • Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed). Information on drugs in breastfeeding https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/lactmed.htm