Sunday, July 24, 2011

More Reflections on the Frist Two Weeks of Lamictal/lamotrigine

Yesterday I got off on a tangent about lamictal and its effect on my muscles (to make a long story short, some people experience sore muscles on this med, but I find my muscles are much MUCH less sore, and I would probably think this was a Good Thing even if I didn't lift weights).  As I was going to bed last night it occurred to me that I should write up a list of all the side effects I've experienced since starting this med, broken down by category.


  • Rash of tiny red pin-pricks after working out on Day 2.  Checked with my doctor and verified that it wasn't The Lamictal Rash.  It went away by the next day, but reappeared after my next workout.  Again, it disappeared by the following morning.  It hasn't been back since.
  • Dry skin and mild acne.  I'd say my skin has been slightly dryer than normal, but in the last few days I've developed some mild acne on my forehead.
  • Dermatitis, especially at bedtime.  I don't know if this has to do with changing clothes or what, but I've noticed that my skin seems to itch the most when I change into my pajamas.  There's no redness or anything, just random itchiness. 
  • Increased sensitivity to bug bites.  There are many fewer mosquitoes in California than there are in my home state of Minnesota.  I almost never get bitten here.  But in the last few weeks I've noticed several mosquito bites, and they're much redder and larger than usual. 


  • Mild insomnia.  This has been worse since I stayed up late to watch the shuttle's last landing ever.  My body seems to want to set itself on a 3 am to 11 am clock.
  • Overall quality of sleep is improved.  Before I started Lamictal/lamotrigine, I would wake up several times a night, usually when my cat was being a jerk.  Now, once I fall asleep, I stay asleep.  It's kind of nice.


  • Dry mouth.  This can be managed by drinking lots of water.  No big.
  • Lack of appetite.  This seems worse in the morning, and can cause problems if I don't get enough to eat before working out.  I solved the problem this week by drinking a protein shake with fruit and dandelion greens before my workout (yeah, it was about as tasty as it sounds).
  • Nausea: Mild and occasional. 
  • Constipation:  Noticeable when I first started Lamictal/lamotrigine.  Then it went away.  Came back when I titrated up to 50 mgs.
  • Bloating:  Mild to moderate, and seems to vary related to nothing in particular. 


  • Word-finding problems and brain blocks.  This only happened on one day.  Then it was gone.

  • Changed reaction to alcohol.  I seem to be somewhat more tolerant, feeling no effects whatsoever from a single drink (usually I feel some but not much).  A single drink before bedtime will ensure that I sleep deeply and long.  When I have more than one drink, I seem to experience only the slowed thought and reaction time, and none of the buzzy, tipsy, euphoric feelings.  Since I know damn well that alcohol blunts the effects of meds, and increases depression, this is probably a good thing. 

So that's me.  What has your experience been with lamictal?  Have the side effects been bothersome or negligible?


  1. Great rundown of your experience with side effects of Lamictal. I've never tried it but have heard lots of good things about it. Your blog will be very helpful to others who might be taking it and wondering if it's a typical lamictal effect or not. Of course with bipolar disorder there are so many changes in mood and symptoms that sometimes it's hard to tell what's a medication effect and what's part of the illness!

  2. Yeah, and I don't even know if what I have is "really" bipolar or just a very complicated major depressive disorder. But you're totally right ... I'm often asking myself, "Is this the drug? Or is it my brain? Or is it MY BRAIN ON DRUGS?"


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