Monday, September 5, 2011

Are You Here Because You Searched on "Northstar Lamotrigine"?

I was taking a look at the stats for this blog, and it seems that the most popular search terms have to do with NorthStar lamotrigine and its side effects.  This makes me wonder -- who else out there had a horrible experience with NorthStar lamictal/lamotrigine?

Google tells me that at least a few people besides me have had it run them off the rails.  If you've also had this experience, and if you feel comfortable sharing your story in the comments, please do so.  I think it would help a lot of people.


  1. Yes, that's how I found you.

    My spouse (who is diagnosed at this point with Bipolar I and PTSD, and maybe some form of panic/anxiety disorder above and beyond the PTSD) signed himself into inpatient on Thursday because his intrusive thoughts had stopped being intrusive thoughts and were starting to take a turn towards being full-on voices insinuating that maybe jumping out a second-floor window or off a balcony would be appropriate. He's got a history of command hallucinations induced by particular meds that don't like him - including Benadryl, of all damn things - so we take this seriously.

    There were a lot of other major life changes going on simultaneously, including running into a person who probably re-triggered him on the second of three reasons he has a PTSD diagnosis.

    BUT we've also noted that he's had mild destabilizations (a few days of agitation and really shitty sleep, or the brief return of the "angry zombie" variety of depression) every 3 months, right around when he refills the generic lamotrigine, because we can't get a consistent generic around here for some damn reason.

    The situation that put him inpatient resembled what his brain does to him when given either an SSRI or an atypical antipsychotic. Obvious mania, alternating between euphoric and mixed, and with the PTSD throwing in its own weird crap.

    Checked out CrazyMeds. Jerod mentions another generic lamotrigine as being particularly awful, so I decided to check out what the new bottle was. It wasn't that but...oh what the heck, googling "NorthStar lamotrigine" now.

    So...hi. This really sucks and I wish NorthStar would GTFO of the lamotrigine business.

  2. Hi Cheshire,

    Thanks for commenting, and for sharing your husband's story. I'm sorry to hear that he's struggling -- especially for what should be a completely preventable reason.

    I couldn't believe my experience on Northstar. It was worse than being completely unmedicated I thought the FDA was supposed to ensure that medications were consistent (ha, just my little joke!). I've had problems before, like when I got generic Zoloft and was super dizzy -- but it's not like it stopped working, or made my depression worse!

    Walgreens, apparently, always stocks Teva lamotrigine, which is the *only* generic that's *exactly* like brand name lamictal. After my NorthStar experience, I called my local Walgreens and explained what happened: that I'd been fine while taking the Teva lamotrigine I'd gotten there, but had a bad experience with a different generic when filled elsewhere. Do you always stock Teva, and only Teva, I asked?

    The pharmacist said that Teva is the brand they stock, and the brand that they stock shall be Teva, and there shall be no other brands before Teva.

    Walgreens is a nationwide chain, and I imagine that Teva gave them some sort of deal for buying in the massive quantities they require. Also, if Teva works so much better than *any* of the other generics, Walgreens gets a competitive advantage over other pharmacies. If this is the case, Walgreens would have no motivation for switching randomly to another generic.

    The good news is that even if you don't have a Walgreens in your area, they do mail order. I'd still call and make extra special double-plus sure that the mail order service stocks the same generic as the retail stores (Teva, Teva, Teva!), but it seems like a good bet.

  3. And good luck to you and your husband!


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