Friday, January 27, 2012

Side Effect #6: Lamictal and Balance Problems

Balance Problems on Lamictal

Balance problems are one of those side effects listed on that little insert that came with your drugs.  I've found it to be somewhat troublesome and very persistent.  I doubt that that this is very common, and I suspect that most people who experience it find that it goes away.  Not me.

In my case, the balance problems are almost certainly an exacerbation of preexisting inner ear problems. I have a history of childhood middle and inner ear infections that then lasted well into adulthood.  In other words, my balance is kind of hosed anyway.  But with the inner ear issues, I've learned to compensate in a way that I haven't quite managed with lamictal.  I'll be walking along and suddenly find myself heeling over like a sailboat.

Sometimes I even need to stick a leg out to correct my balance.  For whatever reason, this seems to happen when I'm going through the door from my living room to my kitchen.  I'm glad to say that when I overbalance in public, I've never needed to stick my leg in some weird direction in order to keep my balance.


  1. Have you read this today?

    I was curious about what you'd think...


  2. I hadn't seen it. Thanks for letting me know about it.

    I'll need to think on it more, and probably do a proper post to respond to it fully, but the author talks a lot of sense. At the same time, I'm concerned that he asks us to take a lot on faith. We have to take his word for it that there's only this one well-conducted long-term study of ADD meds in kids. Then, since either he or the NYT decided not to publish the name of his 2009 study, we can't go look it up ourselves and draw our own conclusions. In these ways his opinion is about as useful as the ADHD industry spokespeople who go around saying "Medication Yay!". I take both with a shaker of salt.

    And then, another part of me is wondering when somebody is going to do any sort of solid, long-term study of ADD in the adult population. I understand being concerned about kids. They're vulnerable. But kids grow up, and have to live as adults with this condition -- and we're still vulnerable. It kind of bugs me that people stop caring once we turn 18.

  3. I too had continual balance problems with Lamictal, so it's not just you or your inner ear problems.

    Many side effects don't 'go away', we just deal with them.

    BTW, thanks for your blog, it's helpful.

  4. I've finally realized that my recent balance issues are atypical of me, and have steadily gotten worse in the 5 years that I've been on Lamyctal. My memory has also suffered. Of course I had that same problem when I was mis-prescribed Tegretol for like 15 years. That was totally crappy.

    Anyhew I take 500mg of Lamyctal a day and wonder if downsizing to 400 mg would help. It's very depressing to think that I will be forgetful and teetery for the rest of my life, just to avoid having seizures. I don't know which sucks more.

  5. I have balance problems, too. I take 125 mg Lamictal, 10 mg of Lexapro and 250 of Depakote. I just looked them up for loss of balance, and ALL of them have that as a possible side effect, though rare. Mostly for older women. I am what the doctor calls "a young 75." Twice I have fallen down. The first time, a couple months ago, I tripped and fell flat on my back on the sidewalk and hit my head on the concrete, as well as everything else on the back part of my body. Today, I was thrown while on the commuter train. I fell hard on my left side.Both times I went to the emergency room.

  6. Hi all! I too have had persistent and occasionally severe (falling) balance problems on lamotigine. I saw on the NIH website that supplementation with low dose aspirin helps mitigate similar issues for patients on lithium and have been trying it for a couple months with significant improvement. Might be worth a try. -yours in the fellowship of sensitive brains


What are your thoughts? Talk amongst yourselves!