Epilepsy Home > Lamictal XR Uses

Lamictal XR is licensed to help treat two different types of seizures: partial-onset and grand mal. The medication is thought to work by affecting sodium channels in the brain. Although Lamictal XR is not approved for bipolar disorder or petit mal seizures, a healthcare provider may recommend it "off-label" for these and other conditions. Children under the age of 13 should not use Lamictal XR.

What Is Lamictal XR Used For?

Lamictal® XR™ (extended-release lamotrigine) is a prescription seizure medication. It is a long-acting, extended-release formulation that is taken just once a day. Specifically, Lamictal XR is approved for use in people age 13 and older in combination with other seizure medications to treat the following types of seizures:
  • Partial-onset seizures (with or without secondary generalization)
  • Primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures (also known as grand mal seizures).
As is typical with new seizure medications, Lamictal XR is not licensed to be used alone, as it has not been adequately studied in this fashion. In studies, people were given either Lamictal XR or a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients) to take in addition to their usual seizure medications. It would be unethical to give a person with epilepsy just a placebo without the other medications.
There are more than 30 different types of seizures a person with epilepsy may experience. These seizures are generally classified into two main categories: partial-onset seizures (also known as focal seizures or simply partial seizures) and generalized seizures.
A seizure can start out as a partial seizure before turning into a generalized seizure (this is known as secondary generalization). Generalized seizures are a result of abnormal brain activity on both sides of the brain. These seizures may cause loss of consciousness, falls, or massive muscle spasms. The two most common forms are absence seizures (also known as petit mal seizures) and tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal seizures).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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