Epilepsy Home > Lamictal Warnings and Precautions
Before starting a new drug, it is important to be aware of its warnings and precautions. With Lamictal, these involve being aware that the medication can cause a life-threatening skin rash, allergic reactions, and liver failure. In addition, Lamictal should be avoided by those who are allergic to any component of the drug. Warnings and precautions with Lamictal also apply to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Lamictal: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Lamictal® (lamotrigine) if you have:
- Liver disease, such as liver failure or cirrhosis
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Heart disease or any heart problems
- A blood disorder
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Specific Lamictal Warnings and PrecautionsWarnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Lamictal include the following:
- The medication can cause life-threatening skin rashes (see Lamictal Rash). Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop any rash while taking Lamictal.
- Lamictal can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. These can cause organ failure and even death. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you have any early signs of such a reaction, including:
- Swollen lymph nodes (swollen "glands")
- Swelling of the mouth or lips
- Difficulty breathing.
- There have been cases of liver failure caused by Lamictal. Children under two years old are at especially high risk, especially children with mental retardation, brain damage or disease, or certain other health problems. The drug is not approved for children under 10 years old and should rarely be used in young children, due to the risk of liver damage.
- Lamictal can cause aseptic meningitis, which is nonbacterial inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs or symptoms of this condition, such as:
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stiff neck
- Sensitivity to light
- Drowsiness or confusion.
- Lamictal can cause anemia or other blood disorders, which might increase your risk of bleeding or infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any unusual bruising or bleeding or frequent infections.
- As with all seizure medications, Lamictal should not be stopped suddenly (see Lamictal Withdrawal). If you stop taking the medication for any reason (even for just a few days), do not start taking it again without talking with your healthcare provider.
- If you have liver, kidney, or heart problems, your body may not handle Lamictal as well as it should, and you may be at a higher risk for Lamictal side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking the medication if you have liver, kidney, or heart problems.
- Lamictal can accumulate in the eyes, potentially causing problems. You should receive regular eye exams while taking the drug.
- The medication can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and vision problems. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you see how Lamictal will affect you.
- Lamictal can interact with other medications (see Lamictal Drug Interactions).
- Lamictal is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for pregnant women, although the full risks are not known. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy (see Lamictal and Pregnancy).
- Lamictal passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Lamictal and Breastfeeding).