Medical Questions > Mental Health > Bipolar Disorder Forum

long term side effects from Lamictal (Page 1)

Must Read
Do you know what bipolar is exactly? And what types of bipolar do doctors classify and diagnose? Learn more basics about bipolar disorder here....
Can stress put you at risk of developing bipolar disorder? Read here for information on risk factors which increase the likelihood that someone becomes bipolar....
Bipolar is difficult to diagnose as an illness ... but bipolar symptoms are usually accompanied by extreme changes. What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?...
Hi

I have Bipolar (so they say...) and ADHD, and I'm currently taking 125mg Lamictal and 18mg Concerta. I've been taking Lamictal for 4 years (I'm 22), and I think it has done more damage than good in the long run.

I think it has affected my body in a negative way, but I'm not sure it is the Lamictal, even if it all started when I got on this medication.

Higher levels of creatinine in the blood
more prone to the flu
generally more prone to feeling sick
increased ADHD symptoms
a rash in the face
rash on my upper body (the doc said it looks like fungus)
muscle pains
joint pains
anxiety
alcohol intolerance (almost like an allergic reaction)
headaches
can't remember the last time I slept without having to take meds like Zopiclone and Melatonin.
It's almost like my body struggles to fight infections.

I have no diseases or anything. I'm a healthy guy otherwise. These side effects TOTALLY reinforce my anxiety towards diseases and such, and that is a major downside.

The "fungus" goes away when I apply anti fungal cream for a week or two, but then it returns. It's mostly on my shoulders, but has worked it's way to my neck and chest. This process has been very slow, but it's increasing. It gets itchy as well. It looks like brown spots in different sizes.

The rash in my face is red, and the skin gets dry and itchy. I treat my skin with respect, and I never had skin problems before starting on this med. It's not acne either. I spoke to my doc about this, but they don't see any connection between my symptoms and Lamictal. All these things started to occur after I started on this medication. Before this I was in mint condition.

If I increase the dose with 12,5mg (split 25mg) I end up with neusea, headache, swollen throat and a "fever-ish" feeling. Seriously, the last time I tried to increase the dose I felt really really sick for 36 hours. The rash got worse too. It's almost like I have developed an allergy over time, because I was on 200mgs for 2 years, but my body absolutely cannot handle any more than 125mgs without shutting down now.

I've decided that I want to stop taking this med, but I'm going to reduce the dosage very slowly to avoid withdrawals. I know Lamictal is a great help for many people, but not for me. Does anybody have any idea if my symptoms comes from the Lamictal, and have you guys ever heard of something similar? I haven't found any useful info in the web yet. I don't think I have the dangerous rash, because then I would probably be dead by now. But judging by the pics I saw, my rash isn't very different. Am I hyper sensitive? I've tried loads of other meds, but I always get too much side effects. The Concerta works great though. I'm starting to think I was misdiagnosed with Bipolar.

I'm gonna see a new doc on June 10th because I just moved to another place. I hope she has some answers for me.

I'm sorry for the long post, but I'm a bit desperate and very afraid of whats happening.

-muddie
Did you find this post helpful?
First Helper muddie
|

User Profile
replied May 27th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Hi, muddie!
I guess you are right about getting almost all side effects of Lamictal.
Flu-like syndrome, fever, feeling sick (malaise feeling) are side effects of Lamictal.
Very rare side effect is alcohol intolerance, as a metabolic disorder.
Muscle pain, joint pain, muscle weakness, leg cramps and twiching are side effects of this drug.
It can cause insomnia or increased sleepiness. Sleep disorders are frequent side effects.
Headaches, rash and pruritus (skin itchiness) are more common when Lamictal is used alone with other medications.

What does the rash on your face look like?
Is it all over the whole face or around nose, eyebrows?
|
Did you find this post helpful?
Users who thank MandMs for this post: muddie 

replied May 27th, 2008
Thanks for replying Smile

The rash in my face is mostly around my nose, from under my nostrils and it has spread itself up to my eyebrows. So it has basically made a "frame" around my nose, and sometimes it looks pretty bad. It's red and looks a bit like patches. I can feel it when I'm touching it with my fingers. It looks a bit like the rash I have on my body, only the color is more red and it stings more. I remember a few times when there was small amounts of fluid coming from the rash when scratched on.

It I've reduced my dose a little, and I actually see a slight difference. The withdrawals are very noticable though.

So Lamictal may be the cause of my malaise feeling the last years? I've been sick/ill way to much. Can it affect the kidneys as well? And can it affect the immune system and make the body more prone to infections and such? Seems logical to me, especially if my body is using a lot of energy to fight off Lamictal, which it obviously doesn't like.

I always thought my side effects would go away with time, but they haven't. Most of my side effects are not listed in my information sheet, but I guess they don't put everything there.

Thanks again for the reply!
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied May 27th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
The answer to all your question is YES! Please, have this look into emmediatly.
Make sure you are not allergic to Lithium. This rash could be a factor of something you do not want to let go. I would go the the hospital or call your PCP. This will look somewhat like sunburn with blister that ooz alot.
I don't mean to get you upset or frantic. This is something that is treatable. Please look up, Lamical and it's side effects. I can not go any farther with this.

Thank's
Carrie
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied May 27th, 2008
Thank you very much for the advice!!
I'm going to call the local medical center and ask them tomorrow for an appointment. I reduced my dosage with 25mg yesterday, and I'm considering just going off the meds cold turkey, but I'm a bit worried about withdrawals.

I don't really know why I have put up with this for 4 years... but it's getting worse, so I need to take action asap.

Thanks again for the very helpful advices you guys have given me. I appreciate it!

muddie
|
Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied May 28th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
muddie!
Are the skin lesions on face like scales of greasy skin or yellow crusted patches that are itchy and located on red base?
Do you find them next to the hair line and at ears, too?
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied May 28th, 2008
The rash in the face is red, and yes, there is yellow/white crust on top. Looks like a sunburn with scales of both crusty and sometimes greasy skin. If i just rub my fingers gently on the rash, skin crusts sticks to my fingers. If i scratch it, a very small amout of fluid can sometimes appear from the rash. The severity of the rash varies greatly. Right now it's not very visible, but it stings abit. I'm always sore though. It can come out of nowhere, so I might look rashy again tomorrow for all I know.

I can't see any rash on my ears, fortunately. But my scalp is often itchy. Sometimes I get a visible rash on my scalp which appears like dandruff, not far from the hairline. It is not very different from the one I have in my face. I use a good conditioner and I take good care of myself, so I really should't have a problem with dandruff.

I stopped taking my Lamictal now. The doc didn't have time to see me today unfortunately. The mood is good, but I'm a bit concerned with possible withdrawals.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied May 30th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
The skin lesions and dandruff you have on your face and scalp are due to condition known as seborrheic dermatitis or seborrhea, because affects the sebum-gland rich areas of skin.
It is common medical problem and you can be treated for this.
There are studies for lamictal who find relation between this drug and increased susceptibility to this condition (probably due to some effects of Lamictal to the body immune system)

About your body rash....does it look like patches of variable appearance (hypopigmented, hyperpigmented, dark brown or reddish) surrounded by normal skin?
Do the lesions tend to change their size and place of appearance (like moving lesions)?
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied May 31st, 2008
The body rash is usually brown (darker than my own skin) and sometimes a bit reddish. They change in size and appearance. And yes, they are surrounded by normal skin.

I have stopped taking Lamictal now. Except for a few withdrawal symptoms, I feel fine. I hope my skin problems will go away, and that I can live a life without an impaired immune system.

How does it affect the immune system really? And will the negative effects go away after I stop taking Lamictal? I hope I haven't made permanent damage to my system by using this medication. I have a little problem with hypochondria sometimes, and being sick very often doesn't really help.

My mood is quite unaffected, and it seems that Concerta has a better effect now compared to when it is combined with Lamictal. It's also easier for me to relax, and my sleep has improved slightly.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied June 5th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Lamictal is known to cause changes of the immune system when decreasing the number of blood immune cells (white blood cells-body defensive role) that are fighting against microbes.
You can ask for a regular blood test to check the number of leukocytes.

Have you noticed that you are getting more and more susceptible to infections and getting sick as you are longer using Lamictal?

The skin lesions you have on your body (you have the tipical localizations of these lesions-the back is most affected, predisposing factor for this condition is increase in sebum secretion) are due to fungal dermatitis (some patient using Lamictal have shown increased susceptibility to this condition)
It's called Pityriasis versicolor, and I, guess, your doctor have already gave you the right topical treatment.
But, you have mentioned that it came again.
In cases, when the lotions and creams aren't helping and there are frequent relapses or severe disease, you should take antifungal drugs as a systemic therapy.
Talk with your dermatologist about that option.
Lamictal causes sleep disorders as a side effect.
How do you feel?

Waiting for your post!
Marija
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied June 5th, 2008
Yes, I got more susceptible to infections and getting sick. My body became weaker and weaker with time. It started to get really bad last autumn though. I actually ended up with sepsis because of a little wound on my finger. What are the odds?!

Now I feel stronger and more healthy. I don't have pains in my body, and the rash in my face is almost gone. Physically I feel like a new person! Smile Mentally the difference is minimal, at least for now. Life without Lamictal looks promising!
|
Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied June 12th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
I'm happy that you are doing much better!
Well wishes!
Have a good, healthy day!
Marija

There are chances to get the facial rash again, but, it isn't anything serious.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied June 12th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
That is what I have been using, Antifugal topical ointments. Not sure it is helping since I debreed it ever few days due to the horrific itch. Me bad.
I see my PCP this month and I had to show it to her since I can't afford a dermatologist.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied February 23rd, 2010
Hello!
Well I have been taking Lamictal for over 2 years, and I also took it about 4 years ago, for about 6 months.
Lamictal has worked for me really well. I am on 300mg daily, however right now I have cut it down to 250mg. I can definetly notice changes, not on my mood, but things such as picking fingers and bitting nails, (not so much), but when I am on 300mg it doesn't happen!
I don't have the flu like sympthoms, fatigue, and others.
I have dry mouth and a little nausea 20 minutes after I take it which lasts for about 10 to 20 minutes. However, I have a freaking crazy withdrawl!!!! If I miss a dose for ONE DAY, or for even 1/2 day, I get so light headed, dizzy, sick, sick... I mean sick, like if my glucose is very low, with an awful taste in my mouth, my head spins and I feel out of balance, (once I wasn't taking lamictal correctly and the withdrawls were so bad that I went to an ENT because I thought I had labirintitis, bc I was so dizzy)....though other than that I do think Lamictal is a great drug! I have never had rashes... Thank God!CS
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied June 16th, 2010
Lamictal rash
I started taking Lamictal and found I was in a better mood, more stable and less tired... however, I started getting a rash, super itchy, looks like lots of little mosquito bites in area concetrated on my arm, a TON around my earlobe, down over my jaw and on my neck. They are beginning to get a little dry. Any idea if this is related to lamictal which I started a little over one week ago?
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied June 16th, 2010
Supporter
Lamictal can cause a severe disease called Steven Johnson syndrome. Call your doctor immediately and stop taking it. This is not a good sign. I do not understand why your doctor did not tell you about this dangerous side effect. I take lamictal and have never gotten a rash but for those of you who have this experience stop the drug, and call you doctor now.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied June 19th, 2010
I was put in hospital for sever depp. after being raped by my doctor...anyway along with ptsd they told me i was bipolar...they put me on this med to but told me if i got a rash tell them immed. so they could stop the med bc it is life threatning..i didnt get a rash but stopped all meds...anyway point was they told me if a rash develops u r to stop meds immediatly and get to Emergenct Room!
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied June 19th, 2010
Supporter
Mommynicolee,

I am so sorry your therapist raped you. Were you able to press charges. No wonder you suffer from PTSD. How are you doing now. I hope you are doing okay. What doctor raped you? Was it a therapist? I'm not a doctor but maybe you are not bipolar. It was normal to become severely depressed after such a horrible event. However you may need to get counseling so you can talk to someone, or maybe join a group of people who have experienced the same thing. I think they will the only ones that can truly know how you feel. I was sexually abused as a young child and I know how that can affect one through out their life.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied June 22nd, 2010
Lamictal is also connected to messing up your thyroid.

I also felt misdiagnosed and I was taking 400 mg a day for 5 years. My reg dr weaned me off and put me on a low mg of depression medicine and I feel wayyyy better than when I was on the medicine. They diagnosed me when I was a teen which i dont think was fair anyways because now that i look back at it was just being hormonal teenager.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied June 22nd, 2010
Supporter
sacort,

I really appreciate the info about lamictal having an effect on your thyroid, I have been taking 300ml for 5 years, but it works really well for me, after trying over 12 meds it is actually the only one that has really changed my life. However I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism so it may be the reason. My endo is aware of all the meds I take but has not mentioned that. But he has told me many women if their 50's to get thyroid problems, and also extreme stress can bring it on. I am over 50 and have dealt with major stress in the last eight years. Sadly my daughter passed jul4th 2008. I am just happy that lamictal is keeping me mentally healthy.
Cindy
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied April 5th, 2011
these problems happened when i was on lithium and my doc said it had nothing to do with it, when i stopped the symptoms all went away. i work in the mental health area and see a bunch of side effects that get brushed under the rug it is aweful,i take 200mg of lamictial and have for 12 years it was given to me in a study in ri i had severe rage.so bad i was in the position of hurting anyone who got on my nerves and it didnt take much i want to stop taking it and i am afraid of withdrawal i have tried all and i mean all meds and nothing works for one reason or an other but most of all the rage that i had i am afraid it will come back does anyone know or have any ideas
|
Did you find this post helpful?
12 >>