Lamictal & Insomnia?
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Q:  Lamictal & Insomnia?


I was diagnosed just over 2 years ago.  Still trying to find stability.  Lamictal seems to work for me but it completely takes away my ability to sleep.  I cannot fall asleep at all. I take ambien and can get 5 hours only to wake up and be unable to fall back asleep.  Doctor keeps putting me on atypical antipsychotics  (geodon, seroquel, zyprexa) thinking it is caused by mania, then I get depressed.  I do not think it is mania, I think it is a side effect of the lamictal.  Have you ever heard of this?  Do you have any suggestions on how to help?  I haven't slept well in 2 years.
              

Dear Lynne -- 

Not sure what's going on here.  I understand what you're asking. You might talk with your doctor about a trial of cautiously lowering lamotrigine (Lamictal) to see what happens to sleep.  I have one fellow who seemed to get an antidepressant effect from lamotrigine, but at doses of 50 or 75 mg, he was having more agitation with it. We started to taper it off.  At 25 mg, he was still getting the antidepressant effect, and the anxiety was gone or nearly so; so we just kept them at that does, and he is done very nicely (now over a year).  

Not to imply that you might have such a response, but it would be worth talking with your doctor about.   

Now here's a surprise: I have not heard my patients telling me about insomnia on Lamictal.  So I did a search on Google to make sure I wasn't missing something.  Low and behold, this is a well-known, said to occur in 10% of people taking Lamictal for epilepsy.  Here's the reference; I haven't checked out the source, but obviously this is a recognized problem, even if the 10% figure is not correct. 

I will listen with a new ear to my patients' sleep experience when they are taking lamotrigine.  Thank you.
 

Dr. Phelps




Published July, 2008
 

 

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