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Does Lamictal cause insomnia? Lamotrigine and sleep

The connection between Lamotrigine and sleep is still under investigation. While side-effects from a drug like Lamictal (Lamotrigine) can vary depending on your background and circumstances, sleep issues appear to be a common concern. So, does Lamictal cause insomnia?

Lamotrigine and sleep issues tend to go hand-in-hand according to some scientific reports. Of course, this doesn’t mean everyone using Lamictal will automatically have insomnia. Today we’re going to look into the main Lamotrigine side effects and how it affects your sleep. 

Finding the right medication for any ailment is often a complicated process. As doctors often find when prescribing to patients, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment, no matter how common your condition might be. 

We all react to different substances in different ways. Some medications also have well-known side effects which can cause everything from vomiting to a disrupted sleep pattern.

Let’s explore the facts about Lamictal and insomnia. 

Lamictal and sleep: What is Lamotrigine?

Before we explore the latest studies into Lamictal and insomnia, let’s start with the basics. What is Lamotrigine? 

Lamotrigine or Lamictal (brand name) has many uses, but is generally used for the treatment of epilepsy. It can help to prevent depression in adults with bipolar disorder and also relieve mood swings in personality disorders. 

Available exclusively on prescription, Lamotrigine usually comes in the form of tablets you can swallow, or tablets you dissolve in water. Normally, patients will take Lamictal once or twice a day, and it can take up to 6 weeks for the medication to take effect. 

While Lamotrigine is widely regarded an effective treatment for epilepsy and other conditions, it won’t be suitable for everyone. You generally shouldn’t take this treatment if you have bipolar condition with suicidal thoughts, kidney or liver problems, or you’re unable to digest lactose. 

Some doctors will advise switching away from Lamotrigine treatment if you’re pregnant or attempting to get pregnant too. 

What are the most common side effects of lamotrigine?

The issues with Lamotrigine and sleep come from the specific side effects Lamictal can sometimes cause. Notably, all medications have potential side effects. 

When you’re prescribed a treatment like Lamictal, it’s usually only after your doctor has deemed the potential benefit to you to be greater than the risk. You can reduce your risk of side effects by following your doctor’s instructions carefully.

Never take more than the prescribed dose of Lamotrigine (usually up to 700mg a day for adults and children). You’ll also need to space your doses evenly through the day if you’re taking multiple tablets in a 24-hour period. 

Doctors will usually increase your dose of Lamictal gradually as your treatment progresses. The more you take, the higher your risk of side effects may be. 

Interestingly, insomnia isn’t the most common side effect of Lamictal, but there is a connection. Aside from sleep problems, other side effects may include:

  • Skin rashes (with the potential for Stevens-Johnson syndrome)
  • Headaches
  • Feeling sleepy, drowsy, or dizzy
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Diarrhea

You should always speak to a doctor immediately if you notice any severe side effects after taking this medication, including suicidal thoughts, worsening seizures, unexpected bleeding or bruising, or an extremely high temperature. 

Lamictal causes insomnia; How does lamotrigine affect sleep?

Now we’ve covered the side effects and functionality of Lamotrigine, let’s look at the connection it has with insomnia. If you visit the epilepsy foundation forum, you’ll find countless people talking about their issues with Lamictal and trouble sleeping

Lamictal has a stimulant effect, which could be one of the many reasons why it has a habit of keeping people awake. 

A study conducted in 1999 examined the records of 109 patients to determine how many experienced insomnia after the induction of the drug. Patients were included as having insomnia if they had a sleep disturbance significant enough to require a discontinuation of Lamictal, or a reduced dose.

The research found 6.4% of all patients had a significant sleep disturbance, suggesting a potential association between intolerable sleep conditions, and Lamotrigine treatment.

Further clinical research into the impact of Lamictal on sleep patterns support the idea that patients exposed to this kind of epilepsy medication have a higher risk of sleep disturbances compared to a background population. 

Lack of extensive study means insomnia isn’t always included in the common side effect list for Lamictal in some countries. However, other issues associated with sleep are classified as common side-effects, such as sleepiness, drowsiness, tiredness, and loss of coordination. 

Lamictal and insomnia: The sleep risk

If there is a significant correlation between Lamotrigine and insomnia, there’s a risk those taking this treatment could see worsening symptoms of bipolar disorder, and depression. 

As mentioned above, Lamictal is occasional used for mood management in people with bipolar disorder. The inability to sleep properly mixed with common side-effects like drowsiness and trouble focusing, could lead to lower mood for some patients.

The risk of Lamotrigine causing sleep issues often prompts many patients to seek out complimentary treatments they can use alongside their epilepsy or bipolar medication. If you’re asking the question “Can I take sleeping tablets with lamotrigine?”, it’s best to speak directly to your doctor.

Lamotrigine can interact poorly with a range of medications. Usually, Lamictal and melatonin is a safe combination, if you want a natural approach to improved sleep. This won’t necessarily be the case for all patients. Discussing your options with your doctor will help you to avoid any dangerous drug interactions. 

Keep in mind both Lamictal and melatonin can cause drowsiness, which may mean you find it difficult to focus after taking these medications. If this is the case for you, be safe when it comes to using mechanical items and vehicles.

Lamictal and sleep: Is Lamotrigine right for you?

Ultimately, only your doctor will be able to tell you whether Lamictal is a good treatment for your condition. Used correctly, this drug is proven to be a highly effective treatment for both epilepsy, and depression caused during bipolar disorder. If your doctor recommends taking this medication, it will be because they believe it can significantly benefit you.

If you begin taking Lamictal and notice you’re having trouble with your sleep, the best thing to do is contact your doctor. Don’t simply stop taking your tablets, as this could lead to an increased risk of seizure and other side effects. 

You should also make sure you’re taking your medication correctly to reduce the risk of unwanted results. Most people take their pills first thing in the morning and once in the evening, before going to bed. 

Q: Is it better to take lamotrigine in the morning or at night?

If you only need to take your Lamictal dose once a day, you may prefer to take it at night if you feel the medication makes you feel drowsy. Some people will take their medication both at morning and at night. 

Q: Can I take sleeping tablets with lamotrigine?

It may be possible to counteract some of the insomnia issues associated with Lamictal by taking an alternative sleeping medication with your treatment. It’s best to speak to your doctor before you combine anything like Lamictal and melatonin, just in case. 

Q: How long do you take Lamictal for? 

Lamotrigine used as part of a long-term treatment plan. You may be given medication alongside other drugs intended to help with the management of your epilepsy symptoms. If you’re taking Lamictal for bipolar disorder and depression, you may simply take the pills until you feel you have the condition under control. The long-term use of this medication is often what makes side-effects like insomnia so worrying. 

Siestio. Sleep Matters.

Click here if you want to know about other medications that cause insomnia.

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