Lamictal for depression

Lamictal is also known as lamotrigine by its generic name. Lamotrigine is an anticonvulsant. It is chemically unrelated to any other anticonvulsant or mood regulating medication. Lamictal is a prescription medicine. It is generally used to treat bipolar disorder and epilepsy. It is believed that it affects sodium channels in the brain and controls epilepsy. Its working mechanism in treating bipolar disorder is unknown. Lamictal is available in many forms. The common side effects that Lamictal can cause include dizziness, nausea and headaches. Even though Lamictal is not an approved one for treating depression, studies show that this drug could be effective to treat critical conditions of depression, particularly when it is used together with an antidepressant. However, it is also felt by many experts that Lamictal needs more research before concluding if it is safe and effective in treating depression.

Lamictal has been found to be useful in treating episodes of depression that is associated with bipolar disorder. Unipolar depression is opposed to bipolar depression. It is also known as clinical depression or major depression. Many people, coming across the term 'depression' link it to unipolar depression, may be because Lamictal treats bipolar depression effectively. However, this logic is acceptable only. Studies conducted in the initial stages suggest that Lamictal could be effective when it is used for 'augmentation'. Adding a non-antidepressant medication to an antidepressant to enhance its effectiveness in treating depression is known as augmentation. For depressive conditions that are difficult to treat, this technique is used. This kind of depression is known as treatment-resistant depression. The commonly used medications for augmenting antidepressants include buspirone, pindolol, lithium, and thyroid hormones. A brief study also suggests that Lamictal could be equivalent to lithium for augmentation needed to deal with treatment-resistant depression. Some other studies show that Lamictal is safe and effective for antidepressant augmentation.

Lamictal is especially helpful for patients who are not responding to other depression medication. Lamictal functions by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain. The exact working mechanism may be unknown, but doctors have a doubt that the effects of Lamictal are caused by reducing glutamate in the brain. Glutamate is a nerve-exciting substance which is released in the brain when built up of electrical signals takes place in the nerve cells. This process involves excitement of more nerve cells. It is believed that these excited nerve cells trigger epileptic seizures. This may play a role in mood cycling and depression. When glutamate is suppressed by Lamictal, it results in prevention of nerve stimulation that causes the seizure. Other medications used for depression do not affect glutamate in a typical way as Lamictal does. This could be the reason why Lamictal is effective when other medications do not work.

Lamictal is also a seizure medication. It is approved to treat bipolar disorder, but it is not approved to treat depression. As discussed above, the early studies show that Lamictal when used in combination with an antidepressant treats difficult conditions of depression. This is only to be confirmed through extensive studies. If you have depression, do not go in for self-medication with Lamictal. Consult your doctor before doing so.

Lamitctal can take several weeks or even months to reach maximum effectiveness in a patient. The starting dose of Lamictal is judged by a doctor depending on the medical history of the patient and other medications the patient is taking. Adjustments in doses of Lamictal should be made very slowly. Lamictal should not be stopped abruptly. Consult your doctor before stopping Lamictal. This drug should be tapered off over a period of weeks. Medical supervision is essential during the tapering off period.

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