Lamictal (lamotrigine) no better than placebo

The Last Psychiatrist (I couldn’t find the post) has spoken about this before and now CL Psych really gives us the dish:

GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturer of lamotrigine (Lamictal), the antiepileptic drug used widely for bipolar disorder, happily hid clinical trial results which found Lamictal was no better than a placebo. Given recent findings about how often pharmaceutical companies selectively push positive results to publication in medical journals while suppressing negative results, this can hardly be considered a surprise. It is nonetheless instructive to examine how the published data on Lamictal paint a much rosier picture of the drug’s efficacy compared to unpublished data….

….Ghaemi also did some digging on other drugs used for bipolar disorder and found that negative studies for Seroquel and Abilify were also lurking in the unpublished zone. However, it appears that Lamictal is the worst offender of the bunch. Is it just me, or is anyone else getting flashbacks to GSK’s handling of suicide data regarding its antidepressant Paxil? (read the rest of the post here)

I’ve known this in my gut for years. And as CL Psych writes the medical journals were calling it old news too, but who actually knew?? Not prescribing physicians.

The tragedy for me and so many of us coming off Lamictal? The withdrawal can be DEVASTATING. Click on that link to see the hundreds of comments left by people suffering withdrawal from this med that DOES NOT DO what it is purported to do!

The post on lamictal withdrawal gets more hits than any post on this entire site. It’s old and buried in the archives yet hundreds of people a week are googling “Lamictal Withdrawal” and finding my post. Why are they googling that?? It doesn’t take much to figure out most of them are having problems getting off lamictal.

**I’ve posted another 83,000 word document with hundreds of comments by Lamictal users coming off. 

Nasty withdrawals from a drug that does not even stabilize mood more often than placebo. Think long and hard people. Because most people in withdrawal face gross instability among other sometimes debilitating symtoms. This is a case of the drug, in withdrawal, causing the problem it’s supposed to treat while it most likely never did in the first place.

INFURIATING.

**note: this article is about Lamictal when used for “mood-disorders,” not epilepsy. Someone found this via google and found it confusing.

Much more info: Lamictal Redux

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

41 Responses

  1. Beccs

    Wow..You know, it feels good to read an article like that filled with information that proves what we’ve known all along. Lamictal is useless. It’s a terrible drug that has horrible effects on a lot of people. It makes me sick how these psych drug companies take advantage of people who are in such desparate need for help. All we want is something to help us get some relief from our hell of symptoms and they know that. That’s why they go out and advertise these drugs as being “miracles” because they know people will buy it. The truth is they don’t care about the public or the devastating effects their so-called miracle drug is having on people. All they care about is how much money they can make off of us. A big sarcastic thanks goes out to the big drug companies. This makes me so angry and sad.

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  2. Lizzy

    I’ve tried everything at this point, and Lamictal is the only one that does work for me, but I mainly have the lows, the only two mood stabilizers that treat the lows instead of just the highs are Lamictal and Lithium, Lithium is horrible on the liver, so it’s just Lamictal for me, I’ve been on it for about 12 years now, my only complaint is the price :/ Does anyone have any other suggestions for a mood stabilizer that treats the lows? I’m curious about cheaper methods 🙂 When I’ve went off my Lamictal the withdrawals are a pain at first, but I haven’t experienced long term withdrawals, just the same as any other drug I’ve had to come off of. I have several friends that have similar symptoms as me with the depression and ups and downs, Lamictal has been the only one that works for them too. We just want a generic form in the states.

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  3. Aurora

    Thank you. Every bit of validation helps. I’m taking it for epilepsy, not BP, and I don’t know what the research has shown for that. It has not changed my seizure pattern at all. I think I am so angry about so many drug hells I’ve been put through that I can’t even tell anymore. Time to make some corporate effigies and burn them! I am truly enraged. I have so far also been out on depakote which gave me jaundice, dilantin which made me so dizzy I couldn’t stand, tegretol which gave me a hideous ten day headache, massive codeine which I then had to do inpatient detox from–complete with crawling skin, tremors, diarrhea, vomiting and jumping out of my skin, and keppra which made me delusional/psychotic and strangely suicidal. And that’s just in the last decade or so.

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  4. Lizzy

    Wow, I had no idea there was a generic form here! Its good to know! Thank you 🙂 I actually had to delay my wedding because of the cost of my medication, I won’t get insurance coverage after I’m married.

    I’ve tried so many meds, a lot were only temporary and then they stopped working, but for about 12 years now it’s been very steady. And so far the friends I have that are on it are doing good too, so hopefully it stays that way. I realize every drug has its pros and cons, and with some people it might have a bad effect, but until I read this blog I hadn’t known anyone that has had a bad experience with it, that’s including those taking it as an anticonvulsant as well. I noticed you said it wasn’t a mood stablizer? But it does stabilize moods, anyone that takes it as a mood stabilizer that I know personally does very well with it, and it is considered and prescribed as one by doctors. I’m not trying to argue with you by saying that, I just wasn’t sure why you said that? 🙂

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  5. Lizzy

    So you aren’t on anything anymore and are fine? I wish I could get to that point, I’ve gone off my medication a few times in the past, however my lows return. The Lamictal doesn’t elevate me, but it decreases my lows on a major level. I get a lot of lows throughout the day if I’m not on it. I’ve tried so much stuff in the past, I’m big on natural medicine above anything, so I’m always looking for new remedies. But, Lamictal really has been the only one that has been steady, I just about gave up on all medications before trying it.

    But, yikes! I just read this http://www.crazymeds.us/lamictal.html I know it’s hard to decipher what is real or not online, but according to this it says techincally you shouldn’t be on Lamictal for more than 18 months? Good to know, lol. Doctors scare me, they blindly prescribe medications. I looked up prices for the generic Lamotrigine and I noticed the US prices are still way higher than the Canadian. ugh.

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  6. Lizzy

    Sorry! I didn’t read that very well obviously. I’m in the process of doing a thousand things at once and was rushing when I read it. 😡

    All of your physical sickness is from withdrawals or something else? If I may ask 🙂 I have a lot of health problems (heart), so aside from my ups and downs, I have depression from fatigue, I hate how it all goes hand in hand. You were on seven medications at once?

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  7. I wish I could say much more than “holy crap!”. I am currently taking Lamictal and honestly…I can’t say if its working or not. I’m pretty stable…TODAY. ha! Its so hit or miss with me.

    As you know (I’m on a different screen name I think…I’m changing blogs…but I have posted once before.), I am thinking long and hard about coming off my meds at some point. I’m scared about that…and now even more so.

    It really makes me angry. I’m mad because I’ve been lied to. I’m mad because the system is set up in such a way that if I vocalize any intent to change, to do something for myself OTHER than medication, to question my diagnoses…I’m labeled as even MORE crazy and treated with MORE medication. *sigh* I feel so screwed.

    I’m currently on the hunt for new providers. I’m really hoping to find a sympathetic p-doc and therapist this time around.

    And, thanks to you and your site, I am learning so much about meds, what they do and what they don’t do and about the process of getting off them.

    And I do know that it is a *process*.

    I think my thoughts are getting stranded. Best to stop now. 🙂

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  8. Lizzy

    I’m sorry! I’m not trying to be nosy, I just like talking with people that have similar issues as me, especially when they can be of help! I appreciate your time 🙂

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  9. Lizzy

    Wow! I hope you can some sort of relief soon! My health problems have put my life on hold more than once, lately I’ve gone through a lot with my physical health problems, I’ve had to have a few surgeries and a lot of testing done, like I said I won’t get medical insurance after I get married, so I have to hurry and try to get most of it taken care of now while I can, ugh. I couldn’t imagine being on 7 medications, the most I’ve been on at any given time I think would be about 3 or 4.

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  10. Roman

    Not surprising, and no less infuriating. How about we begin a class-action lawsuit???

    Given ALL of the stories we have posted, and are fortunate to understand, WHY NOT?

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  11. k

    Roman, there is one started, but I think it’s only for the Steven-Johnson syndrome (rash). Find a lawyer—I would consider it………….

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  12. Val

    A relay just triggered in my foggy lil’ brain… I **THINK** Lamictal is one of the anti-epileptic drugs my FIL was on…
    [Gotta go Google some more links]
    Of course it’s all academic now – he’s irreparably damaged & the British healthcare system has basically warehoused him, waiting for him to die…

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  13. Andrew

    Thank you for the informative post.

    We are no longer patients, but guinea pigs. When I go to see the doctor it almost feels like I’m going to some kind of pharmapimp.

    The problem is that when you’re suffering you want something to end the pain. That’s why you go to the doctor and most of the time all they do is push pills on to you. They have no real ideas of what’s going on. It’s all guess work. Many of them read the literature from the pharmas and that’s it. They cannot be bothered with anything else.

    Some of that is the system and some of it is the collective unconsciousness of our society.

    It’s funny…I found this article because I am trying Lamictal again and have dipped into a really dark, really depressed mood. I am not really surprised at this info, but it is disappointing to think the one drug that doesn’t kill your liver, kidneys, etc. is just another bullspit money maker.

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  14. Andrew

    Thanks.

    That is the failing of the medical system. They do not look at things from a whole body perspective.

    It is more like going through a McDonalds drive-thru. They want you out as quickly as possible. I am currently on disability for BP and have noticed that the only thing my doctor, therapist (whom I just fired), claims rep, etc. want to talk about is my meds.

    When I try and bring up looking at other things, I get dismissed. I am taking matters into my own hands because I am going to recover. I have heard how I will never get better and all the other negative crap and (when I’m not in a dark place) I don’t believe it.

    I hope you are doing well this late night.

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  15. Andrew

    that is most excellent.

    the ego is like the little devil in the cartoons that whispers in your ear when you are in that hell region. it is only commitment, faith, etc. (it doesn’t matter what you call it; the words are simply pointers) that can keep you going strong. it’s inspirational to read stories like yours.

    thank you for doing what you do.

    ‘night.

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  16. Linda

    hi Gianna Last time i posted was end of 11/08 my laptop had a virus i just was too sick to follow up and fix it I am still alive I have new doc ya know other then the Dr. that gave me Lamictal in the first place On 11/26 I went to see him and he took me off Lamictal 12.5mgs all I ever took I was ready to do it like i told you I started at 12.5 at end of 08/08 took 6 days made me depressed agitated strange feeling of being alert anyway supposed to have opposite affect right o.k. went 2 wks started with panic attacks,crying jags,sweating,sensitivity to sound headache ya get the picture so i went back on it thinking withdrawal will go away guess what after 10 wks little improvement couldnt really drive some days i could still some days agoraphobia anyway so i figured i had nothing to lose so as of 11/27 I am off Lamictal slowly getting better can drive everyday a.m. depression gets better as day goes on I have been out of work since labor day thank God I had over 100 sick days on the books I think I used these by now and am into 100 vacation days I would be very interested in class action suit not for the money but the human suffering we can prevent P.s. doc put me on depokote just 500mg I had to do it as moods were rocking back and forth and increased my Paxil to 40mgs as I was on 25 down from 50mg and am now on Seroquel how ironic the whole reason i went on Lamictal was because doc said it would be easy to get off Paxil with Lamictal on board and then could get off Paxil how ironic Im now on 3 medications Its just HORRIFIC at what this drug did to me anyway I am still ALIVE and Im starting back to GYM on treadmill this is small miracle as when I think where I was in 09/08 anyway sorry to blabber but you get the point

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  17. Doug

    I was on lamictal 150mg. I missed one dose two weeks ago. Within 12 hours of missing the dose I had a psychotic episode and severe depressive episode. I had never had a psychotic episode and hadn’t had a black depression like that in 20 years and had done better on no meds at all for all of that time. I also had significant GI symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, upper stomach pain. I told my psychiatrist about this “coincidence” and he said I had the flu. Over the past two weeks I have been in the hospital due to a 20 lb weight loss, and dehydration due to the above symptoms. I just can’t believe that this all happened on the same day and they write it off to something other than a lamictal related episode. Has anyone else had anything like this and how long will it last? I wanted to lose weight…but not like this.

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  18. Doug

    The next day I started right up again on the meds until I could see my psych two days later. At least he took me off, but he told me to quit cold turkey even after I mentioned warnings I had read about it. How long do these episodes last? I’m at 2 weeks and a day at this point and about as miserable as I was on day one. At least I’m on meds to stop the GI symptoms.

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  19. Lamictal gave me a lift and first, which probably was a lift that came out of me naturally anyway, and then… nothing… and then it made me lose half my hair in a month. It is the trendy drug in the BP world right now but I’m finding most people feel just flattened by it. Not stabilized, flattened.

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  20. Legan

    I too, felt a lift and lost a bunch of hair. Then it made me feel depressed so I withdrew slowly, which was hell. I eventually felt much better after coming off of Lamictal. In fact, I found this blog due to my Lamictal withdrawal. It’s my opinion that all psychiatric drugs primarily flatten emotions, and that’s it. Whether or not we want to be flattened should be a choice. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind anyone?

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