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Lamictal Withdrawal Symptoms: List Of Possibilities

Lamictal (Lamotrigine) is a drug that is approved for the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder. It works as a sodium channel blocker by inhibiting voltage-sensitive sodium channels. It is also thought to inhibit the release of glutamate at various areas throughout the limbic system. The drug has been found to be neuroprotective and is clinically effective at preventing the drastic changes in mood associated with bipolar disorder. In addition to acting as an antiepileptic drug and mood stabilizer, it is also used off-label as an antidepressant augmentation strategy.

Specifically, this drug is used to treat partial seizures, focal seizures, tonic-clonic seizures, and seizures resulting from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (severe epilepsy). It was the first drug since Lithium to be approved for usage as a mood stabilizer and is commonly used as a maintenance medication for individuals with Type-1 Bipolar disorder. It has been found effective at preventing depressive episodes in bipolar patients, but isn’t as effective at treating manic symptoms.

Although this medication can work very well at managing epileptic and bipolar symptoms, some people don’t respond well to it. Others take this drug for an extended period of time and develop debilitating side effects. There is a black box warning associated with this medication in regards to developing Steven-Johnson syndrome and other life threatening skin reactions.

It is estimated that between 5% and 10% of people who take this medication will develop skin rashes and/or have unbearable side effects (i.e. aseptic meningitis, fever, fatigue, etc.). In many cases, the side effects associated with this medication outweigh the benefits of taking it. Most people will eventually want to withdraw from this drug.

Factors that influence Lamictal withdrawal include…

When it comes to withdrawing from any drug, there are going to likely be discontinuation symptoms. There are various factors that will play a role in determining the severity and duration of these symptoms. Factors such as: how long you took the drug, your dosage, whether you quit cold turkey, and personal withdrawal sensitivity can influence your discontinuation experience.

1. Time Span

How long have you been taking Lamictal? In general, people that have taken the time to titrate up to a therapeutic dose and have been on it for an extended period of time are going to become dependent on this drug for everyday functioning. When you consistently deliver a drug to your body and brain over an extended period of time, it will get used to having the drug influence its functioning.

Some would argue that using any drug for a long period of time creates dependency. The longer you have been on the drug, the more difficulty you are going to have adjusting to functioning (both physical and psychological) without it.

2. Dosage (200 mg to 400 mg)

Most people that are on Lamictal are on a dose between 200 mg and 400 mg. There are obviously individuals that are taking over 400 mg. People tend to titrate up to a dose that provides the most therapeutic effects. In general, the higher the dose that you are taking of this drug, the more intense the withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, withdrawal from a higher dose is thought to take longer in regards to tapering than withdrawal from a lower dose.

3. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

In order to reduce severe withdrawal symptoms, it is important to titrate down from your current dose (i.e. conduct a taper). Tapering will give your body some time to gradually adjust to less of the drug. If you quit cold turkey, it can send both your body and brain into a chaotic state because they will be expecting to receive the drug.

People that have been taking Lamictal for an extended period of time have had to titrate up to their current dose. Therefore quitting cold turkey gives your body no time to readjust itself and is likely going to yield the most extreme withdrawal symptoms. Work with your doctor to come up with some sort of tapering protocol based on your current dosage so that you minimize your withdrawal.

For example, if you are at 400 mg, you may want to gradually reduce your dosage over the course of a 2 month period. It is also important to make adjustments in withdrawal based on how well you are coping. If you reduce your dosage by 50 mg and it feels like too much, you may want to go down by only 25 mg. During withdrawal, the name of the game is doing what works best for you.

4. Individual Factors

It is important to note that there are individual factors that play a role in withdrawal from every drug – Lamictal is no different. Some people may experience very minimal symptoms when they quit taking this drug, while others may experience severe symptoms. Withdrawal sensitivity is different depending on the person and that individual’s circumstances.

One person may have more social support, better habits, and a better tapering plan than another. Someone else may have a great tapering protocol, but that individual may be hypersensitive to withdrawal symptoms. It is important to recognize that how quickly you recover from withdrawal will largely depend on you as an individual – therefore it’s important not to compare how quickly you recover with others; you know your body and experience better than anyone.

Lamictal Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Below are some common withdrawal symptoms that you may experience upon discontinuation of Lamictal. Keep in mind that everyone has a unique withdrawal experience and that your symptoms may not be the same severity as someone else going through the same withdrawal. Although it is important to know what symptoms are caused by withdrawal, it is also important not to psyche yourself out.

  • Anger: Certain individuals report having strong feelings of anger that emerge during withdrawal.  If you are feeling excessive anger, realize that this can be a very tricky symptom to manage.  When you get really angry, try to take a look at your situation from a third person perspective – the anger is a result of withdrawal.  This anger should subside after a few weeks and/or improve with time.
  • Anxiety: A very common symptom associated with discontinuation of this drug is that of anxiety. You may feel more nervous than you normally do during withdrawal. This anxiety may become excessive and/or lead to panic attacks. The best way to combat anxiety is to engage in relaxation exercises and focus on healthy activities to lower your arousal. Recognize that until your neurotransmitters correct the imbalance that is inevitable when coming off of a medication, the anxiety will persist.
  • Balance problems: Some individuals have reported that they have trouble with balance when coming off of Lamictal. In some cases this could be due to too rapid of withdrawal, but in most cases it is just another discontinuation symptom. Your physiology will need some time to return to functioning without the drug. Just know that your balance should eventually recover.
  • Bipolar symptoms: Individuals that are on this drug to help manage mood cycling associated with bioplar disorder may experience a re-emergence of symptoms. If you notice that you are entering into bipolar depression and/or a manic (or hypomanic) phase, it could be triggered by withdrawal. It is important to work with your psychiatrist so that you don’t have to deal with a re-emergence of bipolar cycling.
  • Concentration problems: Many individuals experience impaired cognition and focus when they quit taking this drug. Not only are you going to be dealing with an array of physical symptoms, you may also have to cope with poor concentration for awhile. Your cognition and ability to concentrate should recover.
  • Depression: Some people report that when they withdraw from this medication, they spiral down into a very deep depression. Just know that this is very common and withdrawal from most psychiatric drugs leads to feelings of depression that can sometimes seem insurmountable. The deep depression that is caused by withdrawal will not last forever.
  • Dizziness: Do you feel dizzy after quitting this drug? It could be due to the fact that you tapered too quickly and/or quit cold turkey. With that said, general dizziness is an extremely common symptom. It is difficult to deal with and frustrating because your doctor will likely not be able to relate to this feeling when you describe it.
  • Fatigue: A lot of people report feeling excessive lethargy and overall fatigue when they stop taking Lamictal. If the drug was giving them some energy prior to taking it, this could be a counter-effect. In most cases, the fatigue is simply due to the brain and body trying to readjust and function without the drug that it had been receiving for a period of time.
  • Headaches: Many people have reported experiencing intense headaches (i.e. migraines) when they come off of Lamictal. Just know that this is a very common symptom to experience when you stop taking this drug. If they become bad, do your best to relax, drink plenty of water, and consider headache relief (over the counter).
  • Irritability: If you feel excessively irritable and every little thing is making you mad, aggressive, and frustrated, it is likely due to the fact that you are coming off of a medication. Unless you were highly irritable prior to taking the drug as well, the experience of irritability can be chalked up to withdrawal.
  • Mood swings: If you are bipolar and quit taking this drug that was used to stabilize your mood, it is obvious that you could experience mood swings immediately upon discontinuation. If you experience more severe mood swings than prior to taking the medication, it is likely due to the fact that some sort of imbalance was created by the drug. If you don’t have bipolar disorder and are having mood swings, just know that it’s a very common experience during withdrawal.
  • Nausea: Some individuals report feeling nauseated when they stop taking this drug. There is not really much that can be done to ease this particular symptom other than conducting a slow, tapered withdrawal.
  • Tingling: Many people report tingling sensations throughout their body when they initially stop taking Lamictal or miss a dose. This tingling may continue for a week or two, but eventually should get better as your body adjusts to functioning without the drug.
  • Vomiting: Yes there are cases of people exhibiting flu-like symptoms when they stop taking this drug. The combination of nausea and dizziness can pack a mean punch that leads some individuals to actually vomit. Keep in mind that this is a less common symptom, but it shouldn’t last more than a week after you withdraw.

Lamictal Withdrawal Duration: How long does it last?

Withdrawal from Lamictal will vary depending on the person. There is no specific withdrawal duration that universally applies to everyone. As I already mentioned, there are a variety of important factors that will play a role in determining how long you experience withdrawal symptoms as well as how severe they are. Someone who has taken this drug for many years at a substantial dose may have a very difficult time coming off of it compared to someone who has been on it at a lower dose for a short period of time.

Most people report feeling back to normal after 4 to 6 weeks of the drug being out of their system. As a general rule of thumb for more extreme withdrawal, I recommend judging symptoms after 90 days (3 months) of withdrawal. If you are transitioning to a different medication, the new medication that you are on may ease and/or mask the symptoms of Lamictal withdrawal. Many doctors may discount your reports of experiencing symptoms when you stop taking this drug.

I always recommend trusting your own experience in regards to symptoms. If you know that you are experiencing withdrawal or some sort of discontinuation syndrome, you probably are. Additionally don’t compare your withdrawal with that of others on forums – everyone is likely to have a different experience. Your best bet for ensuring quick recovery from withdrawal symptoms is to recognize them and do your best to cope with them knowing that you will eventually experience a full recovery.

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{ 229 comments… add one }
  • Toni March 2, 2017, 11:31 pm

    I am currently on lamictal for about 10 months at 200mg. I have had blurred vision so I am reducing so hopefully this side effect goes away. I just made my first reduction of 25mg and I am sweating, extremely tired. This is only 2 days after this minor reduction.

    I plan to stay on lamictal at the decreased dose that takes this side effect away. I have withdrawn from other drugs slowly without issues. I am surprised such a minor reduction would give me side effects. I dread the day I have to get off this drug.

  • S February 17, 2017, 1:57 pm

    On Saturday, my NP told me to just stop taking 50 mg of Lamictal (I also take other meds for anxiety and recently added Clonidine for BP). I have terrible headaches, heart pounding, vision problems, dizzy, and nausea started on Wednesday and is getting worse. I have lots of anxiety and panic attacks. All of these symptoms are making me feel off-the-charts anxiety and who knows how much that’s driving up my blood pressure. Please help – is this normal?

  • Rachael February 15, 2017, 9:07 pm

    Thank you so much for this information. I’ve been on lamictal and propranolol for 9 years (complex partial seizures and migraines with auras; which have virtually the same symptoms) they’ve never been able to catch a seizure on many eegs and CT scans. My doctors have essentially said that they don’t know for sure if I have seizures, but I may as well keep taking the meds.

    Lamictal is such a strong drug and I am so tired of waking up everyday not knowing what’s wrong and hoping something changes. I’ve begun tapering off of the drug, and while I’ve had some symptoms of my old episodes I wasn’t sure if it was just migraines. Now that I know migraines and dizziness are very common symptoms I’m excited to see what it’s like to be completely off the medication and find out a true answer!

    They were going to try to get me back on it after I had one headache with aura symptoms even though I was recently told I could have grown out of it since the episodes started before I turned 17. It’s been almost two weeks since the start of weaning, and I already feel happier and have more energy, as getting on the drug made me lethargic and depressed. Sorry for the essay. I just can’t express my gratitude for such in depth information. Thank you again.

  • paul February 2, 2017, 7:48 pm

    Thank you all for your sharing your experience with dosing down. I am a similar situation as many, where I have made attempts to go off L. first, was the result of Dr. upping my dose of L. when I didn’t feel I was getting any benefit from it, but other symptoms proved that an increase may help…

    I never tapered off of it and I am back to my original dose of 150mg/ day… I hate this medication, I don’t feel a benefit of it, I am restless, irritable, somber, (weepiness, almost crying spells, but not quite), focus is horrible, and as one person mentioned, I get almost nothing accomplished in a day… so I am faced with the want to taper off again and came here to see if others have successfully got off of L. and what to do when I start to lose my F(*&ing mind…

    I have heard about the rashes and have been advised to dose down very slowly and I see a lot of helpful info here on how to get there, I just haven’t seen the success stories of being OFF OF L. for lengthy durations… Thanks for your helpful shares.

  • Emily January 9, 2017, 12:16 am

    A doctor at the hospital told me to go on this drug ‘immediately’ after I had a tonic clonic and arranged for it to be added to my prescription before I even received the letter. They never told me about the side effects, or the withdrawal symptoms or the chances of developing a deadly rash.

    I can’t miss a dose cause it makes me dizzy and lightheaded. The only upside of this nightmare, is that they seem to be working and they think it’s safe to put my brother on it too (still feel a bit like a lab rat with that one though TBH…). Thanks for the info, wanted to know about withdrawal effects for if I can ever get off of this drug. Very helpful.

  • Kathi Z December 27, 2016, 6:27 pm

    Thank you for this – I’m 11 weeks pregnant and quit lamotrigine and lexapro cold turkey about 5 – 6 weeks ago. My psychiatrist and I agreed it was the best and safest course of action for the baby and, historically, my pregnancy hormones seem to regulate my bipolar II very effectively. It’s been extremely difficult.

    I was told that some people believe there are withdrawal symptoms. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ill for so long. I’m still suffering almost all of the side effects you’ve listed. I’ve been (somehow) continuing to work full time with three kids and I’ve only just managed to survive Christmas at my place and a house full of family visiting.

    I’m incredibly tired!!! Hoping to feel better soon after persisting without returning to meds but sadly I’m not sure how much longer myself (or my poor family) will manage my fatigue, irritability and anger outbursts. On the upside I have lost a lot of excess fluid from edema and I continue to lose excess weight gained on medication, even while pregnant. Prior to lamotrigine I had been prescribed sodium valproate and I quickly gained a horrible 20 kilos!!

    This article has been more useful than my $260, 30 minute visit to the Doctor. I’m just trying to rest as much as I can and I’m trying my hardest not to over-analyze any unhelpful thoughts which is challenging at this time!!! I’m lucky to have an extremely supportive and understanding family.

    It’s so important to write about our experiences like this – I’ll be blogging soon because this has been one hell of a ride!! Much thanks again for sharing :-)

    • Carolyn January 9, 2017, 5:26 pm

      I appreciate your comments very much. I’m wondering how you are feeling at this point.

  • Mary December 22, 2016, 8:14 pm

    I titrated down from Lamotrigine about two and a half years ago, and the withdrawal symptoms were worse than I could have possibly imagined. I felt like my heart was consumed with hatred. Years of depression have taught me what it is to feel “not myself,” but I was always a kind, warm-hearted person even when I was miserable and lacking any energy.

    But with this withdrawal, I didn’t even recognize myself, and the intense anger I felt toward total strangers was so upsetting to me but at the same time so real. Thankfully, my thoughts had no interest in seeing me hurt anyone, though I was completely exhausted with all the effort I made keeping my thoughts to myself. I stayed home most of the time for fear that I would say something horrible to a completely innocent person.

    It took four or five months, but my heart became my own again, and with it came a renewed empathy for those who suffer mental health conditions like paranoid schizophrenia, whose thoughts get beyond their control. And of course I have empathy for others who withdraw from Lamotrigine. But it will get better.

    I didn’t recognize my problem as being the result of withdrawal until I felt that it was too late to do anything about it, and even then I wish I had contacted my doctor. Please contact your doctor immediately if you begin to have any symptoms. It is possible to reduce your dosage so gradually that your brain will hardly know the difference.

    Remember that the lowest dose, 25mg, is a tablet that can easily be cut into two approximately 12.5mg doses with a pill cutter. Sometimes it is difficult to get a doctor to acknowledge any information you have found online. There is certainly a lot of nonsense out there, and it must be very frustrating for your doctors to have to constantly correct misinformation.

    This does not fall under the category; nothing in the article is false, but no formal studies have indicated that any of the withdrawal symptoms we have suffered even occur. I would recommend very politely telling your doctor that while you appreciate what pharmaceutical studies have concluded, these additional symptoms may go underreported because they resemble symptoms of unipolar and bipolar depression, and they are rare, as the article said.

    Explain that you would prefer to take the cautious approach, and if necessary cite the article from Mental Health Daily. Make certain that when you do reduce dosage that your prescribing physician will be available (as in, not going on vacation for the next month) and that you continue any therapy. (I am just a patient and a scientist, not a doctor. You should consult your doctor or pharmacist before making any changes in medication.)

  • Brittany November 14, 2016, 3:10 am

    I am a 24 year old female, who got diagnosed with Bipolar 1 at age 11. I’ve been on the combination medications Lamictal (50 mg.) Lithium (1200 mg.) and Abilify(10 mg.) for several years. I made an impulsive decision to quit all these meds cold turkey, without consulting a doctor, about three months ago. Ever since, I’ve been experiencing unbearable stomach pains and have recently been going downhill, not being able to eat.

    I was seen by a GI doctor, who performed an endoscopy and colonoscopy, which both tests came back normal. In addition, I had gotten an ultrasound done at my local ER, which also came back normal. The only thing that stood out was a mild gluten sensitivity that had shown up in my blood work. As soon as I had received this diagnosis, I completely cut gluten out from my diet, but still experience unbearable abdominal pain.

    Could my symptoms be withdrawal related from abruptly quitting all my meds? How long could this last and is there any solution in the mean time that could help me feel better? I am miserable every day and losing hope. The only time I don’t feel pain is when I’m sleeping, so I sleep in excessive amounts. I’ve also noticed a drastic weight loss in a shorter amount of time.

    • Mary December 22, 2016, 8:31 pm

      Those are very, very powerful medications, Brittany, and your Lithium dose was especially strong. Even if you hate the meds and want to stop taking them, going cold turkey could have caused this and/or many other health and mood concerns. If I am a few hours late with my morning meds, for example, I sleep the rest of the day.

      Everyone is different. Please see a psychiatrist and tell him or her about your medication history if you still have problems. If you disliked your previous doctor, your insurance company should have a list online that can help you find another. If your genuine wish right now is to be medication free, then communicate that to the doctor.

      You might be given pills for withdrawal for a short period of time. Another doctor might also come up with some medication options that won’t overwhelm you with undesirable side effects. That’s something for you to consider. Get well soon.

  • Cory November 2, 2016, 12:13 am

    Was on this drug for over a year. Decided to go completely off of it (200mg was my final when I stopped). I’ve been off it for a couple of weeks and now this helps explain my tingling sensations. Also lacking ability to concentrate. Thanks for helping me cope. Been a hell of a day!

  • Kris October 13, 2016, 6:20 pm

    My son has ADHD, high-functioning autism, and had two seizures separated by six months when in high school so was automatically prescribed 100 mg of Lamictal. He’s been taking this drug for three years with zero seizures since that time.

    Recently, partially because he has ADHD, he forgot to renew his prescription for Lamictal. Didn’t tell me about it. He’s been off Lamictal for two months and I am only now finding this out. But the kicker is that he has had NO ADVERSE REACTION. Zero withdrawal symptoms – the only symptom has been a clearer head and feeling more active, more alive, less “fog-brained.”

    Now we are stuck with trying to decide whether my son should stay off the Lamictal and just forget about epilepsy drugs. Some doctors would withdraw a person from epilepsy drugs if they’ve gone seizure free for three years… so, maybe my son should just do that.

  • Donna August 30, 2016, 6:19 pm

    I have been on Lamictal for several years. I notice whenever I miss a few doses I feel very tired with no energy. I hear a strange sound, I can’t explain it. It reminds me of static. I also feel disconnected somehow. I need to be more careful to make sure I have enough so I won’t run out.

  • Dave Hamburg jr August 30, 2016, 3:49 pm

    I am on lamotrigine for over 2 years now. I am on 150mg prescribed by the VA for mood stabilization and I have not started to step it down yet but I am going to start today, I am also on Quetiapine but am almost off of that now. I have been having bad head aches loss of grip in my hands and loss of balance. I can no longer afford either of these meds from the VA so in need to stop getting them. I have PTSD from my service but the VA Administration will not recognize it due to my experiences as a child. I just actually wanted to say thank you for the info it has given me a lot to watch out for.

  • Lucy August 19, 2016, 7:22 am

    I’ve been on 200mg of Lamictal daily for 6yrs. My memory started deteriorating faster than normal. Both my short and long term memory have been effected; it’s more than the “I forgot the milk” forgetfulness. I had points where I had no clue what someone had just told me, or things that happened when I was a child.

    I talked to my psychiatrist, assuming that he’d say it was the Xanax that I take for sleep, but he recognized this to be lamictal right away. He compared the lamictal memory lapses to “Swiss cheese”. Now, I’m titrating down to completely stop. I already knew that I’d have to titrate; when I miss a dose, even by 1hr, I get flu like symptoms. I’m down from 200mg to 50mg in less than 2wks.

    When I initially dropped 50mg, I had flu symptoms for 5 days. The second 50mg drop, I developed a small rash on the side of my chest. I’m on the third drop now. Now I’m experiencing terrible mood swings and mental changes. I’m scared about what my life will be like if I don’t regain mental clarity.

  • Tess August 5, 2016, 3:02 pm

    My doctor had me on 200 milligrams of Lamictal for about 6 years. I decided to go off of it so she had me cut down to a half for one week then a quarter for one week then off completely. I have the withdrawal symptoms which are irritability, some sadness, headache, some nausea, and being tired. Also a huge lack of concentration especially at work and getting my thoughts and words together.

    I keep wanting to go back on the meds because it’s affecting my work and my disposition. I’m wondering if I ever should have been on it in the first place. It helped but I think it was starting to not help. This article gave me a lot of good information. I have hope that I can get through it. Just praying my job isn’t affected by it much longer!

  • Ashley Gallaher August 4, 2016, 6:02 am

    I have been in Lamictal 6+ years. Fairly certain it’s causing me a mild anaphylactic shock reaction. I’m concerned about having to slowly get off while dealing with this swelling tongue, throat, and sometimes face. I’ve been in ER, after hours, and on steroids twice. It’s hit me the last 2 nights that it could be my Lamictal.

  • Brianna July 2, 2016, 6:52 pm

    I’ve had to quit cold turkey 2 days ago since I have not been able to find a new psychiatrist. As mine stopped taking my insurance. Today I woke up feeling very lethargic and high anxiety. I’m hoping I don’t experience any severe or life threatening withdrawals. :(

  • Daniel July 2, 2016, 1:17 pm

    I am tapering off Lamictal. My normal dose of L is 200mg, and I am now down to 50mg. I plan to be off the drug completely in less than two weeks. I have noticed a deep, dark depression, and some irritability, since going down to the current dose. But I haven’t experienced any of the other symptoms on this list.

    Initially the physical symptoms were really messing with my body because I was doing the reductions rather quickly, but my body has adjusted and now I’m feeling better. It’s just the depression is pretty strong. Nonetheless I am glad to be almost off this drug. Even if I am depressed the rest of my life, it’s something I can cope with, I think.

    I don’t want to depend on a pill to make me happy. Better living through chemistry may be the American way, but I want to find a different way to cope with my (many) problems. The drugs have held me back in so many ways and even the joy and happiness that the drugs produced (a happy go lucky personality) was totally false and not connected to my soul.

    I wish everyone the best in whatever they decide to do with their Lamictal. At least consult a doctor about how to do it properly. They may not know what they’re doing, but at least in theory they should be more informed than the “withdrawal experts” on the Internet.

    • Andy February 19, 2018, 9:53 pm

      How are you feeling now?

  • Ted July 1, 2016, 9:19 pm

    The lamictal itching has begun. Decreased by 25% today. It doesn’t seem to take but less than a day for the itching to start once a taper has started – I am probably tapering too fast, but I am tired of being over-sedated and want my life back. I am watching this carefully and will be safe.

    • Rachael February 15, 2017, 9:30 pm

      Is itchiness a symptom of coming off lamotrigine? I’ve begun weaning off of the medication almost 2 weeks ago and have noticed that sometimes, without even realizing, I’ve been scratching my head and neck for minutes at a time. I’ve never had dry skin or anything, so I’m curious if this is a common symptom.

  • Ted July 1, 2016, 5:55 pm

    I am tired of being over-sedated and other symptoms, so I have initiated a taper – but it is aggressive. 25 % decrease in Lamictal and Klonopin, and a 12.5 % decrease in Seroquel and Neurontin. I am on about the 24th hour of such taper. Awoke noticeably less sedated this morning.

    I was on a only taking meds at bedtime routine, but have switched to taking a mild dose of three of them around noon and then the rest of my new total amount at bedtime. I won’t know which one is causing the withdrawal symptoms when they pop up – and I anticipate them popping up soon. I will remain safe and get back on all my original doses if I am not doing well with the withdrawal.

    If I can just get through the first 5-10 days – that will be the toughest time I think. I will adjust as neccessary and stay safe. The Klonopin withdrawal won’t hit for 2-3 days – the others will hit pretty quick. Already getting some headache and some diarrhea. Ted

  • Ted June 30, 2016, 8:52 pm

    Presently I take 300 mg of Lamictal, 1200 Neurontin, 200 Seroquel, and 1 mg Klonopin – all at bedtime. I am overly sedated at night and groggy in the morning and it is probably negatively affecting me during the day. This may be a novel approach, but I am going to start decreasing the night time doses of all 4, and then add two day time dosing of all 4.

    So about 8pm, 11am, and 3:30 pm The night time dosing will be about 75 percent of each of the 4, (this should keep me sleeping better than if I cut the night time dose hard) and then about 12.5% of each of the 4 at the two day time doses (that should keep me from being too groggy during the day). From there in about a week to three weeks, I hope to then start slowly decreasing somehow.

    I am planning on not weaning myself on one at a time, but instead slowly taper down all 4 simultaneously. If I start withdrawing hard, I will bump up to the level I was before, and stay there for ten days or so, then try again- or some variety of that- I will just see how it goes, I have written it down, so I will know how much I am taking.

    The plan is to be off all of it within 75 days- but this may be too fast. If I start withdrawal beyond about medium, I will taper back up for awhile – If I can’t sleep or my initial diagnosis stuff creeps back in – I will taper back up. I will make sure I stay out of trouble. If I need my physician’s help, I will go in on walk in hours and ask for help.

    I have gotten a book on how to get to the root of my symptoms and supplement with exercise, relaxation, supplements, therapy, etc. I also plan to use this thread and others like it. I came up with this plan after I tried a 100 mg drop in Lamictal and started withdrawal within about 4-10 hours.

  • Alex June 27, 2016, 10:37 am

    If it helps, I couldn’t find many with this withdrawal side effect. I have an insane itching with actually no sign of rash, but it’s all over my hands and feet. Was on 200 then slowly down to 150 then 100 then 75 then just tried only 50 and oh my god my skin is freaking out. Hands, top of my feet.

    It’s like there’s poison ivy everywhere but there isn’t. Just insane itching, like I’ve been bit by mosquitoes just all over my hands. High of Depakote from 1500 all the way down to 500 over the course of 3 years after 6 years on both Depakote and Lamictal. Hoping to make that last slow withdrawal off of both.

    But it’s 3am and my skin is itching like crazy so I am back to 75mg of lamictal and took a 125 more of Depakote. Not sure which is causing the itching but I am begging for it to stop. I have a feeling it’s this last steps of going from 75mg to 50 or less of the Lamictal.

    • Ted June 30, 2016, 6:45 pm

      Hi Alex. I remember itching when I came off similar meds before. It has been a common subject in threads I have read of poeople withdrawing from such drugs. Hard to say whether it is the lamictal or depakote.

      I am on day two of Lamictal withdrawal. I have gotten off of Neurontin, Seroquel and Lamictal all before. It wasn’t easy- but I did it. Using forums like this is what got me through.

      I swithced my lamictal from 200 mg all at night to 100 mg three times a day yesterday. So far today, I don’t remember if I have taken any or not. I am on three other nasty meds, so I have been oversedated at night and in the morning. I have been taking all of them at night.

      I don’t how to do this withdrawal. It all seems so complicated- especially having 4 I want off of. A year long or more taper seems so awful, but an all cold turkey approach won’t work either. Ted

    • Ted July 1, 2016, 5:48 pm

      Alex, Yesterday as a trial, I made a 33% drop in Lamictal on a one time basis, within 16 hours I was itching all over. When I redosed with Lamictal, the itching went away within 2 hours or less. Depakote may do it too – don’t know.

  • Victoria June 26, 2016, 1:44 pm

    I’m thinking about coming off after 9 yrs because I’m experiencing migraines, memory loss, tingling in the face and dizziness on the drug. This article and feedback has me in great fear as I’m not sure how I will do my job or interact in my IT job without getting fired.

    • Ted June 30, 2016, 8:11 pm

      Victoria: It is OK to get multiple sources of advice, have a good support network while doing this and to go very slow. And yes, it can be scary reading about and doing a lamictal taper. If you deicde to do a taper, don’t be scared to readjust upwards so you can manage your job and responsibilities. Prayers and keep us updated. When I did my taper before, I used these forums as a source of journaling and support. It seemed to help me a lot. Ted

  • Tonny June 6, 2016, 5:07 am

    I’ve taken 25mg for a month, with no problems, and no relief with my PTSS. When I went to 50mg, the PTSS was worse than before. I was having nightmares, and I went back down to 25mg, and will stop this drug in one week. It did nothing for me, and I think I’m just going to give up and take an antidepressant. I really didn’t want to take any due to the ED experienced with these drugs, but I guess you have to give up one thing to relief another. Also, have MS, so if it’s not one thing its another…

  • robert May 29, 2016, 2:31 am

    About 3 months ago after taking lamictal for 8 years I decided I wanted to get off this stuff. Over the years I became severely depressed, no more interest in anything, double vision, the list went on and on. I was on 200mg I started going down 25 mg every 2 or 3 weeks.

    While I was tapering down my brother died a month ago, it was expected as we had him on home hospice. I have been crying severely everyday since. I don’t know If I am grieving this hard or withdrawing.I lost the will to live. Going to grief groups with incredible crying spells. I am having every symptom people have described.

    I am now on 100mg and going totally off this within 1- 2 months. There was really no reason to go on living, I have never had sadness like this in my life. Thank you for article and comments. Maybe it is not the end of the world. I am withdrawing big time.

    • paul May 30, 2016, 2:13 am

      Don’t ever think your life is over. Life will only be amazing, and stay like that, when you reach enlightenment. I recommend you read the book “The Power of Now”. I’m reading it now and it helped me amazingly. It will help you to not let the past (as in your case of immediate family member death) affect your present.

      I guarantee when you start being mindful and living in the present, the opportunities are endless. Age, race, sex, money, none of that matters in the enlightened world. Don’t fear or worry about anything. Accept everything and be mindful. I recommend you go to a support group or seek help from another psychiatrist.

      I don’t really even recommend medication and I am even on lamictal now but I don’t find that it helps me (150mg). If anything it made me rage more. Good luck with everything and realize theres a lot of caring people in this world that want and can help you. There are MANY possibilities of treatment in the world of psychiatry.

      If no therapy or medication works, they even have ECT, DBS, and psychosurgery as last resort options. But if you don’t have any really mental issue (I understand you are grieving, but that is normal, just follow through with it) then I recommend just individual or group therapy at a good facility.

  • Melissa May 27, 2016, 12:20 pm

    I am weaning off of Lamictal after being on it for several years. I have bi-polar II, ADD & anxiety since I could remember. I stopped taking my laprazalam as my start and am doing well with being off of that. I have begun to ween off Lamictal about a week ago. In tandem, I am tapering off of Lexapro (slowly).

    I was going to go off 1 at a time but feel that closely monitoring myself and slowly doing both would be more effective ultimately. For about 6 months, I have been taking Folic Acid to help with anxiety and it does really take the edge off. In addition, taking 50 mg of zinc works well too. Zinc will help structurally heal tissues.

    Think of it like this… anytime we take a drug, it changes our neurological and physiological structure and pathways. All psych meds act as inhibitors by shutting off one pathway (receptor) so another pathway can produce more of what you may be lacking that theoretically causes your symptoms. The reason to taper off of these meds is to slowly allow the flow off pathways that have been ‘shut off’ to flow again which will have a affect on the hormone/pathway that we have been trying to re-uptake.

    This causes an imbalance in hormones within our bodies/brains. It takes roughly 90 days for cell regeneration; a constant occurrence within us to repair damaged cells so we can function. When we are changing our physiology by meds and then weening off to stop the meds, our bodies have to create new pathways to respond to the stimuli that we encounter on a daily basis – this is how we ‘cope’ with everything we experience.

    It is important at this time of weening that you take a herbal cleanser like Milk Thistle to help clear out toxins that have been stored in your liver and fatty tissues. L-Lysine also helps with mood and maintaining balance. In addition, increasing turmeric/curry, garlic and ginger is amazing, as well. These are natural anti-inflammatory herbs that help detox the digestive system.

    Also, drinking a teaspoon of baking soda in lukewarm water once a day will help as a cleanse and balance out your pH levels. Please, keep in mind that people that suffer from mental illness like bi-polar and anxiety do not have to be victims to the label by defining themselves by the label. What I mean is, see it for what it truly is – we have a lower threshold in the ability to be desensitized by what we witness in the world…

    We have a deeper and greater sense of compassion and are affected by what we see on an emotional level… this is our ‘mental illness’. In our daily lives, we do not have the opportunity to process feelings and experiences the way we need to. Our lives go by at fierce speeds. Our society instills in us that to react emotionally is weakness.

    Our TV shows, magazines and movies promote that people should be full of glee at every moment or that every problem can be solved within a half hour with gleaming results. This makes us feel odd, different, less-than which only adds to the depression because we feel we are different and weak. With all this said… please, take time for yourselves to process and purge your daily stimuli.

    Heal yourself and understand, we just have a super-power in feelings – this does not make us mutants… it makes us kind of unique and wonderful.

    • Laura June 17, 2016, 9:11 pm

      Thanks so much, so encouraging.

    • Ted June 30, 2016, 8:15 pm

      Melissa, Could you stay on this thread often please? I really think your knowledge and encouraging spirit would help me and others on this thread. It might also help with you during your taper. Ted

  • Leonard May 16, 2016, 4:28 pm

    I have successfully whined myself off of 300mg lamictal. I was on 300 mg 1xd. My first try didn’t go very well down to 200mg for two weeks then 100mg two weeks then off… after several days I was feeling awful that I decided to go back on it. I began waking up at night due to my fingers going numb then later having the muscle twitch that usually we all experience.

    This was a very Big concern so I decided to on my own titrate down by 50 mg for two weeks at a time till I was off lamictal. I must say that the very fist 4-5 days were a little rough, but I had 5mg of diazepam that helped during those few days. I’m now totally free of the drug from hell with no side effects and am feeling great. FYI, I was having difficulty sleeping due to problems with my teenage son with some depression.

  • Keith May 9, 2016, 3:50 am

    I have only been one lamotrigine for 8 weeks. Started at 25mg 1st 2 weeks then 50mg another 2 and 100mg for 1 month. Doctor increased to 100mg which I only took for 3 days. The medicine was giving me awful side effects so doctor gave me a short taper plan.

    After 1st week I am at a dose of 50mg and I am extremely nauseous, migraine, unstable balance, blurred vision and constant panic attacks. Again I have only used this medicine for 8 weeks. Just wondering if anyone has or know of someone having these effects after very short term use.

  • Melissa May 4, 2016, 8:49 pm

    Hello everyone, I have been taking lamotrigine for 5 months slowly titrating up to 200mg a day. I am also taking valdoxan. Once I hit the 200mg mark (a week ago) I got the rash. ☹️ I had to stop immediately. I was told to stop within 3 days. 75, 50, 25 and then nothing. Given the short amount of time I’d been taking it and the dose I got to I’m hoping for minimal withdrawal effects.

    I’m really sad I got the rash. I felt like I was handling life so well… I was wondering if anyone else had to stop cold turkey like that and if you had awful side effects, or if anyone has an opinion on how long I took it for and whether I will have any at all? Thank you so much.

  • Sarah April 28, 2016, 3:36 pm

    I took a very small dose of Lamotragine for about 6 months. I tried to taper it over a week but the small amount it was difficult. I should have asked for a children’s prescription to taper longer. I’m very sensitive to meds and small doses are still effective for me probably because of how I metabolize meds is different than the average person.

    Anyway, it shouldn’t have been so bad at 12.5 mg but it was! The reason I stopped taking it and the thing that has lingered is heart palpitations and it’s been a little over 3 months. It mimics a mild version of a panic disorder. Basically because of major changes in my diet and feeling so overstimulated on the drug, we questioned my diagnosis that was the reason for taking it in the first place.

    I don’t believe I am bipolar or have a related disorder anymore and neither does my doc. I now am wondering if I have an anxiety and depression disorder (with elements of panic) or if I am still experiencing withdrawal syndrome. When I went off prozac years ago with no replacement drug I got dizzy for 3 months, so I have that history.

    It was worse the first couple weeks and then happened less and less frequently after that, but still, that is along time. This time, the heart palpitations have continued to get better this entire time but have not completely gone away. I’m hoping me posting this is helpful to some one and I wanted to know if anyone has had a similar experience.

  • shelly April 25, 2016, 11:41 pm

    I thought I was going absolutely crazy! I tried to drop 100 mg a day on my own. I have been manic. So angry and having major panic attacks. After reading this article I realize I need to do this with my doctor and withdraw from the meds slowly. I have been on it for 20 years for epilepsy, but since I haven’t had a seizure in 15 years, I figure it is time to see if I am over it. :)

  • Mary Fallon April 22, 2016, 2:32 pm

    I’ve been on Lamictal for more than ten years. Now that my bipolar symptoms are in remission for many years as well, I’m weaning off the excessively high doses and probably excessive meds as well (I was on a 9-med cocktail). I am fairly certain that Lamictal is the cause of ten years of terrible lack of concentration. Has anyone experienced a RETURN of their concentration after the initial Lamictal withdrawal?

  • Melanie Klein April 22, 2016, 1:10 pm

    Side effects of withdrawal always seem to sneak up on be and bite me – I don’t even realize there’s something wrong. Both my husband and my 14 year old daughter commented they thought I must be drunk. I’d just started reducing from 200 mg to 100 and I am dizzy, unbalanced, double vision.

    My daughter said I was weaving and (not with her in the car!) I turned onto a one way street the wrong way, then I got lost on the way home. Today I am not driving anywhere and I left a message for my psychiatrist. Very scary.

  • Natalie April 18, 2016, 8:47 pm

    I’m so glad that other people out there have experienced the same thing. Currently, I’m on 225 mg of Lamictal. If I even miss just one dose, I experience all these side effects. It scares me that something can control me as much as it does already. I just about break into sheer panic when I forget my meds or run out accidentally.

    I just don’t think a medication that’s designed to help me should have such a strong hold over my life! My psychiatrist tells me all the time that Lamictal is perfectly safe and that I could even take it if I were pregnant. I just question how something like this can be safe… I enjoy how it makes me feel and I enjoy the relief I get from my bipolar symptoms but… I hate the control it has over me.

    I’m debating on going off of it because while I love it, I hate how I feel if I don’t have it. It’s almost like a double edged sword. Any advice?

  • Peter April 16, 2016, 6:02 pm

    This is a great article, very informative and helpful. I’ve been taking lamictal for almost three years due to a serious of provoked seizures relating to a severe ear infection. I built up my dosage by 25mg over 2 week periods being that at the peak my dosage was 100mg per day. Now I am reducing my dosage by 25mg per fortnight as per my GP’s advice.

    Currently I’m taking 50mg but will drop to 25mg next week. I have been experiencing some fatigue but lately I’ve been noticing I seem to be more alert, in some instances more attentive. My fiancé however thinks I’m more moody although generally I’d say I’m less moody. Could it be the case that my mind is a little fogged over or could I have a type of mental block over how I’m really feeling?

    Sounds strange even typing that but I honestly do feel happier and more content. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • Jennifer April 14, 2016, 7:33 pm

    So I was on Lamictal for 8 years. I suddenly couldn’t balance, walk straight, and my handwriting is almost illegible. I’ve had a zillion blood tests and there’s nothing wrong. Except there is. So I’m going off Lamictal and going on Lithium. Symptoms are getting worse.

  • Grace April 5, 2016, 5:02 am

    Hi, I’m weening myself off Lamotrigine because I believe i’ve cured my epilepsy with a vegan diet. I’ve been seizure free for 3 years now. I was on 150mg 2X a day. I am doing this without a doctor knowing since he does not believe that its a good idea. That my seizures are controlled on drugs theres no reason to get rid of them.

    I am splitting my pill in 4 and lowering it a quarter of a pill every two weeks. Approximately 37mgs every two weeks. The first time I lowered it I felt so awake and alert and I didn’t feel drugged. It was amazing! I had never felt like I was ever drugged until I lowered my meds. I think that’s just because I’ve been medicated since I was a kid.

    It’s been a week and i’ve almost halved my daily dosage. The past month I’ve been extremely depressed. Thinking suicidal thoughts, but knowing that it’s the withdrawal. However since this last reduction I feel really angry. Like EXTREMELY ANGRY!!! Anything really sets me off. Sometimes I even feel angry (physical symptoms) when I have a clear head and cant think of any reason to be angry! This has put a strain on my marriage.

    I have some crying spells as well. Are there any other epileptics out there that have had these symptoms? The reason I’m wondering is that my family has a history of bipolar disorder and I’m worried I have it too but have just never noticed because I was on medication that controls bipolar disorder as well as epilepsy. I’m praying that these are just withdrawal symptoms.

    • Rachael February 15, 2017, 9:40 pm

      Hi I was on the same dosage 150×2 for 9 years. Curious as to how you feel and if you’re still off the medication? I feel like I have never actually been epileptic, but just had migraines with extreme auras. I am weaning off and need some positive reinforcement! Hope you’re doing well

  • Cindy March 16, 2016, 7:10 pm

    Hello to everyone! This is a first for me, I have never blogged about anything. I truly appreciate all of you who have shared your experiences in this blog, it has helped so much as I am in the middle of the terrifying task of weaning off my medication. I was diagnosed with Bipolar II and anxiety disorder years ago. I tried so many things, from Ability to Latuda…

    I can’t even remember the crap they have given me over the years. About 6 months ago, ‘they’ tried me on other medication for my depression, and I experienced the most terrifying side effects, I thought I would die (more like hoped I would). After losing most of my hair, gaining A LOT of weight, not being able to feel my face, terrible suicidal thoughts, and truly just losing my mind, I finally decided no more, I wanted to wean myself off of EVERYTHING. I am down to 25mg of Lamictal left.

    Friday will be my last dosage, EVER. I have been on it for about 7 or 8 years, and took between 200 and 400 mg per day. I have experienced horrific side effects coming off of the lamictal. I am single and have a business, and I can hardly function – I don’t know what is going to happen to me, but I know I can’t go on like this. I am so tired, I feel like an elephant is sitting on me and I just can’t get up. It takes everything I have to get up and go to the bathroom.

    I have terrible headaches, my depression is extreme. Suicidal thoughts, anxiety and fear. When I hear my phone ring, I flip out. I have tingling in my hands and feet, my balance is off and I get really dizzy. I am so tired, but I can’t sleep. Nightmares are just horrible! I even notice my vision is getting really bad. After years of listening to Doctors and just getting worse, I have decided to listen to myself and try other ways to live with my disorder.

    I’m not in denial, I know I have a mood disorder, but this is how I look at it. If I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and had to choose between the side effects of chemo and having poison forced in my body every day that would make me even sicker, I’m sorry, I would rather live my last months a better quality of life and go without that poison. At least the time I had left, though I would be dying, I would have some joy and not have the terrible side effects of treatments that may or may not work.

    I am choosing to look at my Bipolar II the same way. My NP was really upset when I told her, but I had only been seeing her for 6 months, so she didn’t even really know me. I am so afraid to try any medication after what happened the last 6 months, I have no other option but to get off it all-together, and I guess I am doing this alone. I am going to continue to read these blogs, as I go through the next few weeks, or months, as I get this out of my system.

    But, I will leave you on a good note. For years, my memory and focus was so bad, I didn’t read much. If I did read, I would have to re-read pages, I just couldn’t absorb any information. Last week, I read a short story. Only 60 pages, but it was something. I was frustrated at first, but found I was able to focus more, and I finished. And I remembered the story! I woke up in the morning, I remembered the story.

    I remember it now. Details I normally wouldn’t remember. I am holding on to that. Maybe, just maybe, my memory and focus will get better after I get this crap out of my body. Also, years ago, I used to do a video journal. As I search for ways to live with Bipolar II, I have gone back and read journals but found my video journals from 10 years ago and I can’t believe how different I was. BEFORE I was diagnosed, I actually had some joy, some happiness.

    Some passion and goals! All these years, trying to get better and listening to Doctors, I am left with nothing but depression and sadness and huge anxiety. No passion. No goals. No Joy. I WAS MUCH BETTER OFF BEFORE MEDICATION. No, it wasn’t easy, and I did struggle. That’s why I went for help. But I actually was able to experience happiness and joy, and had dreams for my life. Unlike now, I just feel like I have to ride the storm out until I die.

    Maybe, just maybe, when these drugs are out of my system, I might be able to love and laugh again and REALLY FEEL IT. Thank you everyone for listening, I know this was a long post. Take care! Cindy

    • Kara April 11, 2016, 6:03 pm

      Cindy, Thank you so much for sharing! How are you doing so far? I found your analogy between chemo and lamictal extremely witty. Very well said!
      I cannot agree with you more, this drug does blur the mind. Since I’ve been taking it I’ve noticed drastic decline of my cognitive skills. Short attention span, problems with memory, no interest, no focus, nothing.

      Can’t do math as fast anymore, you know. But your story gives me hope that in not so distant future I will see some improvement (I’ve gone cold turkey from 200mg a day about a week ago). I too, hope that you will regain your ability to experience all the deepest human emotions :), discover your passions and, as you said, love and laugh again. Cheers, Kara

      • Natalie April 18, 2016, 8:58 pm

        All of this scares me…I was diagnosed with Bipolar (my psychiatrist never told me if it was I or II) about 5 years ago and the only medication I’ve ever been on is Lamictal. I remember writing poems, writing books and just being a very creative, artsy person and now, I never do any of those things. I figured it was just growing up and changing interests but sometimes I miss the person I used to be.

        I thought it was just the Bipolar symptoms messing with me but after reading all these comments, I’m starting to think differently. I enjoy being stable and in a good mood all the time but I miss being creative, spontaneous and artsy. It’s like I had to trade one person out for the other.

        I wouldn’t want to go back to the unstable, unpredictable person I used to be. That person almost killed me but the person I am today is definitely different than who I feel like I really am. It makes me wonder if the treatment of Bipolar is linked to “medication” or “lifestyle”.

        • Joules January 19, 2017, 1:07 pm

          I’ve been experiencing exactly the same thing! I’ve been on 200mg’s for 5 years and my brain feels like it’s in a box on my closet shelf. It’s as if I have zero creative thinking or inspiration whatsoever. The world feels flat and trudging but in a quality unlike the cloud of depression.

          I used to have a ton of inspiration and yes, sometimes this would veer into the realm of mania but I’ve become a shell of my formerly creative self. I don’t regret going on lamictal. It saved my life by pulling me out of swamp of a protracted suicidal depression. And while I haven’t had any manic cycles, I haven’t had much of anything else either.

          I’ve started a number of supplements and have a benzo on hand should mania/anxiety rear it’s head. I also take magnesium threonate for anxiety. Mostly I am concerned about my depression returning. I’ve done a ton of intensive cognitive therapy and am hoping this helps. I don’t know, I miss my spark and worry it’s completely gone.

    • Katherine Terry January 6, 2017, 3:26 am

      You took the words right out of my mouth! God bless you!

  • Carolyn March 14, 2016, 4:40 pm

    I definitely appreciate all the comments here. It helps to know there is a reason why I am feeling this way. I have been on various drugs for depression for the last 30 years. I am tapering off of lamotrigine (lamictal) from 100 mg; I’m down to about 50 mg now. Experiencing much fatigue but doing quite well. I’ve been using mineral balancing to reduce withdrawal symptoms and to heal the damage that the drugs have done. I could say more but I’m too tired so I will say that the greatest thing that helps me right now is magnesium bisglycinate powder 1/4 teaspoon with 3 ounces of water morning and evening.

    This has been great for reducing anxiety and so giving me the ability to sleep. Last May I began tapering off Paxil and after seven months it was done. I do not even miss it so glad to be done with. I will be so glad when the lamotrigine (lamectal) is gone also. I say it’s time for us to get our lives back.

  • Kajay January 23, 2016, 11:49 am

    So this is what I’m learning about my own brain/body getting off lamactil after 14 years. Go slow! I’ve mixed up my chemistry so long, no wonder it’s so darned hard now. I so want off, but the speed of the taper, and therefore how nutty and ill I want to get is my choice. The anxiety, exhaustion and irrational chaos are REAL but I also trust you when you say it’s going to pass. It’s really good to have a site my family can learn from too! Whew.

    • Dave March 5, 2016, 8:46 pm

      On Nov 1, 2015 I was admitted to the mood disorder wing at a local hospital after basically having a breakdown. I was in the hospital for 4 days, staff pdoc took me off pristiq (50 mg daily) and replaced it with lexapro (20mg daily). That was the only change, resulting from the visit. Shortly after leaving the hospital, I left my job of 7 years.

      A few weeks later I stopped taking lexapro per my regular P-doc’s direction. A few weeks after that, I began ECT treatments (19 in total were performed through 2/22). I didn’t notice a major impact (negative or positive), other than feeling cloudy, slow all the time. The following Monday (this past Monday), I went to a new P-doc for a second opinion (after seeing my previous P-doc for 5+ yrs). Going into the 2nd opinion, after coming off the lexapro, I was on:

      200 mg lamictal (1x daily), .50 mirapex (1x daily), 400 mg lithium (1x morning), 350 mg lithium (1x evening), .5 mg ativan (2x as needed – based 1 mg total daily).

      At the 2nd opinion, the new pdoc expressed that he was not convinced I had any BP tendencies. As a result he recommended I immediately come off the lithium, lamictal, mirapex cold turkey and stop the ECT treatments. Up to this point I had been on Friday maintenance ECTs. I went with his recommendation and the only thing I’m taking now is ativan (.5 mg 2x daily) and Latuda (20mg 1x daily for 3 days, then 2x for 3 days, then 3x ongoing).

      I have now been off of lamictal, lithium, mirapex for 12 full days and let me just say I have never felt anything like I am feeling right now: anxious, confused, depressed, irritable, fidgety, brain zaps, light headed, cognitively slow, confused, restless etc. I feel horrible and am concerned this isn’t going to get any better. Although, I have to say I feel glimpses good feelings. Sign of things to come?

      While I am scheduled to meet with the new P-doc (2nd opinion guy) this upcoming Monday to discuss my progress (i.e. coming off the meds and check on how Latuda is performing ), I did get a chance to talk to him via phone yesterday. I expressed my concern with how I’m feeling as I come off lamictal, mirapex, lithium. Feelings I certainly didn’t have before going cold turkey.

      He said I shouldn’t be feeling any withdrawal symptoms resulting from going cold turkey with those meds. I was perplexed and bummed to hear him say this. He basically couldn’t answer why I was feeling so crummy. I noticed, in the original post, that many doctors don’t believe withdrawal symptoms result when coming off these meds. Why are they so hesitant to acknowledge this possibility/probability.

      I really appreciate everyone’s insights/posts. I’ve read through each one of them. They’ve certainly helped as I work through this process. I sincerely hope we all are feeling better soon. To echo the positive tone of the author, what we’re dealing with is temporary. Better days are ahead. Thank you for taking the time to read through this post – and certainly appreciate any insights/responses you may be able to share. – Dave

    • Lisa Eckhart April 25, 2016, 4:17 pm

      Hi Kajay, How is it going getting off the lamictal? How much were you on? I am trying to get off 200mg (about 7 years on). It has been rough! It is mostly the headaches, fuzzy head, and pain behind my eyes, and overall all – major fatigue and no focus. I have been doing this for about a month and am down to 100mg. The symptoms are getting worse – but I am Not bumping it back up. Is it getting better for you?

  • Marla January 2, 2016, 12:58 pm

    Hi, I was taking 100 mg of Lamictal for 5 years as I had temporal lobe epilepsy and then after 3 years of not having any seizures I decided to quit. I must admit that Lamictal was very effective, not only it stopped my seizures but also stabilized my mood, I was feeling more positive and had more energy. The only trouble was lack of concentration and problems with memory.

    I was reducing my dose very slowly by 25mg a month and maybe that’s why I haven’t had those terrible withdrawal symptoms you are describing. I have experienced only tingling, trembling and itchiness. I’m “clean” for two days and now I feel sleepy and tired, I was sleeping for 14 hours and don’t feel rested at all. Does anyone have such symptom? I have problems with thinking, “foggy brain” is the right expression to describe it.

    I keep my fingers crossed for all of you – we will survive and eventually get better. Good luck!

    • Kris October 13, 2016, 6:02 pm

      Marla, My son was taking Lamictal for the same reasons as you, and honestly just kept forgetting to get his med refill – so basically stopped taking it for two months. he had NO symptoms as he came off. Are you still seizure free? Did you get over your withdrawal symptoms?

  • Roberta December 27, 2015, 10:32 am

    So glad to read others’ experiences with Lamictal. I JUST started Lamicatal 10 or so days ago as I was supposed to wean off Vimpat because of bad side effects. I started with 50 mg of Lamictal for one week and supposed to go up to 100 mg after one week. Within 5 days, I developed the worse acne around my chin since adolescence. I’m 53 years old right now. I would literally get “new” pimple within hours … painful sores around my lips – I thought they were cold sores but thankfully no.

    On the sixth day, the acne moved to other areas of my face – and more of a redness / itchiness as well. Then I noticed some “pimples” / red bumps on my thigh, back / shoulders / tummy as well. Over all itchness, especially scalp and back of neck.

    AND THE INSOMNIA and vivid dreams. On Christmas Eve – I was awake for 23 hours straight despite feeling extrememly tired and drained. I followed the doctor’s schedule however and increased my dosage on the day before Christmas to 100 mg of Lamictal. All my symptoms increased.

    Other symptoms included bouts of crying (I had been feeling depressed before though – that’s why weaning off Vimpat) and a couple of angry explosions which dumbfounded me and my loved ones. I actually threw objects across a room for – really – no reason at all that I can remember.

    I made the decision myself on Saturday (yesterday) to stop Lamictal after reading other comments about side effects. I’ll call my neurologist on Monday. I’m most concerned about my acne-breakout and overall itchiness / redness on my face and creeping down my neck. It’s not a rash, per se, but I don’t even feel like I can be seen in public because it’s so bad. Thanks everyone for letting me vent and for all your posts. I certainly don’t feel so crazy and alone!

  • melinda December 23, 2015, 9:52 pm

    I took 300mg Lamictal for over 8 years. More than four years ago, I began having vision problems, mainly blurry and double vision. I mentioned it to both my PC and optician but neither thought it was anything related to the Lamictal. In fact, they didn’t even consider it as a possible side-effect until I brought it up. I also developed a rash, which was on my arms and felt and looked like shingles to me, but my doctor had no clue about.

    That was almost 7 years ago and because I was never told I shouldn’t, I continued to take Lamictal. Last spring, my new doctor finally agreed that I should begin weaning myself off of Lamictal and see if my eyesight improved. I saw improvement immediately. I was also taking Geodon and had become very sensitive to the heat. I had heat stroke 6 times last summer! I decided to wean off both medicines.

    I went down slowly over almost six months and took my last dose of Geodon and Lamictal on October 1, 2015. I don’t know which of the two has contributed most to my withdrawal symptoms, but I will share my experience with you. As I tapered down, I began experiencing severe headaches and neck stiffness. My shoulders, arms and hands ached so badly that I had to stop knitting. (If you knit, you know how depressing that is). When I finally stopped the meds, I became severely dizzy.

    I lay in bed with my eyes closed for the first week because every time I opened my eyes, I threw up. I carried a bowl with me to the bathroom because I would get sick immediately upon standing. The headache was excruciating! I ached all over. Thankfully, I slept a lot and that got me through it. I was mostly bed-ridden for three weeks, just able to sit for minutes at a time before the dizziness would make me ill.

    I read a lot of good books. I recommend Koontz and the duo of Preston and Child. I’m also a Buddhist, so I did a lot of meditating to get through the HUGE crapola that is required to get off this stuff. It isn’t easy, but I’m determined to be drug free. I still have to get off Effexor and I’m not looking forward to that at all. It’s absolute HELL from what I’ve read.

    I’m still experiencing joint pain and my sleep is disrupted from that and the fact that I itch all over. I broke out with herpes not long after going off Lamictal and Geodon. Then I got shingles on my foot and in my scalp. I have had hives and a red rash appear on my arms and legs, stay for 20 minutes to a couple of days, and then fade away. I went to the doctor yesterday because I have herpes blisters on my inner lower eyelid.

    When the doctor found out I was off my anti-psychotics, she told me my symptoms were due to psychosis and were psychosomatic. I couldn’t believe it! I am absolutely finished with Western medicine and the big money drug machine. Has anyone else had the itching experience and joint pain continue after stopping these meds? Thanks for all your posts and info. It’s been a great help.

  • DonnaD December 7, 2015, 4:31 am

    I’ve been on 50mg of Lamictal XR for about 5 years. I had a seizure in 2002 but nothing since then. My new neurologist did a EEG found no more signs that called for such a strong drug, so he recommended me titrating off first 25 a day for 3 months, now 25 every other day for about 2 months. Now I’m feeling the tingling, headaches, brain farts, sadness, dizziness, vomiting but most of all the sleepiness.

  • Lorrell November 24, 2015, 3:09 am

    I was switched from Ability to Lamictal about 3 months ago my doctor said it had less side effects I still wasn’t feeling right she increased my dose. It was the worst thing she could have done I became increasingly angry to the point of blacking out. I am a mother of 4 and yes they make me angry but not enough to act like like a homicidal maniac. I probably shouldn’t have quit cold turkey but it scared me to death. Then I suffered unbearable withdrawals to this day I don’t know what was worse.

    I suffer from depression anxiety PTSD and I’m bipolar. The withdrawals were agonizing headaches from hell, dizziness, and severe suicidal tendencies. I don’t know how but I managed to get through it. This is The worst medicine I have ever been on I feel for all of you. I hope I never or anyone else has to experience what I did cold turkey or not it was killing me on and off of it!

  • Belinda November 22, 2015, 1:24 pm

    I have a question. My husband used lamictal for 2 months. Quit cold turkey and the next day started using cipralex, on it now for 3 weeks. His behavior has been strange, he has not come home twice, his psychologist says he might be manic but he is refusing to see her. How long will it continue before the cipralex kicks in?

  • Bolt November 21, 2015, 3:19 am

    Almost two weeks ago I thought I found a dr that actually “gets me” and would/could help instead of telling me to see another dr and pray (no joke). He rx’d 2 weeks of Lamotrigine and Adderall (never taken either, I way 125#’s). I’ve been on 25mg of Lamotrigine for 12 days as of yesterday. The first night I took lamotrigine I woke up sweating and itching like never before and had flu symptoms. The next morning I was to start 20mg adderall xr.

    Thirty to 45 minutes later I felt AMAZING, until the adderall wore off (4-6 hours later) and again felt flu like symptoms along with noticeable blurry vision. That night I wasn’t going to take the lamictal but decided to do so, maybe it was the flu right? So long story short for two weeks I have been on 25 mg of Lamictal and 20mg Adderall XR. My throat has been swollen, can’t drink enough water and dry mouth/lips like never before.

    I wake (woke) up take adderall, I go to work, FOCUS, I’m calm, I can actually sit still, I’m mindful and actually LISTEN to people for the first time in my life, I’m finally doing my job right, I don’t have cussing outbursts like before, life is great until anywhere between 4-6 hours later when the adderall wears off. Then my face gets flushed (HOT), left arm particularly my wrist feels weird, hands/feet get really cold and I feel like I have the flu (same as night one on Lam prior to Adderall).

    Around this time my heart starts racing (nothing like it did before these meds though) and I cannot sleep. I was RX’d Ambien which does NOT help at all, actually I think it makes insomnia worse. Good for me I still have xanax from this spring and a 1/2-whole has been calming me down at nights. Or at least the only nights I have slept at least 4-5 hours ( I need avg of 7-8). Yesterday I went to ER, my left arm/wrist felt as if blood was not circulating, it was tingly, I was weak, short of breath and knew things were not right.

    I’ve noticed over two weeks my left grip hasn’t been strong. My chest was hurting, and the day&night before my left shoulder and neck was all out of whack. My throat has been swollen almost shut for a week, I felt awful, like something serious was about to happen. It did NOT feel like anxiety, I thought I was having a stroke or heart attack! My mother took me to ER, all tests were fine with the exception of being dehydrated. I was given fluids, told to discontinue lamictal and reduce adderall.

    Contact my Doc immediately which I left a message last night, called at 8am this morning, again at noon and it is now 10pm and I’ve not heard back from him or staff. I know he is in today and he knows the situation, his secretary said so. So what am I suppose to think? I have not taken anything today other than 1/2 a multivitamin. My head is killing me, face is flushed/hot, throat is still swollen as it has been since starting lamictal, thirsty, shaky, heart has been racing, still constipated (OMG), did not sleep last night, can’t day sleep due to noises startling me and I am pissed off, getting more PO’d by the minute.

    I’ve spent $1,000 this month trying to get help for BP1, ADHD and OCD, not to mention the $3,998 trip to the ER yesterday. I didn’t even go to work today and dread tomorrow considering how crappy I feel after feeling so dang great during the day for the last 12 days! Anyone would be frustrated over this situation, I do NOT think it is just me. I’ve lost about 8#’s, been ridiculously constipated which is weird considering the I’ve drank more water in 12 days than possibly the last year. I feel like hell today! Can’t get out of bed but can’t sleep/rest and I’m so disappointed in all of this.

    And I feel especially let down by my doctor. Story of my life. So yeah… only 25 mg of Lamotrigine and this is what I have experienced so far. I realize everyone is different, just wish I would have listened to my body that first couple nights instead of telling myself I’d get used to it. I’m sure it does make life seem like “the bottom didn’t just drop out” for some and I kind of felt that way on it and that is/was great minus the side effects.

    I wish I could tolerate it and I could find a doc that would listen to me and actually care about their patients. I mean F, I thought I found one, but he can’t even return a phone call or email when he knows the severity of the situation. Thank god I didn’t get the rash associated with it!
    I have one or two days supply left of medication, he (my dr/PA whatever he is) told me when I visited him Tuesday he would e-script to my pharmacy since I live 2 hours away and that hasn’t happened either.

    No clue as to how I am to wean off from it. FML! First time I’ve felt like FML in 2 weeks other than the ER trip. It went from progress to a few steps back. F!!! And remind me again why we have shrinks and PA’s??? Call me CRAZY but I thought they are supposed to help people? You’d think he’d at least have his assistant call me, but no and I’m taking this as “F-you and suffer, you’re just a paycheck like the others”.

  • Debbie October 25, 2015, 5:00 pm

    My doc started me on 50mg of Lamictal for about 4 days. Then increased to 100mg for 4 days. Then increased to 200mg. The night that I took my 5th dose of the 200 mg I had a terrifying hallucination, high anxiety, fear and feeling like I was going crazy. My doc then told me to decrease my dosage to 100mg for the next 6 days. Then take 100 mg every other day over the next 3 days until our next appt.

    Last night was my 6th dose of the 100 mg and my anxiety was extreme again. Every little sound status startles me and my pulse is elevated around 110. Does this sound like normal withdrawals? Does this taper sound too fast? I feel like I’m going crazy. I take clonazepam to help with the anxiety but it only helps for a short time. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • Lorraine October 25, 2015, 2:00 pm

    If I forget to take the lamictal – or try to cut 200 mg in half – I get the “out of body experience”, nausea, disorientation, dizzy, sensitivity to light, sound and weird taste in my mouth. I have taken lamictal 400mg with a cocktail of lexapro, seroquel. and atavan for about 10 years. I am reducing the lexapro and seroquel. My psychiatrist prescribed zoloft to transfer from lexapro, but I am going to slowly wean off all of them one at a time I too thank God for this website so that I can do a slow withdrawal, recognize the symptoms and know that there is hope.

  • Patty October 21, 2015, 4:29 pm

    Has anyone here successfully gone off Lamictal? I just started cutting down with the hopes of not taking it at all soon. I’ve done my research, but all I find are testimonies of the process of elimination, not the result. Any good (or bad) stories of life without Lamictal? I need something to look forward to, see if the withdrawal symptoms are worth it.

  • Centime October 15, 2015, 2:14 pm

    I’ve been on Lamictal for less than a year, and am beginning to wean myself off it because of the onset of sudden joint pain. My doc didn’t think it was related to the Lamictal and thought it was probably Lyme disease, but I tested negative. It began about 12 weeks after I started taking the drug, first in my fingers, then neck, now moving into my hips and toes. My hands feel like the hands of a 100 year old. I have trouble bending my fingers, they crackle and get stuck so I can’t unbend them, and they really hurt.

    I can’t open jars, lift anything heavy, sew, draw, or write clearly. Now my neck is also involved. I searched for days on the net and found lots of anecdotal reports, but nothing I could really use until I saw a small article on a doctor’s blog (which now I can’t find again) that said Lamictal can cause a buildup of minerals (iron, I think) in the joints, which is actually closer to gout than arthritis. For many years I took Paxil, also manufactured by SmithKline, and both times I tried to get off it I ended up in the ER even though I titrated it down in very small decreases.

    I KNEW it was withdrawal, but my doc didn’t believe it. It was years later that SKB finally admitted there was a serious withdrawal syndrome associated with the drug. Now here I am again facing weeks or months of pain because big pharma can hide behind its corporate facade and basically censor whatever truth it doesn’t like. It makes me furious! I’m Bipolar II and take Lamictal off-label for that.

    Although it has evened out my hypomanias, I’ve been in a severe depression for months and months, which it seems to affect not at all, so I’m going to ditch it. I’m also taking low does of Seroquel (100) and Latuda (60), and am now down to 125 of Lamictal, going down 25 mg. at a time. I wish the best to all of you who are struggling with the confusion and frustrations of psychopharmacology! Centime

    • Rob April 15, 2016, 11:46 pm

      Centime – I’m curious if you are off Lamictal now. How is the joint pain? After eight years of taking 150mg/once a day, I am wanting to get off all my psych meds. Klonopin is first. I am now off it for several days after six months of titration. I feel foggy headed, depressed, anxious, can concentrate and can’t sit still.

      In other words, just awful. I am an older man and am curious how you would describe yourself for comparison purposes. I have tried to discontinue Lamictal before and became deeply depressed within two or three days. So I am going to go VERY slowly, since I haven’t really been off klonopin long enough to have adjusted to its absence. Poor balance is the primary reason I want off it.

      This symptom was present from the first time I took (and had been the same when I took Depakote previously). And I have started to have the joint pain in my hands and feel, with fingers that get stuck in the fist position. And I have tingling in various places, some of which feel like mild electrical sensations.

      It will be hard to differentiate which withdrawal symptoms are which, so that’s even more reason to approach the Lamictal withdrawal very slowly.

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