Does lamictal treat depression?

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 2/10/2009 8:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello, I have had chronic depression and anxiety on and off throughout my life, and usually I used anti depressants (SSRIs) which always helped. Unfortunately recently in the past two years they caused severe manic episodes. (I have never been diagnosed bipolar until these 2 episodes occurred). Since then I have not been able to use SSRIs to treat my depression. Doctors are also cautious of me using Wellbutrin since I was taking this before I became manic with lexapro.
They recently put me on abilify which seemed to help the depression, however the restless leg syndrome has been incredibly disturbing so they are switching me over to lamictal. My concern is that this drug is used for mania but not depression and anxiety. My doctors seem more concerned about the mania than the depression, but the depression is incredibly hard to deal with and I never get manic unless I am taking medication. Does anyone have any advice about taking just lamictal alone to treat depression? I fear that it will make me flat and take all my feelings/personality away. I hope this is not true....Thank you for taking the time to read this.....

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 376
   Posted 2/10/2009 8:48 PM (GMT -7)   
I'll try to post more later but my situation is similar to yours tho my depression is secondary to other things. Short answer is yes - lamictal is all I take for depression and it does a pretty good job. SSRI's were giving me mood swings too. Lamictal, as i recall, is often used with the depression side of mood swings, and at least with me is a mood stabilizer. I think it helps a little bit with the manic side but I don't think that is it's primary effect.

Doesn't really go much for anxiety. I have that too - also secondary.

Just my experience with Lamictal. Lyme has the best of me tonight or I'd post a little more.

As always, it's best to discuss your conerns with your Dr.

Lyme, anxitey, depression, chronic C. Pnuemoniae
"... expect the unexpected ..."  (O. Wilde)
"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." (Mark Twain)

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 161
   Posted 2/11/2009 7:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Catherine,
I take lamictal but I was diagnosed bipolar...From my understanding it's not used just for mania...It's a mood stabilizer that helps with both depression and mania, basically helps control mood swings....People that are bipolar usually cannot take antidepressants alone because it will more then likely fuel the mania...Have you been diagnosed bipolar? Wasn't sure from your post and are you taking anything for your anxiety?  From what I've read it can be used for hard to treat depression...But not really sure how it works with depression alone...I've been on this medication along with strattera for almost 5 weeks now....I definately don't feel flat or that my personality/ feelings are gone...I'm the same person just better! I too think if you have any concerns to talk with your Dr...Hope I helped some.

Post Edited (wishdreamhope) : 2/11/2009 7:55:05 AM (GMT-7)

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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 2/11/2009 8:09 AM (GMT -7)   

Good Morning,

I agree with the above as they have a good understanding of the use of Lamictal.  I was on it for a short time but the known side effects and my anxiety did not jive.  I could not get past the worry so I did not take it for very long......... a couple of weeks.  At the time my Pdoc had me on so many drugs I had no idea what was working, just knew I felt awful.

Your physician is your best reference however do advocate for yourself.




Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
&  Moderator GERD  Forums

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 376
   Posted 2/11/2009 10:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Just a couple of more thoughts on this topic.  It's possible to have mood swings but not be bipolar.
I was having mood swings - periods of non-productive energy that pretty well fit the description of hypomania.  That's when my Primary Care started me on Lamictal and referred my to a psych ARNP.  We've since determined that it wasn't really a bipolar condition.  A few months later my PC found a very severe vitamin D deficiency.  I think the SSRI and the vit. D deficiency combined in a bad way to give the hypomanic-type periods.  So there might be an underlying condition that is aggravating the mood swings. 
I think I'm considered as having treatment-resistant depression and have stayed on Lamictal. 
Another thing I experienced was a serotonin-high as I phased wellbutrin in and out and it was combined with another SSRI.  Very unpleasant and hypomania is also a pretty good description of how I felt.
It's a little difficult to know exactly what was going on cause there is likely a psychiatric component to my Lyme disease.  At the time we didn't know I had the Lyme.  The Lyme is being treated and I hope the anxiety/depression/mood swings even out eventually.  Killing of the bacteria with antibiotics releases toxins and it aggravate the psych symptoms. 
Hope you're able to unravel this and smooth out the swings.  I just hate hate hate the excessive, non-productive energy of the hypomania type episodes I was having.  Made me irritable and took all my energy to stay calm.  Not like I could use that energy to concentrate and be productive.  Did I mention I hate that excessive, non-productive energy?
Hang in there!
edit - sorry, I'm just not able to remember everything at once.  Oh well.  Vitamin D and B-12 deficiencies may be related to irritability, depression and mood.  If you haven't had a complete blood workup in a while, maybe it would be a good idea?  I never expected to have such a severe vit. D deficiency. 

Lyme, anxitey, depression, chronic C. Pnuemoniae
"... expect the unexpected ..."  (O. Wilde)
"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." (Mark Twain)

Post Edited (Agmaar) : 2/11/2009 11:34:35 AM (GMT-7)

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 2/15/2009 9:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you everyone for the replies, they have been very helpful. This gives me hope that I can live a normal life... In response to some of the questions: I have been diagnosed with depression/anxiety many times throughout my life, and I have been diagnosed once with bipolar but I am not sure how accurate that is because I have never had a manic episode unless caused by an antidepressant. I am taking klonopin to cover up the anxiety symptoms caused by the abilify that I am taking in very small doses with the lamictal. But I can already tell the klonopin has worn off and I hear it is very addictive.

That is very interesting about the vitamin deficiencies. How long about would you have to take the vitamin before you can tell a difference in your mood? I think I will try taking the multivitamin powder frequently to see if that is a contributor.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/7/2010 9:11 PM (GMT -7)   

My doctor recently diagnosed me with bi-polar and said that I should start taking lamictal to balance me out I was feeling very suicidal.

Well after reading things about this drug I think he is a bit crazy.

They say you have to slowly build up on this drug but he told me to take 200mg everyday from the start.

Well I did what the doctor said thinking he knows best and after 1 week I started to have really bad panic attacks ive never had them before in my life and the most messed up dreams and it was really freaking me out.

So I just stopped cold turkey thinking that taking this crazy drug anymore will only make things worse.

Well its been 3 days now since I stopped and im still feeling really bad.

Can you tell me your experience on this and how long it will take to stop feeling the withdrawal symptoms I know everyone says you should not stop cold turkey as it is really dangerous but i was only taking it one week and my body was telling me that this stuff really doesn't agree with me.

Edit:  email removed for your safety.  You may put it in your profile where only members can access it.  We strive to protect your privacy so thank you for your understanding.

Thanks very much

Post Edited By Moderator (stkitt) : 10/8/2010 7:32:26 AM (GMT-6)

Trying to Understand
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 776
   Posted 10/7/2010 10:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Daniel, you've come to the right place.

I don't know what to advise you on the meds, and confusing symptoms. My best advice is, call the doctor and have him re evaluate the situation. If you leave him a short and factual voice message, maybe he will return your call. Jot it down before you get on the phone so you don't sound so scattered. Otherwise can you go in? Do they have emergency appts? Ask

Glad you realize that stopping cold turkey is not the way to go. It could get scary, like it has, and confusing when you are least able to analyze the meds and what to do next. You can't be your own doctor, but you can have an opinion. You need to have a professional monitor you and know what has been happening.

Hang on, others will also offer their advice.
Others have had this happen as well. Its hard to get the right med combo, and then on top of it our med needs change. Never play with those suicidal ideas. Glad you called the doc. on that.

Post Edited (Trying to Understand) : 10/7/2010 11:47:33 PM (GMT-6)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/8/2010 6:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Good Morning.  I am going to post the link to our Bipolar Forum as you may want to post your concerns re Lamictal in that forum as I know you will find more members on this drug in the Bipolar Forum.
I am unipolar and was prescribed Lamictal as a mood stablizer however after a couple of doses I stopped the medication as I was afraid of the side effects - I know, my phobia kicked in.  So I do not have much input on how the drug works or the side effects. 
Take care and be strong.
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 164
   Posted 10/8/2010 2:48 PM (GMT -7)   
I think you should consider your intuition on your manic episode and not the diagnosis.    Based on my experience with side-effects from medicines of various types, if the change is signficant, and you are on a medicine - you must consider the medicine as a possible cause of the change, even if you have been on the medicine for a long time.  A few things I have been on had to build up in my system before I noticed a marked side-effect.  My SSRI experiences have not been good ones, and it was the long-term effects that made me stop taking them.  I was on a med after outpatient surgery, can't even recall what the med was for, but after 3 pills I had a psychotic reaction with what I call now "sensory hallucinations."  My spatial senses were all messed up, sounds appeared louder than they were, it was like some episode of the outer limits.  Took me 3 days to come back to normality.  And the killer was - what I experienced was not even indicated for that drug.  But once off the drug, things returned to normal. 
The real problem with medications from my point of view, is being on too many at once so there no longer an easy way to determine what might be causing what.  Though individual contraindications are often noted, once you put five or six meds into the mix, does anyone really know what is happening inside you? 

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 3/5/2013 12:09 PM (GMT -7)   
One week ago I was prescribed Lamictal for depression and anxiety (25 mg q.d. for two weeks, then ^ the dosage to 50 mg for two weeks, then go back to dr.).  I DO NOT like the way I have been feeling.  Still depressed and anxious, headache, stomach upset, feel achy all over, but what bothers me the most is the "stupids" (as I have heard them referred to) where I cannot think, cannot come up with the correct word, it's almost impossible to make decisions...just feel really scattered and STILL want to go home and hide under the covers.  I've suffered with depression/anxiety forever...had VERY positive results with Prozac when it first came out but it doesn't seem to work anymore.  I don't know what to do!  I'm tempted to quit Lamictal before I get dependent unless someone can reassure me that these side effects will go away and tell me how long it takes for it to be effective.  Doctor diagnosed me with bi-polar but it doesn't seem true to me. confused Just want to be normal.

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41844
   Posted 3/5/2013 6:53 PM (GMT -7)   
HI Moondust,

Welcome to the depression forum. I believe lamictal is a mood stabilizer and used for bipolar. Sometimes we try medications and they aren't the right drug for us. Give it a little more time. We often feel worse before we feel better. If it doesn't work and the side effects become unbearable, get ahold of your doctor and see about trying something else. There are so many to choose from. We often don't find the right medication right away. But be patient. We have all been through this. It does get better. If your doctor doesn't seem open minded to finding what is right for you, find another doctor. It is a lot of work but if you aren't getting anywhere, it may be worth it. I would give the lamictal a little more time though before you give up. Remember it will get better. Have faith...

Take care, and keep posting.

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 19942
   Posted 3/6/2013 8:31 PM (GMT -7)   
hi, jamie here,

i am on lamictal to treat rapid cycling bi-polar disorder-as a mood stabilizer and for depression as well. i find it very helpful. currently on 200mg. see psychiatrist tomorrow. may increase it. all the best to you.

kind regards,


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