Bipolar Disorder Treatment Medications How Long Does Withdrawal From Lamictal Last? By Marcia Purse Marcia Purse Marcia Purse is a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate who brings strong research skills and personal experiences to her writing. Learn about our editorial process Updated on April 12, 2023 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Steven Gans, MD Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Verywell / Emily Roberts Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Overview Symptoms Coping Warnings Long-Term Treatment Resources What is the most important information I should know about Lamictal withdrawal? Never stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor first. While uncommon, some people have reported experiencing symptoms of Lamictal withdrawal.Alert your doctor if you develop a skin rash or persistent high fever while taking Lamictal, as these can be signs of potentially dangerous side effects. Lamictal (lamotrigine) is a mood stabilizer and anticonvulsant prescribed to treat bipolar disorder and epilepsy. This medication can be used to reduce the occurrence of mood episodes in people with bipolar disorder and to control seizures in people with epilepsy. If people suddenly stop taking their medication, they may experience Lamictal withdrawal symptoms. This article discusses the symptoms of Lamictal withdrawal and how to cope. It also explores warning you should consider before stopping your medication and other long-term treatment options. Overview of Lamictal Withdrawal All medications can potentially cause both uncommon side effects and uncommon withdrawal symptoms. However, the clinical trials that looked at Lamictal for bipolar disorder didn't note any significant withdrawal symptoms. While there is little clinical information available about potential Lamictal withdrawal, anecdotal reports suggest that some individuals may experience difficult symptoms when discontinuing their medication. Such reports suggest that people may feel particularly tired, moody, and unfocused when they quit taking Lamictal. Some individuals suggest that they experience physical sensations such as body tingles. A missed dose may increase the risk of increased mood symptoms. Missing doses or inconsistent dosing could potentially lead to withdrawal symptoms for some people. Such experiences may range in severity from mild to severe. However, evidence indicates that such symptoms typically resolve within a few days. Signs & Symptoms of Lamictal Withdrawal Clinical trials show that sudden Lamictal discontinuation may increase the frequency of seizures in patients with epilepsy. The patient information for Lamictal doesn't mention any potential withdrawal symptoms beyond seizures. However, Lamictal users report other symptoms, even if they taper off from the drug instead of suddenly stopping it. These include: Moodiness Hostility Loss of focus Lethargy Headaches Body tingling and other such sensory effects Suicidal tendencies If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. None of these effects were reported when the drug was first tested; they're not mentioned on the drug's label now. The label does, however, caution patients against stopping Lamictal without first talking to their healthcare provider. The FDA notes that abruptly stopping Lamictal without talking to a doctor first can result in new or worsening mental health symptoms. As with any medication, withdrawal symptoms depend on your circumstances. Your withdrawal can be affected by how long you've been on Lamictal, your dosage, whether you stopped suddenly or tapered off, and other factors. How long does Lamictal withdrawal last? There is no specific timeline for Lamictal withdrawal since it tends to be uncommon, and effects can vary from person to person. Acute symptoms typically resolve on their own within a few days to a week. 2:02 Click Play to Learn More About Lamictal Withdrawal This video has been medically reviewed by John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE. Coping & Relief for Lamictal Withdrawal While it might be tempting to stop taking your medication immediately, you should always talk to your doctor first. Abruptly stopping Lamictal may also lead to a return of symptoms of the condition that is being treated. For people with bipolar disorder, this might mean experiencing a mood episode. For people with epilepsy, this might mean an increased risk of experiencing a seizure. As with many medications, it is recommended that people who discontinue the drug do so gradually rather than stop it suddenly. The prescribing information recommends that a taper period should last at least two weeks, with about a 50% reduction in dose per week. Your doctor may recommend a different tapering method, depending on your circumstances and your dosage. Report any odd or disturbing symptoms to your doctor as you taper off your dose. Warnings About Lamictal Withdrawal Be sure to talk to your doctor before stopping or re-starting Lamictal. Suddenly stopping Lamictal can cause new or worse problems regarding your mental health. The situation may be even more complicated if you're taking other medications along with Lamictal. This is because Lamictal interacts with other drugs, such as anti-epileptics and oral contraceptives. Your doctor will help you sort out the significance of these interactions. In a few cases, you may need to stop Lamictal suddenly. This is because the drug can cause a potentially life-threatening rash and other dangerous reactions. The FDA also issued a warning that Lamictal can cause a rare immune system reaction called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). The condition presents with a persistent, high fever and can lead to severe, life-threatening organ problems. If one of these rare side effects occurs, you'll need to discontinue taking the drug immediately. If this happens to you, be sure to let your doctor know if you experience any withdrawal symptoms. Long-Term Treatment Because Lamictal is not addictive, most people can stop using it successfully with few serious problems. If you need additional assistance, talk to your doctor. Once you stop taking your medication, you may need to consider alternative treatments for your condition. Other medications are available that can help you manage the symptoms of your condition, including other anticonvulsants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics. Other commonly prescribed medications include: Lithium Depakote (divaproex sodium) Seroquel (quetiapine) Abilify (aripiprazole) Zyprexa (olanzapine) Risperdal (risperidone) Tegretol (carbamazepine) Topamax (topiramate) Geodon (clozapine) Valproate Discuss your options with your doctor to determine what medication or treatment might suit your needs. Resources If you are interested in stopping Lamictal or lowering your dose, your best option is to start by talking to your doctor. Joining a bipolar disorder support group can also be a helpful source of encouragement, support, and advice. Visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) or the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for more information. Summary While not observed in clinical trials, some people may experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping Lamictal. Your experience may vary and may be influenced by various factors, including how long you've taken the medication. Talk to your doctor before changing your dose or stopping your medication. They can work with you to develop a tapering schedule that will minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms and recommend other ways of managing your condition. If you or a loved one are struggling with bipolar disorder or another mental health condition, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. 4 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Gelisse P, Kissani N, Crespel A, Jafari H, Baldy-Moulinier M. Is there a lamotrigine withdrawal syndrome? Acta Neurol Scand. 2002;105(3):232-234. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0404.2002.1c220.x National Alliance on Mental Illness. Lamotrigine (Lamictal). U.S. Food and Drug Administration Medication Guides. Lamictal. Food and Drug Administration. Drug safety communications. Additional Reading GlaxoSmithKline. Lamictal Prescribing Information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Updated July 2018. MedlinePlus. Lamotrigine. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Updated September 5, 2018. By Marcia Purse Marcia Purse is a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate who brings strong research skills and personal experiences to her writing. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.