Foods to avoid when taking lamotrigine?

Lamotrigine is a commonly prescribed medication used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder. As with many medications, certain dietary considerations may be necessary to ensure its optimal effectiveness and minimise potential side effects. While there are no specific foods that must be completely avoided while taking lamotrigine, it is important to be mindful of potential interactions that could affect its absorption, metabolism, or overall efficacy. This article aims to provide you with an overview of foods and substances that may interfere with lamotrigine and offer general guidelines for a healthy diet while taking this medication. However, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider for personalised advice based on your specific medical needs and any existing conditions or medications you may be taking.

What is Lamotrigine?

Lamotrigine is a prescription medication that belongs to the class of anticonvulsant drugs. It is primarily used for the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder.

How does it work?

Lamotrigine works by modulating the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, primarily by blocking the release of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. It achieves this by inhibiting voltage-gated sodium channels, which are involved in the transmission of electrical signals between nerve cells. By reducing the release of glutamate and regulating the flow of sodium ions, lamotrigine helps to stabilise abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

What is lamotrigine used for?

Lamotrigine is primarily used for the treatment of two main conditions:

  • Epilepsy 

Lamotrigine is commonly prescribed as an antiepileptic medication to help control and prevent seizures. It can be used in various types of epilepsy, including partial seizures, generalised seizures (such as tonic-clonic seizures), and seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. It is often used as an adjunctive treatment alongside other antiepileptic drugs or as monotherapy.

  • Bipolar disorder

Lamotrigine is also approved for the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder. It can help prevent or reduce the frequency of mood episodes in individuals with bipolar disorder, including both manic and depressive episodes. It is often prescribed as a long-term treatment to stabilise mood and prevent relapses.

Lamotrigine dosage and administration guidelines?

The following are general guidelines for lamotrigine dosage and administration:


Starting dose: The initial recommended dose for adults and children aged 13 years and older is usually 25 mg taken once daily for the first two weeks.

Titration: The dosage is then gradually increased by 25 to 50 mg per day every one to two weeks until the effective maintenance dose is reached.

Maintenance dose: The typical maintenance dose ranges from 100 to 400 mg per day, divided into two or more doses.

Bipolar disorder:

Starting dose: The initial recommended dose for adults is often 25 mg taken once daily for the first two weeks.

Titration: The dosage is then increased by 25 to 50 mg per day every one to two weeks until the effective maintenance dose is achieved.

Maintenance dose: The usual maintenance dose ranges from 100 to 200 mg per day, divided into two or more doses.

Dosage adjustments may be necessary based on individual response and tolerability. It is important to closely follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider regarding dose adjustments and timing of medication intake.

What foods should be avoided while taking lamotrigine?

While there are no specific foods that must be completely avoided when taking lamotrigine, it is generally recommended to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. However, it is advisable to be cautious with alcohol consumption and avoid grapefruit or its juice, as they may interact with the medication. Additionally, high-fat meals may potentially affect the absorption of lamotrigine.

Common side effects of lamotrigine?

Common side effects of lamotrigine may include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Somnolence (excessive sleepiness)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Rash or skin reactions (ranging from mild to severe, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis, although these are rare)
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Fatigue or weakness

Long-term effects of lamotrigine?

Lamotrigine is generally considered safe and well-tolerated when used for long-term treatment. It has been extensively studied and prescribed for conditions such as epilepsy and bipolar disorder for extended periods. However, it is important to be aware of potential long-term effects and discuss them with your healthcare provider. Here are some considerations:

Skin Reactions: While rare, serious skin reactions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis have been reported with lamotrigine use. These reactions are more likely to occur within the first few months of treatment. If you notice any rash or skin changes, especially with fever or other systemic symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Cognitive Effects: Some individuals may experience cognitive effects such as memory difficulties or changes in concentration. However, these effects are generally mild and may improve over time or with dose adjustments.

Bone Health: There is limited evidence suggesting a potential association between long-term lamotrigine use and reduced bone mineral density, which may increase the risk of fractures. However, further research is needed to establish a clear link, and the impact on bone health is generally considered minimal.

Metabolic Effects: Lamotrigine is not typically associated with significant metabolic side effects such as weight gain or metabolic syndrome. However, individual variations may occur, and it is important to monitor and maintain a healthy lifestyle to mitigate any potential risks.

Mood Stability: For individuals with bipolar disorder, long-term treatment with lamotrigine aims to help stabilise mood and reduce the frequency and intensity of mood episodes. Continued monitoring and adjustment of the medication regimen may be necessary to maintain optimal mood stability.

How long does it take for lamotrigine to start working?

The time it takes for lamotrigine to start working can vary among individuals. Some may experience improvements within a few weeks, while for others, it may take several weeks or months to notice significant effects. Adherence to the prescribed dosage and titration schedule is important for optimal results. Consult your healthcare provider for personalised guidance and monitoring of your progress.


Q1: Is lamotrigine safe during pregnancy? 

Ans: Lamotrigine may be used under medical supervision.

Q2: Can lamotrigine be stopped abruptly?

Ans: Abruptly stopping lamotrigine should be avoided.

Q3: Can lamotrigine be taken with other medications?

Ans: Lamotrigine may interact with certain drugs.

Q4: What should I do if I miss a dose of lamotrigine?

Ans: Take it as soon as possible or follow your schedule.

Q5: Can lamotrigine be used in children?

Ans: Lamotrigine is approved for use in children.

Q6: How long does lamotrigine stay in the body?

Ans: Half-life is around 29 hours on average.

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