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Lamictal Side Effects May Cause Aseptic Meningitis

  • Written by: Staff Writers
  • 16 Comments

New label warnings will alert consumers that the side effects of Lamictal, an antiseizure medication, may increase the risk of aseptic meningitis. 

The FDA issued a drug safety communication on the GlaxoSmithKline drug on August 12, indicating that the Warnings and Precautions section of the drug label will be updated to list aseptic meningitis as a potential side effect. The FDA decided to add the warning to the label after reviewing 40 cases of patients taking Lamictal contracting aseptic meningitis.

Aseptic meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord that is not caused by any detectable bacteria. Meningitis is considered a medical emergency due to its proximity to the brain, and if untreated in a timely fashion can result in deafness, cognitive problems and epilepsy. Types of aseptic meningitis can include drug-induced meningitis, viral meningitis and Lyme Disease. Symptoms can include:

  • Headache
  • Neck Stiffness
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Light Sensitivity

Lamictal (lamotrigine) is approved by FDA for the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder. The drug was first approved in 1994 and has been prescribed to more than 46 million people.

The FDA reported that most of the cases of aseptic meningitis from Lamictal resolved after patients were taken off the drug. In 15 cases the ailment returned when patients began taking Lamictal again.

The FDA recommended that patients contact their healthcare professionals if they were taking Lamictal and began experiencing symptoms of aseptic meningitis.

Lamictal side effects has also been linked with increased risk of suicide, and a rare but potentially deadly skin reaction called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.

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16 comments

  1. corey Reply

    I have been taking this drug for three or four years i suffer from constant headaches, severe neck pain daily vomiting upset stomach severe skin rases exspecally on head and face, sever spinal pain have been bed riddin for the last three to four years projectile vomftfng,seizures,sucide thoughts and attempts. I have serious skin rashes and infections that green puss comes out all over my body. the problems along with others that I have ,have forced me to seek ssd and ssi with no results.

  2. Amanda Reply

    Try getting your med changed and see if that helps. I have only been taking it for 7-8 weeks and the symptoms feel common to me to, stiff neck and eyes. Good luck with your journey!

  3. Shane Reply

    I have been taking Lamictal since 2006 and I have had severe cases of infections and headaches along with constant nausea and general malaise. I have lost my ability to fight off infections and my immunologist says that there are reports that Lamictal can cause lowered immunity. This was never put on any warning label I have read. I am very sick and I don’t think I am going to be around much longer. Think twice before taking this drug!!

  4. Catherine Reply

    Lamictal for seizures, been on it for aprox 4 yrs. Can’t be sure because I have no memory thanks to this drug (&other seizure drugs before I’m sure). I found a website that made me cry when I saw so many others with the same on-going symptoms that my doctors have been ignoring, treating me like a hypochondriac. I’ve been living every day with panic/anxiety attacts, slurring, stuttering, dyslectic speech, numbness over half my body, red dots that come and go, hair falling out, headaches, swelling, lupus like symptoms, stabbing pains, vision problems, light sensitive, sound sensitivity, smell comes and goes, food tastes bitter, anorexia, weight loss, dropping things, confusion, borderline personality disorder, ADD, OCD, skin rashes, night sweats, hot flashes, fits of rage, night terrors, tremors, jerking, nausea, and for all I know, breast cancer, as no family member on either side has ever had cancer. The worst, no memory of my life since these drugs. Lamictal is the worst. If someone had asked me if I would prefer to have a seizure now and then, but live an otherwise normal life OR less seizures but no memory of your life with the side effects above tossed in for good measure, I think I would choose the first. I’ve been handcuffed twice at the scene of accidents (I did not cause) because of my sound/light/lpanic/anxiety/slurring/confusion/not paying attention or following direction. I had to pay a lawyer $2G to fight a DUI charge (I passed the breathalyzer no problem, but failed the field test). My doctors wouldn’t write me anything to support my case because they don’t believe anything is wrong with me. I saw this over and over on that website from other Lamictal victims. I can’t work, but can’t collect SSD because the doctors don’t believe or there is no NAME for it. I’ve been fired 4x because of my memory and other psych issues caused by this drug. I’ve disrupted my family because of these issues more than you can imagine. My children have a mother who can’t remember their lives as children, traditions, events, gone. I can’t go out in public because everyone knows me and I don’t know them. I am controlled by doctors and police because of this medication. My family is a mess dealing with my DUI case (dropped but at the expense of a lawyer and my reputation ruined thru the paper), my ongoing medical issues, my constantly trying to defend or prove that there IS something wrong. I’ve had to figure all this out on my own. When I was stopped and questioned last night at a sobriety check point, 100% sober, and detained once again, I realized I can’t even get into my car and drive without risking a jail sentence, despite sobriety. You can’t use anything related to seizures or mental health issues when you defend yourself in a DMV case. They will take your license. I am currently weaning myself off, because doctors don’t believe. The web site is “Medications.com”. I am just a tad bitter 😉 Please help myself as well as other patient victims whose lives have been ruined.

  5. Rae Reply

    I started lamictal Sept 2009 ended up with meningitis mid october 2009 and hospitalized 5 days. I never want to feel that kind of pain again.
    Was out of work over a month. Re hospitalized July 2010 leg weakness could barely walk then they wondered if I became toxic.
    I’ve had muscle pain and balance and weakness issues progressively the past year. I have been weaned off of it and been improving much.

  6. Irma Reply

    I’ve been taking Lamictal since 2009, and noticed that I have been experiencing photophobia very badly. I had left upper limb numbness which caused me to be hospitalized and end up with the doctor asking me to see a psychitrisk as she thinks it’s just psychological and was just caused by stress, proving to her that what i was experiencing is real has left me no choice but to go home finding answers for the symptom I was shocked to read that a lot of people has been experiencing the same thing.

  7. julie Reply

    has anyone experienced tendonitis and/or bursitis as a result of using lamictal?

  8. Liza Reply

    So where do we get help when the doctors are not listening and we are all suffering or have someone we love who is suffering. We need help NOW!

  9. kristina Reply

    I started taking Lamictal in October of 2010 I went to see the Dr because I thought that I had a possible thyroid issue. I had a few months previously given birth to my daughter and I was having a hard time losing weight and I was having a hard time staying awake. Within fifteen minutes of talking to me my Dr told me he thought that i was mildly bipolar. I have never been classified as such before and was shocked. He told me that I had probably always been and it would be a good idea for me to start taking a medication for it. He prescribed lamictal I was apprehensive about taking it but he told me that medication was super safe and the side effects from the medication would be the same as drinking a glass of water. Since I began taking the medication I developed attention problems, dry skin, my finger nails cracked and broke off I started losing my hair my ankles and elbows dried out terribly and than the headaches started. They are so intense they make me want to scream I called the Dr and told him what was going on and he told me that I couldn’t stop the medication that I needed to stay on it. He told me when I protested that I could break my meds in half and go from 100mg to 50 mg I am now weaning myself off of the medication because he wouldn’t take me off of it. This medication has ruined my once happy life now I am writing this and my chest is heavy like I am about to have a heart attack. This stinks.

  10. Ken Reply

    ALL this time I thought I was losing my mind because I couldn’t remember so much over the course of the years. I take Lamictal in conjunction with Depakote ER. Over the last 5 years my memory has just faded away fast, almost beyond belief. As well as my attention span and my sense of smell and taste. Dry skin and rashes are an issue. It’s frustrating not being able to remember your life! What to do?

  11. linda Reply

    I have been on serquel for over 5 years, without it I, CAN NOT GET TO SLEEP, IT IS HARD FOR ME TO CONTROL MY HANDS AND LEG MOVEMENTS. I DONT HAVE THE ANSWERS, IT IS REALLY DIFFICULT
    FOR ME TO RECALL, WHAT I CAN AND CAN NOT REMEMBER WHAT i DID TWO DAYS AGO,,I TAKE 800 MLG AT NIGHT IT ALLOWS ME TO GET TO SLEEP BUT DOESNT KEEP ME ASLEEP. I STAY IN A DEEP CONFUSION, WHICH IS QUITE BOTHERSOM.

  12. linda Reply

    I NEED TO TALK WITH SOMEONE, BECAUSE TYPING WILL ONLY CONFUSE ME

  13. withdrawal Reply

    we keep letting them pump us full of chemicals only to get worse while they ignore nutritional therapies that are non toxic and actually promote wellness.

    pharmacology is not always the answer. sometimes its more profitable to disseminate false information than it is to let people heal themselves naturally.

  14. Alice Reply

    I was one of the people who developed recurrent aseptic menengitis from this medication. At the time (2005), I was the second case the doctors (here in Australia) had ever heard of, and I’m in the medical journals because of it.

    This was one of the most horrific things I have ever been through, and the resulting issues have ruined my life.

  15. isabelle Reply

    depuis que je prends du lamictal 150 :
    -maux de tête =acouphènes énormes
    -vertiges
    -insomnies toutes les nuits
    -douleurs dans la gorge (comme une angine)
    -une raideur de nuque
    -vision floue (ai eu un accident de voiture)
    -perte d’équilibre (suis tombée dans mon escalier)
    mon neurologue me dit que c’est normal, que tout va bien et qu’il faut que je continue à le prendre alors que je n’ai jamais eu tous ces symptômes.
    je ne sais plus quoi faire – cela traite mon épilepsie et le neuro me dit que je ne peux pas prendre d’autre médicament – que faire??? il ne m’écoute pas – il me prend pour une “craintive” mais tous ces symptômes, je ne les invente pas, ils sont apparus dès les premières prises de ce médicament- que faire ? aidez-moi SVP.

  16. Miranda Reply

    Was told Lamictal was totally safe for breastfeeding by one of the crazy pill pushers… 3 weeks later my son has fever is vomiting and showing all the signs of meningitis. He has never been sick “like this” before and my husband and I know it is a reaction to the meds. NEVER TRUST BIG PHARMA. GERSON THERAPY IS THE CURE.

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