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I just started Lamictal last night and became VERY dizzy and groggy about an hour after taking it. After sleeping for about 6hrs, I went into the kitchen, grabbed two slices of pizza and drank two glasses of wine... then the dizziness started again, which much more intensity. I felt like I'd drank two bottles in the span of an hour, the way the room was spinning. I'm still horridly hung-over from the two glasses I had. I guess I just wasn't expecting it to react so strongly, especially since I'd just began taking it that night. Does lamotrigine interact heavily with alcohol, even once the body has adjusted to having the former in your system... or is it because I'm still naïve to the side-effects?

Also how long does it take (approx.) for lamotrigine to reach therapeutic levels?

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I just started Lamictal last night and became VERY dizzy and groggy about an hour after taking it. After sleeping for about 6hrs, I went into the kitchen, grabbed two slices of pizza and drank two glasses of wine... then the dizziness started again, which much more intensity. I felt like I'd drank two bottles in the span of an hour, the way the room was spinning. I'm still horridly hung-over from the two glasses I had. I guess I just wasn't expecting it to react so strongly, especially since I'd just began taking it that night. Does lamotrigine interact heavily with alcohol, even once the body has adjusted to having the former in your system... or is it because I'm still naïve to the side-effects?

I don't think it is a good idea to drink two glasses of wine with any new psych med that you aren't familiar with, even if it's not known for interacting strongly with alcohol, because you never know how you will react to a new psych med...

Lamictal, when you first start, can be activating or sedating. I experienced sedation and also had severe cognitive side effects when I first started, including significant errors in judgment. The cognitive effects and sedation passed quickly for me. After that it was activating most of the way up.

Also how long does it take (approx.) for lamotrigine to reach therapeutic levels?

This is a complicated question. Lamictal titration must be slow because of the rash risk. The time to reach therapeutic levels can be highly variable because of individual responses to different dose levels. On the way up, most people seem to experience destablized moods before reaching a therapeutic level. At different levels, I experienced euphoric hypomania, irritable hypomania, mixed state, and extremely rapid cycling. At my current level (150mg) I seem to be stable, but only time will tell.

Have you seen the Lamictal page at crazymeds? It is a good place to start for basic Lamictal info. http://www.crazymeds.us/lamictal.html

How Long Lamictal Takes to Work: Like all anticonvulsants it works best once you reach the proper dosage, but the proper dosage is especially variable with Lamictal (lamotrigine). Its antidepressant properties will kick in somewhere between 25 and 100mg a day, depending on what other meds you might be taking. Its mood stabilization and anti-epileptic effects will take place between 100 and 400mg a day, again depending on what other medications you're taking. So it all depends on the titration schedule you and your doctor work out to reach those dosages.
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I just started Lamictal last night and became VERY dizzy and groggy about an hour after taking it. After sleeping for about 6hrs, I went into the kitchen, grabbed two slices of pizza and drank two glasses of wine... then the dizziness started again, which much more intensity. I felt like I'd drank two bottles in the span of an hour, the way the room was spinning. I'm still horridly hung-over from the two glasses I had. I guess I just wasn't expecting it to react so strongly, especially since I'd just began taking it that night. Does lamotrigine interact heavily with alcohol, even once the body has adjusted to having the former in your system... or is it because I'm still naïve to the side-effects?

Also how long does it take (approx.) for lamotrigine to reach therapeutic levels?

Lamictal can be sedating occasionally - particularly at the lower doses. I was groggy for the first week at 25mg.. then it went away & became activating. Too activating for me the first two times.. the third worked out because I didn't have that reaction. Anytime you are groggy, dizzy, or anything remotely similar - do not drink. It can and will make things worse - every time.

At my point, I don't have any of those problems & I can drink on it fine. I'm at 400mg. But of course drinking on meds is a no no, so I don't endorse it.

Therapeutic is at about 100mg. You can feel the effects on 25/50 sometimes, but it's the 100 where it really starts to kick in.

As for THE rash, it's very uncommon. Lamictal can give you a normal rash that freaks people out, but it's rarely the bad one. Anyway, you just need to titrate the way it tells you to & go to a doc if you get a rash just in case. Once you hit 100mg and you haven't gotten a rash, you're pretty much safe.

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Drinking one's first few days on any new psych med is rarely a good idea, especially if you were having side effects to start with.

Just thought I'd reiterate that.

ONCE you stabilize on it (and, with the titration, we are talking a few months) you may be able to handle a glass of wine or two just fine. Can you hold off that long? Because lamictal is officially a Good Drug.

Hell, I don't drink anyway, but if I could have my choice of lamictal or ETOH (I can have neither, alcoholic and SJS survivor) I would pick lamictal any day of the week....

Anna

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I'm on it and able to drink...but if being on it came at the price of giving up alcohol, I'd do it. Because it's gotten me out of one absolutely hellacious depression. Nasty crap symptoms went away.

Give it some time...I started feeling small effects for a few days at 50 mg, which then faded until I got to 100 mg. Once there, I felt a change for a longer period of time, but it still didn't last and dosage was raised to 150. Worked for even longer (like a week and a half) at 150 and then symptoms re-emerged until 200 mg. Was stable on that dose for months. Situational stuff changed and I bumped it to 250 recently. So for me the therapeutic dose is 200-250, depending on life. But I have heard of people doing well at 100 and 150.

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