Abilfy and Lamictal Side Effect: Akathisia

I’ve been on both Abilify and Lamictal. Abilify if an antipsychotic used to treat psychotic bipolar symptoms as well as mania. Lamictal is a ‘mood stabilizer’ that’s actually an anticonvulsant drug used to treat bipolar depression. It’s not a drug used to manage mania. But, it does help people with rapid cycling.

Abilify is an atypical antipsychotic along with Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa. Atypical means the drugs are newer and have less side effects than the older ‘dirty’ drugs such as Thorazine and and Haldol.

I’m having some tough side effects with my Lamictal tonight and they remind me of what my friend Sherri went through when she was on Abilify.

We both had restlessness, leg pain, an uncomfortable body and trouble sleeping. This is called Akathisia. Technically it’s an inability to sit down. Abilify is known to have this as a side effect, whereas my Lamictal problems tend to be from not having enough [ Read More ]

Reader Question: Lamictal doses

Hi Julie,

You’ve mentioned taking Lamictal at 500mg a day a couple of times in your blog. Recently my psychiatrist has increase my dosage of Lamictal from 200mg to 300 mg and lately 400mg.The depression and anxiety are still taking a toll. I was wondering what type of relief you get from your dosage of Lamictal.

Does it take away the depression and anxiety or does it just keep it at a manageable level? I’ve been on the 400mg for a week now and the depression and anxiety are worse than ever. I’m facing going out on disability for awhile and I’m hoping its only going to be a couple weeks [ Read More ]

Reader Question: Lamictal dosage (lamotrigine)

I just received the following question from Janine:


I was just prescribed Lamictal and doing a little research it seems most people are starting on 25 mg and slowly increasing. I have just started today…100mg a day for a week, and then I bump up to 200mg next week. Is this too much too soon?


Hi Janine,

My coauthor Dr. John Preston as well as many of my doctor friends say that medication dosing is a fine science. For many, it’s a shot in the dark when you start. There are definitely guidelines as to what drugs to use and at what dose, but so much depends on you and your background. Are you on any other drugs? Have you had trouble with drugs? Do you have more mania than depression? [ Read More ]

Medication Side Effects: Stomach Problems

Did you know that there is Serotonin in our stomachs? It has the second highest concentration of the neurotransmitter after our brains.

This is why SSRI drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft and many others can cause stomach problems. As my coauthor Dr. John Preston says, “There’s no way to harpoon a drug straight to the neurotransmitters in your brain. They have to go through the whole body which is why they cause so many side effects.”

I remember being so sick I couldn’t work. I was always in the bathroom. That may be more than you want to know about me! but it’s important to know that you’re not alone if drugs are making your stomach rumble.

Side effects can include nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, bloated stomach, acid reflux, etc. etc.


Here are some tips on keeping your stomach happy:

1. First of all, talk with your doctor if things are really bad. [ Read More ]

Lamictal Side Effects: Reader Question


Here is a great question from Dana regarding medications.

Hi Julie,

I’m on the Lamictal starter pack and still taking 25 mg a day. I’ve been increasingly manic, irritable and aggressive. I have no tolerance for other people and haven’t been able to attend school. Is this normal? Will it be better at 100mg?



Hi Dana,

First of all, it’s great that you’re aware of what’s going on. Sometimes side effects happen so subtly that people stay in a state of physical and mental agitation before they realize what’s happening.

Lamictal, like all drugs works in different doses for different people. For example, my mother gets a lot of help from 75mg and I’m on 500mg. If she goes above 75mg she gets the jaw clenching that comes with the drug. If I go under 500mg I get pretty bad withdrawal symptoms including bad twitching and super bad leg pain.

Your health [ Read More ]

I missed a dose of my Lamictal… again!

I can’t believe that this keeps happening to me. I have my medications box and I know to take my meds – I take Lamictal- every morning and every night. And yet I sometimes forgot. My mom says I need a checklist right next to the sink or something like that. Lamictal, lamictal bipolar, Lamictal generic, side effects Lamictal, rash Lamictal, Lamictal mania, does Lamictal help bipolar disorder [ Read More ]

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