Lamotrigine (Page 9 of 14)

8.5 Geriatric Use

Clinical trials of lamotrigine for epilepsy and bipolar disorder did not include sufficient numbers of patients aged 65 years and older to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients or exhibit a different safety profile than that of younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

8.6 Hepatic Impairment

Experience in patients with hepatic impairment is limited. Based on a clinical pharmacology study in 24 subjects with mild, moderate, and severe liver impairment [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)], the following general recommendations can be made. No dosage adjustment is needed in patients with mild liver impairment. Initial, escalation, and maintenance doses should generally be reduced by approximately 25% in patients with moderate and severe liver impairment without ascites and 50% in patients with severe liver impairment with ascites. Escalation and maintenance doses may be adjusted according to clinical response [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.1)].

8.7 Renal Impairment

Lamotrigine is metabolized mainly by glucuronic acid conjugation, with the majority of the metabolites being recovered in the urine. In a small study comparing a single dose of lamotrigine in subjects with varying degrees of renal impairment with healthy volunteers, the plasma half-life of lamotrigine was approximately twice as long in the subjects with chronic renal failure [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)].

Initial doses of lamotrigine should be based on patients’ AED regimens; reduced maintenance doses may be effective for patients with significant renal impairment. Few patients with severe renal impairment have been evaluated during chronic treatment with lamotrigine. Because there is inadequate experience in this population, lamotrigine should be used with caution in these patients [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.1)].


10.1 Human Overdose Experience

Overdoses involving quantities up to 15 g have been reported for lamotrigine, some of which have been fatal. Overdose has resulted in ataxia, nystagmus, seizures (including tonic-clonic seizures), decreased level of consciousness, coma, and intraventricular conduction delay.

10.2 Management of Overdose

There are no specific antidotes for lamotrigine. Following a suspected overdose, hospitalization of the patient is advised. General supportive care is indicated, including frequent monitoring of vital signs and close observation of the patient. If indicated, emesis should be induced; usual precautions should be taken to protect the airway. It should be kept in mind that immediate-release lamotrigine is rapidly absorbed [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)]. It is uncertain whether hemodialysis is an effective means of removing lamotrigine from the blood. In 6 renal failure patients, about 20% of the amount of lamotrigine in the body was removed by hemodialysis during a 4-hour session. A Poison Control Center should be contacted for information on the management of overdosage of lamotrigine.


Lamotrigine, an AED of the phenyltriazine class, is chemically unrelated to existing AEDs. Lamotrigine’s chemical name is 3,5-diamino-6-(2,3-dichlorophenyl)- as -triazine, its molecular formula is C 9 H 7 N 5 Cl 2 , and its molecular weight is 256.09. Lamotrigine, USP is a white to pale cream-colored powder and has a pK a of 5.7. Lamotrigine is very slightly soluble in water (0.17 mg/mL at 25°C) and slightly soluble in 0.1 M HCl (4.1 mg/mL at 25°C). The structural formula is:

Structured formula for Lamotrigine

Each lamotrigine tablet, USP intended for oral administration contains 25 mg or 50 mg or 100 mg or 150 mg or 200 mg or 250 mg of lamotrigine. In addition, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone and sodium starch glycolate.

Each lamotrigine tablets for oral suspension, USP intended for oral administration contains 5 mg or 25 mg of lamotrigine. In addition, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: aspartame, croscarmellose sodium, flavour black currant, magnesium stearate, mannitol, microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide and tribasic calcium phosphate.

Lamotrigine tablets, USP comply with USP Dissolution Test 3.

Lamotrigine Tablets for Oral Suspension, USP comply with Organic Impurities Procedure 2.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

The precise mechanism(s) by which lamotrigine exerts its anticonvulsant action are unknown. In animal models designed to detect anticonvulsant activity, lamotrigine was effective in preventing seizure spread in the maximum electroshock (MES) and pentylenetetrazol (scMet) tests, and prevented seizures in the visually and electrically evoked after-discharge (EEAD) tests for antiepileptic activity. Lamotrigine also displayed inhibitory properties in the kindling model in rats both during kindling development and in the fully kindled state. The relevance of these models to human epilepsy, however, is not known.

One proposed mechanism of action of lamotrigine, the relevance of which remains to be established in humans, involves an effect on sodium channels. In vitro pharmacological studies suggest that lamotrigine inhibits voltage-sensitive sodium channels, thereby stabilizing neuronal membranes and consequently modulating presynaptic transmitter release of excitatory amino acids (e.g., glutamate and aspartate).

Effect of Lamotrigine on N-Methyl d-Aspartate-Receptor Mediated Activity

Lamotrigine did not inhibit N-methyl d-aspartate (NMDA)-induced depolarizations in rat cortical slices or NMDA-induced cyclic GMP formation in immature rat cerebellum, nor did lamotrigine displace compounds that are either competitive or noncompetitive ligands at this glutamate receptor complex (CNQX, CGS, TCHP). The IC 50 for lamotrigine effects on NMDA-induced currents (in the presence of 3 μM of glycine) in cultured hippocampal neurons exceeded 100 μM.

The mechanisms by which lamotrigine exerts its therapeutic action in bipolar disorder have not been established.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Folate Metabolism

In vitro , lamotrigine inhibited dihydrofolate reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes the reduction of dihydrofolate to tetrahydrofolate. Inhibition of this enzyme may interfere with the biosynthesis of nucleic acids and proteins. When oral daily doses of lamotrigine were given to pregnant rats during organogenesis, fetal, placental, and maternal folate concentrations were reduced. Significantly reduced concentrations of folate are associated with teratogenesis [see Use in Specific Populations ( 8.1)]. Folate concentrations were also reduced in male rats given repeated oral doses of lamotrigine. Reduced concentrations were partially returned to normal when supplemented with folinic acid.

Cardiac Electrophysiology

Effect of Lamotrigine: In vitro studies show that lamotrigine exhibits Class IB antiarrhythmic activity at therapeutically relevant concentrations. It inhibits human cardiac sodium channels with rapid onset and offset kinetics and strong voltage dependence, consistent with other Class IB antiarrhythmic agents. Lamotrigine did not slow ventricular conduction (widen QRS) in healthy individuals in a thorough QT study; however, it could slow ventricular conduction and increase the risk of arrhythmia in patients with structural heart disease or myocardial ischemia. Elevated heart rates could also increase the risk of ventricular conduction slowing with lamotrigine.

Effect of Lamotrigine Metabolite: In dogs, lamotrigine is extensively metabolized to a 2-N-methyl metabolite. This metabolite causes dose-dependent prolongation of the PR interval, widening of the QRS complex, and, at higher doses, complete AV conduction block. The in vitro electrophysiological effects of this metabolite have not been studied. Similar cardiovascular effects from this metabolite are not anticipated in humans because only trace amounts of the 2-N-methyl metabolite (<0.6% of lamotrigine dose) have been found in human urine [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)]. However, it is conceivable that plasma concentrations of this metabolite could be increased in patients with a reduced capacity to glucuronidate lamotrigine (e.g., in patients with liver disease, patients taking concomitant medications that inhibit glucuronidation).

Accumulation in Kidneys

Lamotrigine accumulated in the kidney of the male rat, causing chronic progressive nephrosis, necrosis, and mineralization. These findings are attributed to α-2 microglobulin, a species- and sex-specific protein that has not been detected in humans or other animal species.

Melanin Binding

Lamotrigine binds to melanin-containing tissues, e.g., in the eye and pigmented skin. It has been found in the uveal tract up to 52 weeks after a single dose in rodents.

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