Is lamictal effective for depression+anxiety?
February 27, 2014 7:43 AM   Subscribe

My psych just prescribed me Lamictal for my anxiety/depression. I am not bipolar (at least I don't think I am). She explained that lamictal is used off-label for many different purposes, and as I didn't like the side effects from SSRIs/Wellbutrin Lamictal might do the trick. I'd love to hear personal anecdotes regarding Lamictal - did it whether it work for your anxiety/depression? I am also on Buspar.
posted by CottonCandyCapers to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Anecdote only, but my ex tried literally every one of the meds you just listed (apparently for depression and anxiety) and lamictal was the one that made a real and drastic positive difference in our relationship - from an outside observer, the hugest result was that while on it we were able to have calm discussions about fairly touchy relationship issues without him freaking out, lashing out, shifting the subject to self-flagellating for hours, etcetera.

He was not diagnosed bipolar, though I wouldn't completely rule it out.
posted by celtalitha at 7:50 AM on February 27, 2014

I have bipolar II, which I see you probably do not, but I'm on Lamictal as well as Cymbalta and it helps keep me balanced, including keeping my anxiety in check. Good luck!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:17 AM on February 27, 2014

I used to take it. Worked great!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:18 AM on February 27, 2014

I take it for depression and it's been the single most effective prescription I've ever taken. It has been a life saver for me, no shit.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:22 AM on February 27, 2014

I had long term problems with depression and anxiety that never seemed to be helped by any of the standard anti-depressants alone. And I tried many. Currently using both Lamictal and Escalitopram (pretty much it's the same as Celexa, like sperose) and have never been as happy and stable over the long term since adolescence. I highly reccomend it.

The doc who prescribed it essentially diagnosed me with 'air quotes' bipolarII, so I would give it a try, and so it would be covered by my insurance. It works great for the depression and anxiety.
posted by k8oglyph at 8:23 AM on February 27, 2014

Thanks all. I would probably just be taking the lamictal solo, as the sexual side effects are what is keeping me off the SSRIs in the first place.
posted by CottonCandyCapers at 8:54 AM on February 27, 2014

It turned me into a moodless and utterly motivationless zombie. My wife tells me I just sat staring at the computer and refusing to do anything else for basically the entire time I was on the drug (not very long, obviously).

Psychiatric drugs are very much a YMMV phenomenon -- what works for me may not work at all for you, and vice-versa.
posted by ook at 10:02 AM on February 27, 2014

(Which is not to say that you shouldn't try Lamictal; clearly it does work for many people; that I wasn't one of them doesn't say anything about whether or not you will be.)
posted by ook at 10:06 AM on February 27, 2014

Lamictal did absolutely nothing for my anxiety or depression, but at least I didn't have any nasty side effects (generally doesn't have much, but can increase the chances of getting Stevens-Johnson syndrome at any time in the future). I have pretty extreme anxiety and depression and had no luck with any mood stabilizer, not even when taken with an SSRI or antiphychotic. But I am a special snowflake and have ended up on a strange little cocktail that probably shouldn't work and gets me funny looks from pharmacists.
posted by monopas at 12:46 PM on February 27, 2014

Like monopas, Lamictal did nothing whatsoever for my anxiety or depression. I also have not had any luck with a myriad of combinations of anti depressants, anti anxiety, and mood stabilizing meds.

A friend of mine broke out in horrible itchy hives on Lamictal - not Stevens-Johnson syndrome but it was pretty unpleasant. I think the only side effect I had involved some unwelcome changes to my menstrual cycle.
posted by sm1tten at 5:18 PM on February 27, 2014

Very late answer, but I am on Lamictal and Buspar for depression and anxiety as well (no bipolar here either). They're great. Lamictal is off-label for depression, as you know, and Buspar is known to help a smaller percentage of people than other anxiolytics. But after trying several SSRIs and Wellbutrin (seriously, are we the same person? Did Wellbutrin by chance give you hives?), this is exactly the combo that works for me.

But yes-- titrate up slooooowly, and watch for The Rash. I've never had any problems with or side effects from Lamictal whatsoever. Not a single one. But The Rash is a thing to be mindful of.

I don't know, I love the stuff. I did need to add the Buspar on later to manage my anxiety more effectively, but the two together seem to do very well for me.
posted by Because at 11:11 PM on March 2, 2014

How did it work out for you?
posted by Raichle at 11:15 AM on June 10, 2014

It worked GREAT! Thanks to Lamictal, I'm now (relatively) stable. I'm currently at 150mg.
posted by CottonCandyCapers at 10:17 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

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