Hey all -
I've been on Lamictal for about 8 months (bipolar) and I titrated up to 200mg, except during the jump from 150-200mg I quit smoking cigarettes and marijuana at almost precisely the same time I upped the Lamictal dose.
I read in some medical literature that nicotine suppresses the effectiveness of Lamictal, and I can only speculate about the marijuana/Lamictal relationship.
So there I was thinking that I was taking 150mg, while smoking probably not so much. My body was probably absorbing/utilizing less that (quantitatively I do not know). From the dose jump, 150-200mg, I noticed a vast increase in the substantiality of side effects that Lamictal proposed upon me from the get-go. Light headedness, word-finding problems, difficultly reading/spelling, handwriting and math out the window, etc.
The worst side effect for me, a 28 year old male, has been oily skin. This is fairly trivial, I know, however small annoyances add up. What dawned on me is, our skin can project our internal health, so this raised a flag. Based on the knowledge I have about our hormonal system, and the necessary balances, I decided to do some digging. (So odd, as I am writing this I had a deja vu, and then another deja vu about having a deja vu; unrelated but odd!) I digress, after doing some research and reading forums and blogs online, I came to notice many women were experiencing issues in relation to their birth-control/Lamictal dosages. This was puzzling to me, then again not really.
I know that in some way Lamictal had to be affecting hormones in women, and if in women then why not in men? Finally, a touch of cognizance! After stumbling upon the potential connection between Lamictal and androgenic pathway changes, what did I discover?
Lamictal is, without question an AI, (no, not the scary machines destined to terminate all humanity as we know it) with a curtailment of scientific data to which such information might be illuminated and examined.
AI in this case equals Aromatase Inhibitor. Basically, it reduces serum estrogen/estradiol levels at the conversion point. This in turn leaves androgens such as testosterone, DHT (and many other hormones that coalesce through the androgen pathway) to be elevated, or worked out of balance in some form or another. Just as birth control is a synthetic estrogen, Lamictal has AI properties, now THIS explains something. Symptoms of fatigue, achiness, low libido, general sense of unwell-being? Yep, that’s a sign, for men, their estrogen and specific estradiols are tanked. There are also side effects from having too high of estrogen/estradiol, and for men they can amount from feeling like a 16 year old girl during her period, to “bitch tits”. Alas, oily skin isn’t the only factor here, moods have a huge tendency to fluctuate with altered hormones. (PMS, roid-rage)!
This is a study that points towards Lamictal, and other anticonvulsants to have AI properties. http://www.rbej.com/content/9/1/92
In conclusion, I believe that through my oily skin, I have discovered some serious health concerns that should not be overlooked when considering whether to choose Lamictal; not only pertaining to mental health, but potentially direct physical disservices that can put on at great risk. The same can be said about Lithium and the thyroid, and birth control in general.
I am not anti-medication, and I am not looking for an excuse to cease my Lamictal (although some days I think the side effects do me worse than my bipolar), nor am I interesting in swaying anyone opinions about their therapy choices. I do find it important to share, and so that’s why I posted this. I hope someone can benefit from reading this post.
Note: I intend to schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist to undergo blood testing for a full hormone panel, then update this thread with my findings. Then I can confirm, and to which degree, my speculations about the implications that Lamictal may have a way more profound affect on body chemistry then we are led to believe.