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Memory Loss & Lamictal

Hi everyone.
I'm Kat, I've been active on this board for a while but mostly in the Women With Epilepsy forum. I was going to post this in there but I feel like it should be more open to everyone since it's not focusing on women only issues.

Since starting Lamictal almost two years ago, I have noticed some fluctuations with my mood as well as my ability to concentrate, that showed mostly as I got up in the dosage. I started at 25mg like most patients and eased my way up to my current 250mg BID (twice a day) dosage. I did the escalation slow as recommended & did not experience any obvious side effects. However, as I've gotten more into my medication routine with it, I have noticed that my moods seem to fluctuate (just a little bit, but still noticeable) and I know that Lamictal is also used to manage bipolar disorder. I am currently in the process of switching doctors so I've been waiting to talk to my new doctor about these issues. I don't have the best relationship with my current doctor & feel as if he doesn't listen so I don't see the point in even bringing it up. In fact, I believe I brought it up to him in the past but to no avail. His answer for everything is either "that's normal but not worrysome" or "lets increase the dose & call me in a week".

To run through what I've noticed, the main thing is that I have a hard time handling a day regimen that requires me to multitask. This presents a lot of problems because I have a very busy life with working, managing my home due to my boyfriend being away a lot for his work, taking care of a new puppy practically by myself & being a college student, about to enter a very heavily crowded schedule. I have taken on two jobs in the fall after school starts & even though I have an optimistic look to it, I know from my past that my memory lapses cause a lot of problem. For example, I missed the deadlines for several things involving school that will make my semester hard such as missing the deadline for a grant that would be very helpful & missing the date to order the main campus parking permit & having to get one that's much more difficult to deal with.

I've always been a little scatterbrained but it seems much worse lately. Sometimes someone can tell me something & in just fifteen minutes, I forget what they said. This causes a lot of frustration with everyone around me & makes me feel incompetent. I'm not entirely sure it's just the medication but in my heart, I feel like it has something to do with it.

Does anyone else that's on Lamictal (I take the generic lamotragine) experience similar problems? If so, how much does it affect your life & how much is your current dosage?

I appreciate any feedback.
Thanks guys!

Comments

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I also take Lamotragine and I have a lot of problems with my memory. I have been on Lamotragine for about 6 years and I take 900 mg / day, (300 mg 3 x a day). I am 26 and feel like I'm 80 sometimes.  I can sometimes forget something that someone tells me 10 minutes after they say it. I feel sometimes like I ask the same questions over and over cause I can't remember if I asked it already... I could go to a certian place a dozen times and still have to ask my husband for directions on how to get there. I do forget dates for dr appt. and hair cuts, things like that, so I have to use an alarm reminder in my cell phone. I can certainly tell a defferance in the way I think now and the way I did before all this medication. I also take Topamax 300 mg/day. When I sit down to concentration on something, I just feel cloudy and it is hard. It takes me a lot longer to think about things and make decisions. Another thing that I have started to notice is that every now and then I say the wrong word in a sentence when I'm talking then have to correct myself. For example if I'm walking out to the car with someone I'll say "Lets get in the can .... I mean car" It sounds silly but I do it sometimes and it makes me feel stupid. So I know how you feel because I also feel incompetent sometimes. I feel like it is my medication playing a big role.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

It's so comforting to hear your experience because it's just been recently that I've considered the medication causing problems like this for me. I kept blaming memory problems on my lack of organization, etc but then I got thinking about how I was before I was on Lamotragine. I can relate to feeling like your 80, I'm 26 as well & find myself forgetting things so fast. I tell people stories that I forget that I told them already, or even tell someone something & find out THEY were the ones that told ME in the first place! And the same thing with directions, I've asked a thousand times for them & always need more. I haven't experienced problems like you mentioned with the word mixups, but I will say that I often feel mixed up.

Have you talked to your neurologist about it? If so, did they tell you that Lamictal can cause that?

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I know what you mean. I sometimes think that I am being obnoxious because I ask or say something more than once. My husband and family understand but I get self conscious around people I don't know. I have mentioned it to my neurologist and he told me that it could be a side effect, as well as trouble concentrating and tiredness. He told me that for my specific situation the side effects did not out weigh the risk of me having more siezures. The combination of the lamictal and topamax were controlling me pretty well. Other meds have not helped me as well in the past. He just recently up my dose of Lamotrigene from 600 mg/ day to 900 mg / day cause I started having breakthrough seizures. Ever since he uped the dose was when I started with the word mixup things. That doesn't happen all the time, but at least a couple times a day. So anyways, yes I have talked to him and I am talking to a specialist in October to discuss a temporal lobectomy to remove the scar tissue. It would be awesome to be seizure free and possibly medication free someday.

 

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I've been on tegretol 200mg/600mg for about 6 years.  It causes the exact same problem.  I forgot my whole life.  My childhood memories, gone.  My teenager memories, almost completely gone.  I can't function at all, I can't remember how to properly handle a conversation.  I've lost all my friends.   And believe it or not I'm currently transitioning to lamictal and thinking it will be better.  When i read all of your posts i just think to myself : "HAHA".  Right.  Of COURSE it will get better........ *sigh*.   One of you said you will stop medication and deal with the seizures.   Without medication i have 35 to 50 seizures per day. ..  How can i deal with that?

 The memory loss comes from the seizures destroying the brain??? Give me a break!  That is absolutely not true.  I spent 5 years with seizures because i had been misdiagnosed as Tourettes (talk about a retarded  neurologist).  I had zero memory problems back then.  They started when I got on the medication.

 Anyways.  I'm now in the process of reassuring myself that it will be okay. I will spend my life as a dumb, slow, forgetful person, quite often perceived as retarded, since people cannot understand what we are going through every. single. day.  How could they?

I have a question for you guys.  Has any of you known or lived to tell the story about if memory comes back once you're off medication?  I think i read somewhere that it doesnt...  oh well..

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I'm sorry I am coming in late on this conversation but I do take Lamictal 300mg/day but before I comment I had a few questions. I am new to the site so I don't know all of the details yet.

 I was in a motor vehicle accident 3 years ago and had a temporal lobe brain injury. I am left with complex partial seizures. So I have not dealt with this my whole life. I am so sorry for those of you who have. It is awful. I am on more than one seizure medicine is everyone else too? I have more to comment but I wanted to make sure I wasn't in the wrong forum before I did.

 Thank you!!

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

hey jacind, you've come to the right place, its always good to hear that you are not alone. I always read every comment related to Lamictal. I have CP siezures also and Lamictal is the 4th drug I've tried. A couple of them I've tried together and with varying doses.  Currently, im on 500 mg/day of Lamictal. My memory stinks, my concenetration stinks, basicallly all the same symptoms that everyone complains about with Lamictal. I read someone who described it as "Lamictal Stupid" lol, pretty much describes it for me. Good Luck to you, keep the faith.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Sorry if you've read this elsewhere - I'm reposting here as this appears to be a newer thread:

 

I've been tearing myself to
pieces over this of late and to find this post has been a bit of a
revelation. So much so, I had to register and participte. My issues are
thus (this might waffle on a bit...):

I'm on Lamotrogine 2x200mg
per day, and have been for around 12 years. I'm a 42 year old male. I
developed photosensitive epilepsy when I was a toddler, the cause being
put down as being a bad reaction to a whooping cough injection. I went
through my formative years, probably up to my mid teens, having
grand-mal seizures, mainly due to teenage angst circled around my lack
of respect for my medication; they were real thrashers - my body ached
for days afterwards. My medical history during this time was very well
documented due to my regular tests, EEGs and such (no brain scans,
though) and oputpatients visits.

Then things calmed down and the
medication was on top of it all without incident. I was able to work
proficiently, I was passed fit to drive and was able to live a normal
life. In 2002, I woke up one morning and couldn't remember a thing about
the day before - it had been my eldest child's sports day, which was a
hot, sunny day and I wasn't wearing a hat; it was presumed to be a mild
case of sunstroke and I carried on about my day. Sure enough, as the day
progressed, I started to remember more as I was reminded about it. This
was about a year after being transferred to Lamotrogine. Previously I
had been on Epilim (1000mg per day!), and before that, Epanutin (chalky,
chewable tablets - yuk!).

2 years previous to this, I moved
house - about 40 miles away. I still worked near where I previously
lived and, deciding that keeping continuity going was best policy, I
remained with my then-current GP and consultant. However, as time moved
on, it was deemed more convenient to move things to closer to where I
live now and I transferred.

Things seemed to move pretty quickly
under the new regime and very soon I was put in for a brainscan. The
result of that was pretty startling - I have a temporal lobe arachnoid
cyst on the left side of my brain, and quite sizeable it is too! I'd
already started to experience patchy memory and concentration issues and
the location of the cyst (in an area of the brain that controls such
functions as logic and memory issues) seemed to - in my mind - put this
down as the root cause of my problems; thank God my work is mainly
creative!! (I'm a graphic designer). One thing that the new lot have
refused to do so far is refer to any previous medical records, but I
digress.

So that's my history, here's where I am now...

I'm
getting pretty close to being terminally frustrated about this
'condition'; With regards to my work, I have gone from being absolutely
brilliant at my job (and that's client's testiments, not my own) to
being pretty good at best and, at times, damn-near incompetent, although
I am in a position where, most of the time, I can cover up or rectify
any issues before it all goes tits-up! Sometimes I forget things
virtually as soon as they are said to me, other times not. Sometimes I
get on with a task only to get to a stage where it dawns on me that I
didn't complete it, as though somewhere along the line, I drifted off
onto something else without realising, only to find that what I WAS
doing is still sitting there waiting for me to finish it. If I'm on the
phone and there is any sort of background noise, I can't zone in on
either so I have to insist on complete silence whilst I try to
concentrate on what people are saying to me.

My job is very
important to me and, based on my previous efforts, I am very well
respected in what I do and am holding a position which, in reality, is
something that three people would struggle to do; I had never been
mentally average - for instance, I passed my English language exams at
school FOUR YEARS early and at the age of nine had a reading age of
NINETEEN.

I have been for cognitive testing twice in the past
three years and both times I was deemed to be mentally proficient - or
'average'. In my eyes, the tests were not real-world enough to deem me
anything other than 'average'. As a graphics man, looking at pictures is
something I'm supposed to take seriously, so matching up pairs isn't
the most taxing of exercises; I was read a story and it was about a man -
whose name I couldn't even remember - who ran a shop that was being
demolished to make space for a shopping centre. My work is
comprehensively connected to the retail sector and I know all about
these things, so answering questions on the subject was a doddle. I
explained this, but it wasn't deemed important... but again, that's
digression.

To end ('Thank God', I hear you utter), I'm in limbo.
Memory is a huge issue, concentration is a major concern and it's
causing me to be moody, sometimes angry and at times, so down that it's
troubling. And now, having read this post so far, I'm majorly convinced
that it's down to the meds. I shall be bringing it up at my next
appointment.

I'd like to know people's thoughts as to whether they
think that the above is relevant to them and, more importantly, as to
whether you think that Lamotrogine might be the demon I now think it is!

Thank you for your time!

Dazzer21 

 

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Wow! I hope this gets read...

I've been tearing myself to pieces over this of late and to find this post has been a bit of a revelation. So much so, I had to register and participte. My issues are thus (this might waffle on a bit...):

I'm on Lamotrogine 2x200mg per day, and have been for around 12 years. I'm a 42 year old male. I developed photosensitive epilepsy when I was a toddler, the cause being put down as being a bad reaction to a whooping cough injection. I went through my formative years, probably up to my mid teens, having grand-mal seizures, mainly due to teenage angst circled around my lack of respect for my medication; they were real thrashers - my body ached for days afterwards. My medical history during this time was very well documented due to my regular tests, EEGs and such (no brain scans, though) and oputpatients visits.

Then things calmed down and the medication was on top of it all without incident. I was able to work proficiently, I was passed fit to drive and was able to live a normal life. In 2002, I woke up one morning and couldn't remember a thing about the day before - it had been my eldest child's sports day, which was a hot, sunny day and I wasn't wearing a hat; it was presumed to be a mild case of sunstroke and I carried on about my day. Sure enough, as the day progressed, I started to remember more as I was reminded about it. This was about a year after being transferred to Lamotrogine. Previously I had been on Epilim (1000mg per day!), and before that, Epanutin (chalky, chewable tablets - yuk!).

2 years previous to this, I moved house - about 40 miles away. I still worked near where I previously lived and, deciding that keeping continuity going was best policy, I remained with my then-current GP and consultant. However, as time moved on, it was deemed more convenient to move things to closer to where I live now and I transferred.

Things seemed to move pretty quickly under the new regime and very soon I was put in for a brainscan. The result of that was pretty startling - I have a temporal lobe arachnoid cyst on the left side of my brain, and quite sizeable it is too! I'd already started to experience patchy memory and concentration issues and the location of the cyst (in an area of the brain that controls such functions as logic and memory issues) seemed to - in my mind - put this down as the root cause of my problems; thank God my work is mainly creative!! (I'm a graphic designer). One thing that the new lot have refused to do so far is refer to any previous medical records, but I digress.

So that's my history, here's where I am now...

I'm getting pretty close to being terminally frustrated about this 'condition'; With regards to my work, I have gone from being absolutely brilliant at my job (and that's client's testiments, not my own) to being pretty good at best and, at times, damn-near incompetent, although I am in a position where, most of the time, I can cover up or rectify any issues before it all goes tits-up! Sometimes I forget things virtually as soon as they are said to me, other times not. Sometimes I get on with a task only to get to a stage where it dawns on me that I didn't complete it, as though somewhere along the line, I drifted off onto something else without realising, only to find that what I WAS doing is still sitting there waiting for me to finish it. If I'm on the phone and there is any sort of background noise, I can't zone in on either so I have to insist on complete silence whilst I try to concentrate on what people are saying to me.

My job is very important to me and, based on my previous efforts, I am very well respected in what I do and am holding a position which, in reality, is something that three people would struggle to do; I had never been mentally average - for instance, I passed my English language exams at school FOUR YEARS early and at the age of nine had a reading age of NINETEEN.

I have been for cognitive testing twice in the past three years and both times I was deemed to be mentally proficient - or 'average'. In my eyes, the tests were not real-world enough to deem me anything other than 'average'. As a graphics man, looking at pictures is something I'm supposed to take seriously, so matching up pairs isn't the most taxing of exercises; I was read a story and it was about a man - whose name I couldn't even remember - who ran a shop that was being demolished to make space for a shopping centre. My work is comprehensively connected to the retail sector and I know all about these things, so answering questions on the subject was a doddle. I explained this, but it wasn't deemed important... but again, that's digression.

To end ('Thank God', I hear you utter), I'm in limbo. Memory is a huge issue, concentration is a major concern and it's causing me to be moody, sometimes angry and at times, so down that it's troubling. And now, having read this post so far, I'm majorly convinced that it's down to the meds. I shall be bringing it up at my next appointment.

I'd like to know people's thoughts as to whether they think that the above is relevant to them and, more importantly, as to whether you think that Lamotrogine might be the demon I now think it is!

Thank you for your time!

Dazzer21 

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Thank you for taking the time to sum up your history and the effects you have experienced from Lamictal. My side effects mirror yours and I take great pride in my job and it is someone's challenging to cover up the inadequacy caused by my medication.

Your post is over a year old. Did you change medications, if so, what has transpired?

Best of luck!
David

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Thank you for taking the time to sum up your history and the effects you have experienced from Lamictal. My side effects mirror yours and I take great pride in my job and it is someone's challenging to cover up the inadequacy caused by my medication.

Your post is over a year old. Did you change medications, if so, what has transpired?

Best of luck!
David

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Personally, the I've been on the Lamictal for a year at this point (200mg/day).  My side effects from that (in order of least disruptive to most):

1) Yawning - Virtually any time I'm talking out loud, my use of breath has me yawning almost constantly.  Pretty disruptive considering I work tech support in a call center.  I may wear out the mute button on my phone. 

2) My coordination is off now.  Used to be a skater-chick, ride a unicycle and have lots of fun balancing and walking on high and narrow things.  Now I'm lucky if I can round a corner without bumping into it with my chest or hips.  I can't wear white shirts or "nice" clothes anymore, because I have a good chance that I'm going to spill something on myself before the day is done.  My typing speed has been cut down to about a quarter of what it was (due to typos and having to look at the keyboard frequently now).  It's a miracle if I get through a sentence without using the backspace button.  On average I'm backspacing every other word.  What I intend to type and what my fingers do are not the same thing.

3) Severe memory/cognitive impairment - I had to make notes in order to type this up.  For reference sake (rather than bragging), throughout my life I've consistently been in the top 1% on universal IQ tests.  I'm a problem solver by nature. Having worked with the people in my department for 6 years, I'm now only able to recall about ten people's names reliably.  I have had to make myself a notebook listing what I need to do in my daily duties at work, giving myself step by step instructions because I won't know what to do on any given day.  I have to document all of my usernames/passwords in my notebook as well, because if I'm off work for even a week I will forget them entirely.  I've lost at least half of my vocabulary, and even that is being generous.  I struggle to remember simple words, or when I'm talking completely random wrong words will come out every few sentences.  If I get up from the couch to go to the kitchen, even odds I won't remember what I went for by the time I get there.  There is no way I can multi-task anymore.  It's hard enough keeping my mind to one task now.  At this point I fear for my job, and have been avoiding personal contact at work as much as possible so people don't notice my level of impairment.  My friends have to let me know that I've told them something repeatedly before.  Most of my life I've felt that my intellectual capacity was really all I had going for me, so losing it is devastating.

To be fair, Lamictal has stopped my seizures.  It's been great for that.  But it stops random short-circuits that cause seizures by depressing brain function in its entirety.  Everyone has different levels of cognitive suppression, so you may or may not experience any of the assorted side effects.  The key here is that if you start to have challenges braining, don't ask your doctor if you should stay on it.  Tell them you need to try a different medication.  Period.  

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

My poor response to Lamictal obviously isn't the same as everyone else experiences. When it comes to medication, you want to know the full gamut of what could happen so you know what to expect. I'm in the process of getting off of the Lamictal. I would much rather deal with the seizures and perform better in every other aspect of my life.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Was on Lamictal (250mg 2x/day)for 10 years before I went on to Keppra. Worst side effects were balance - if I took my doses too close I fell flat on my face! Head spun dizzy. Got seriously regulated with times as a result. I also suffered mood swings and memory damage but have been assured that it was the seizures themselves that erased a lot of my memory bank. Now switched to new drugs over a year ago and STILL I have mood swings and memory problems so obviously not totally Lamictal based after all. I don't fall over anymore though :)

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I have such a bad memory from (generic) Lamictal that I have post-its everywhere but my forehead!

Phylis Feiner Johnson
www.epilepsytalk.com

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Strange but I'm noticing the date this was posted which was the day after my birthday LAST YEAR! Problem is it just showed up on my email today Feb.16,2012 Anyway to answer your question I've been on Lamictal since I was 12 and I'll be 38 this year. Through out the years there have been mood changes but memory loss that is a tuff one because 1. I had surgery at the age of 17 on my left tempro lobe which improved my seizures (petite mal)  I now have auras. The problem that was left is my memory went back yup instead of remember what happened yesterday I can tell you what happened two weeks ago. Before surgery I was clueless. 2. My memory has been getting worse but I was told I needed a secound surgery because a bit was left behind since I was awake durning the surgery IT WASN'T EASY... 3. Lamictal is the only medication that seems to work well with Topomax that joined in when I was about 20 or 21

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Ok, I'm scared now. I am just starting Lamictal just like all of you did. I am not yet having any of the side effects you speak of but then again I already have all of these side effects from the meds I have been taking prior to starting Lamictal. I am currently of 800 mgs per day of Topamax (Dopemax) which for the last 4 years has removed my memory of events that have happened in the last 4 years, my ability to concentrate and has made me extremely stupid; 2000 mgs per day of Keppra which makes me tired, out of breath and off balance PLUS I have a VNS implant that was install 6/2010 and I still have regular seizures. I will be 50 years old next month and in 2006 epilespy reared its ugly head when it had not been seen or heard from in 34 years. I had 3 seizures at the age of 11 and I have not been on any medication since I was 13 years old. I supposedly had grown out of this decease. In 2007 I lost my job, my drivers' license and had to go on disability. Then my husband divorced me and my grown children de-mothered me due to their ignorance of the effects and mood swings of this decease/medication.  If I sound a bit hostile, you are probably right! Epilepsy has ruined much of my life, but I am tough and at this point I just need the seizures to STOP so I can get my license back, go back to work and move on with my life. I was hoping the Lamictal was going to be the last medication needed (as I have hope for every medication) but if it does not do that or the side effects are too great, than I will enroll myself in a drug research program and become a guinea pig to find the right drug or resort to brain surgery, if I can talk the insurance company into paying for it. If you gain nothing from this entry, please take this with you. DO NOT TAKE TOPAMAX!! It will frustrate you to no end when you cannot think of the smallest, easiest things you want to say or the name of people you have known for years. God bless to all.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

There are other alternative medication just ask your doctor. I have been on tegretol and lamotrigine for about 7 to 8 years. They are great =D

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

My 8 1/2 year old son was placed on Lamictal (lamotrogrine) over one year ago with his Depakote.  His dose is 50 mg. Bid.  Since being on the Lamictal, his focus and concentration in school have significantly diminished and his short term memory and reading comprehension is very poor.  In fact, his kindergarten teacher is now tutoring him and she cannot believe how much he has regressed (probably due to his medications).  He is in the third grade now.

 He never had any signs or symptoms of ADD - after starting the Lamictal, he has all the classic symptoms of ADD.  So as of nearly 6 weeks ago, he began taking Concerta ER (18 mg first and now 27 mg. daily).  His focus and concentration have improved and we continue to work on his reading and memory skills.

 His teachers agree they see progress since he began taking the Concerta ER but it's only a first step.  I believe the antiseizure medications stop the seizures but can slow the brain processing.  I've done the research and even sent a University of Georgia study to my son's neurologist.

 Good luck!

 

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

My memory problems weren't that bad until I started taking Lamictal. I was on Dilantin for years until an ER Dr put me on Lamictal after being taken to the ER after a seizure at work. I'm now tapering off Dilantin after RTL surgery on May5, 2011. I've had a few seizures since surgery but am doing much better.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Thank you so much for posting this.  I thought I was going into early senility.  I am the memory bank for my family.  I have to remember everything like bills with the due date and amounts, grocery items, dates for important events and so forth.  I noticed I can't remember things.  It was getting really annoying not ony to my family, but myself included.  It is so frustrating.  I started this medication at 100mg and have been on it for 3 months now.  It is helping with the seizures (along with Gabapentin), so I would hate to be off it.  At least I know it's not just me.

 A thousand times, thank you!!

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I just set up an account in this website and it has been an incredible relief knowing that I'm not alone. I should have explored sites like this many years ago to provide others support and to find out what is out there to improve my quality of life!

I have been on 400mg of lamictal for over ten years and on 400mg of lamictal XR since January 2012. My memory loss and ability to concentrate are terrible during peak periods each day and my memory loss over the years is disturbing because I forget important events and vacations. I'm a financial analyst that juggles meetings and infinite number crunching. My days are extremely challenging, picking up assignments during meeting are a challenge to remember and to assimilate because of my absent concentration. It has been a severe suffering for many years and it is difficult coping because without the medication I'm extremely sharp. I'll provide more detail when I get more time this evening. Thx

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Thank you for responding, I'm glad that you feel a relief knowing you aren't alone. That's what things like this are for & I'm very glad that someone can read what I write & feel better. What peak periods do you go through? Is it worse during the same time everyday? If so, when is that? I never really heard about that cyclic affect, but that's very interesting. It is very difficult, I know, and its something that has affected my career choices along with several other things. But yes, please do keep me updated!

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Excuse my delayed reply.

I take 200mg at 4pm and 200mg of lamictal xr at 3am daily. My prescription was to take 400mg, at one time, when going to bed, but my sleep was being compromised and seizures were likely to follow. The peak period seems to follow about 6 hours after taking the dose. By taking it at 3am it's peeking when I'm arriving at the office. By taking it at 4pm its beginning to drop when I go to bed at 9-11pm daily. When it's peeking my concentration is foggy, my memory and ability to speak during meetings compromised --- but not to the point of others noticing. it's a suffering I personally go through every day.

I decided to split the dose into two when first going onto the lamictal "xr", because sieziure symptoms were surfacing and I found sleeping improved when I split them.

However, During the last couple of days work stress mounted, I started taking omega fish tablets a week ago (that I read about in here), my sleep has been thrown off and I've had a total of 3 seizureswhen sleeping during the last 5 days. I'm staying home today to de-stress and sleep --- and get back on track.

Sometimes I wonder if there is another medication out there that can eliminate seizures all together and not compromise my normal function. That's why I started researching and came across this website. Do you recommend any medication? Let's stay in touch. Thx

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I also have a memory problem while on Lamotrigrine. I take 400mg/day, 200mg AM, 200 mg PM. I have noticed short term memory loss, but always had this problem before my seizure disorder. I acquired seizure disorder after a brain surgery to address an aneurysm. I was on Tegretol, Dilantin, Trileptal and Keppra. All of these drugs caused significant loss in cognitive function. Lamotrigrine has worked the best, enabling me to have good cognitive function. I tend to have interrupted sleep, awaking between 3-5 in the AM, regularly. I forget little things, like where I placed my keys or sunglasses. Also, things like appointments, paying bills or dates. My wife encourages me to document important events on my iPhone calendar, but I often forget to do this, as well. I have been depressed often due to PTSD acquired during a series of near death experiences, divorce, death of a parent and loss of a job in 4 months of 2008. I had talk therapy for 3 1/2 years, but ceased when my neurologist advised that this type of therapy w/b ineffective, even worsening the depression. He recommended depression drugs, but the declined due to the side effects. Lamotrigine has probably kept me from deeper depression and harm to myself or others. All in all, the memory losses are less a problem then seizures or deeper depression. The brain surgery was in my right frontal lobe and has resulted in emotional flatness and an inability to express the sad and happy feelings we all take for granted(inability to cry or be positive). I am certain the lamotrigine helps, although the repressed emotions feels like high pressure liquid in a sealed tank without a pressure relief valve.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Hello! A second question for you today. Do you use any other websites, like this one, that give you valuable information and interaction with fellow people with epilepsy?

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

No thank YOU Mytigodess, I am totally humbled when I find out that what I'm feeling is actually felt by so many others, it's easy to feel like you're all alone. It's something we all go through with this, we wonder if it's just us, if it's our seizures..but a lot of the times I forget to think about the fact that it might be the medication, not just me or the epilepsy. The problem with me is that I continue to have seizures nightly despite being on the meds, so is it even worth it for me to deal with these possible side affects? It affects everything. But I'm glad that you found this & feel good from it! It's always important to remember you aren't alone! 

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Kat.

I have to raise my hand and admit to such symptoms. Right now, I'm on
about 500 mg of Lamotrigine. 200 mg pills--1 in the morning and 1 1/2 in the
afternoon. I'm also on 200 of topamax, 2 doses of 100. I'm also on 20 mg
Adderall.

I can't compare myself to who I was before epilepsy. Right now, I have a
very good memory for events. If I am engaged in an activity with someone I can
really fix that moment into my mind. A conversation in a gallery or a coffee
shop will last forever! I might even remember your shirt. However, I still
can’t remember the names of some of my co-workers.

I have a few of those, "Why did I come in here," moments.  If I have forgotten what I'm going to
say or can't remember the right word, I will make a joke. I laugh and say,
"I'm on brain medication," or "I have a brain
condition".  I do try to laugh because what else can you do? I don’t
remember being this clumsy, before. It seems I just miscalculate the distance
and "whack” into things. I have bruises everywhere.

I was first put on Keppra. That was horrible. I was always tired and
depressed. When I switched, a positive change was noticed. The Lamictal gives
me an energy boost. I take it in the afternoon to avoid the night owl effect. Maybe
there is something better for me, but better the devil you know.

 

 

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I think that with me I am always thirsty and subsequently the extra fluids do what they  normally do...flush !

Kepps me active and on the "go" though

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Yes i can definitely relate.. Ive had Epilepsy since the tender age of 7. I am 23 now. I have only taken 3 different medications for my seizures(Zarontin,Lamictal and Depakote),Lamictal as of the past 7 years.. I honestly have horrible memory.. I have failed tests in college due to the medicine. Even after im up for 4 or 5 hours at a time studying. Someone can tell me something and I totally forget 5 to 10 mins later.. I hate it... I have trouble completing household tasks and chores because i seem to misplace a lot of things.. I misplace things i need everyday like my wallet,keys,shoes,hair products etc. My seizures are so frequent that i cant even getmy license.. that on top of memory loss takes a toll on me.. My doctor would always tell me ''thats normal'' or '' do you want to up the dosage''.. I dont know what I can do. Its getting to the point where i forget names of people places and things..

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I have also experienced memory loss most likely with Lamictal as this was my most recent medicine change. It seems to affect long term and short term memory equally. I was started out at 200 mg by my psychiatrist when Tegretol was playing kickball with my liver, so to speak. And when I recently developed epilepsy my neurologist upped it to 400 mg. In both cases, I did not have a gradual increase. And I thought it peculiar when my neurologist said to her nurse to up my Lamictal to 400 mg, she said to the nurse "It can't hurt." Since then I have gradually had a worsening of tension headaches because I can rub my neck and gain some relief. I now have monstrous headaches and no Ibuoprofen or neck rubbing do any good. Is this a symptom of Lamictal?

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Is Lamictal your only AED?  Is it possible to be sure this is causing the memory loss?  I'm under the care of one of the top epileptologists in the U.S.  I take the max dose of 4 AEDs without feeling 'tipsy'.  I still cant completley control my seizures!  I'm experiencing memory loss as well.  It's frustrating and embarrassing.  How can anyone who takes a multitude of AEDs know if any are causing the memory loss or an AED interatction?  Could it be because of the 'electrical pathways' the brain makes with each seizure, making the body more prone to having even more seizures?  A combination of all?  I take 700 mg of Lamictal every day.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Is Lamictal your only AED?  Is it possible to be sure this is causing the memory loss?  I'm under the care of one of the top epileptologists in the U.S.  I take the max dose of 4 AEDs without feeling 'tipsy'.  I still cant completley control my seizures!  I'm experiencing memory loss as well.  It's frustrating and embarrassing.  How can anyone who takes a multitude of AEDs know if any are causing the memory loss or an AED interatction?  Could it be because of the 'electrical pathways' the brain makes with each seizure, making the body more prone to having even more seizures?  A combination of all?  I take 700 mg of Lamictal every day.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Hello. I've been on Lamictal for years now. (100mg BID) I had a rash once but it was just one time in highschool. Never had it again. But i did notice that I would often forget something. Just simply things like i forgot where i put my pen when i knew i was holding it a few minuets ago. But when I see it, i suddenly remembered i did put it there. Another, i was supposed to tell someone something, but then I would forget what is it. Sometimes, I walked in a room and forget why i went there.

At first i thought this is the fist sign of Alzheimer's disease, that i'm doomed to have 1 in the future. Now i think it's because of lamictal. I dont know if this will lead to Alzheimer's though.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I have the same concerns as it relates to memory loss (side effect of the Lamictal), and whether or not it will ultimately lead to dementia.  I asked my Neurologist this question, and she stated that no studies have been done, that would support that the memory loss, due to the Lamictal  would lead to dementia. 

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

My daughter is 14, has been on Lamotrigene for just over a year. Her current dose is 600mg a day (seizures are still not controlled). She has also started having memory issues. She can't remember things we've done, and has lots of "blonde" moments. At first I thought it was a normal teenage thing, but it has progressed. Scary all of this stuff that messes with our brains. The neuro wants to start her on Keppra now too. Best of luck to you.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I am new to this website and this forum.  Reading all of your posts and comments is scary.  My daughter has been on 800 mg of Lamictal for about 4-5 years.  400 in am and 400 in pm.  She has had all these symptoms you guys are talking about.  I was reading through them and saying to myself, "Oh my God".  We dont know what to do either.  She is 23 and trying to go to school and failing tests, forgetting stuff, cant drive......You know the drill.  Very frustrating for all of us.  Hang in there, all of you!

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

My daily lamictalXR dosage is 400 mg! Much lower than your daughter's, and I have a loss of memory and absent concentration. The absent concentration is more pronounced about 4 hours after each dose, my second problem with lamictal is sleeping. I split my
Lamictal dose into two because the 400 mg at night didn't allow me to sleep well. Is there a medication she would recommend? Failing tests was a problem for me in college while taking tegretal ... Extremely frustrating! Good luck to her!

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I have been on lamictal for a year now after a horrid time on topramax and keppra wasnt much better. I feel blessed t have lamictal, but it is not without side effects as you have described. I have had partial complex and grand mal, but now it is a rare few moments of staring. I can deal with the side effects.

I can lose my balance at times-dont wear high heels and hold to rails when i go up and down stairs.

My memory is a joke and I no longer practice clinical nursing as a result so I wouldn't hurt anyone, but I still practice in another industry. I go to college full time and that is what has made a difference in my memory. I went from not being able to play words with friends to finishing one degree and working on another masters. We can do anything we put our minds too. So what I cant scuba dive- go catch crabs or dig for oysters. I fish now and hike. There is beauty everywhere.

Organize yourself and do the same thing everyday. Put your keys/purse/wallet in the same place every day at work and at home. I keep a small notepad on me or for you younger ones-pull out your phone. I set my alarm on my phone very frequently for the big things. I keep a bigger calendar and pad at my desk. Every meeting or event is captured. I put columns on the pad for TIME/EVENT, then DISCUSSION, then FOLLOWUP and go ahead and put what/when i need to do for that followup. Make your own calendar and put it in a book and KEEP it to refer to. Look at it at the end of the day. Do not get frustrated u didnt get it all done or missed something. No one died-move on.

It took me 9 times of watching Pulp Fiction to realize I had seen it. I know memory loss intimately, but when I was at the Mayo Clinic and they traced the origin of the seizures, I was told this memory issue would always be there and I needed to adapt. It is worse on the lamictal, but not having seizures that I cant control is worse than forgetting something. I even keep a small list in the kitchen for when I run out of something and then tape it to the calendar the day I am going to the store. Look at it this way- you can't remember bad memories either-lol. Adapt and be happy!

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

my doctor put me on Epitec (generic lamactine).  I'm on 250mg twice a day since 2008.  Since then I've had one fit in 2009.  In the past two years I've blackout thrice and all happened at work.  I was rushed to the hospital.  I have experienced the same as the above reader.  I lose my balance and I must hold so to something or someone till i come right.  when i try to walk it feels like i'm wearing someone else's glasses so not sure how far the ground is.  i've noticed that it happends when my stress levels go up be it from work or personal life.  about 2 weeks ago i lost my balance as i was getting into the train.  thank goodness the train was full so i fell against someone and not hit the floor hard with my face.  I've never being afraid of using the public transport but since this incident I don't travel to and from work alone.  This feeling of being dependent on someone annoys me because i'm control freak and like to be control. 

I have to travel alot due to the nature of my work and now being alone on a plane scares.  like the above read i have reminders all over my house....on my cellphone, fridge, bedroom cupboards even on my laptop.  Sometimes I wonder what did I do that I have to have epilepsy but my 10yr old nephew who also has epilepsy says we didn't do anything wrong we just different and what makes us special is that we have a month reserved just for us.  Kids you can't help my love the way their minds think.

At the moment I'm finishing up my Masters which has being on hold for the past couple of years.  I put it off because I had to my research in a small community where no one knew me and I was scared that I would get sick and no one there would be able to help.  Now I have someone who is going with me to help with the research.  So now being alone won't be an issue anymore.

 

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Dear Happyp:

Very nice post. I am relatively new to this forum and swung through this site and finally saw other posts. I found out that some side effects of the meds are shared by other folks. At first, I thought the mood swings were from my stressful living situation, but then I saw some posts and said: "Holy smoke - of course!" I have been on phenobarbitol (space cadet!) , dilantin (the worst downer!), neurontin (not too bad), Keppra(mood swings from rage to somnolence), trileptal (low sodium levels, and because I run alot - lead to a sz!), and am now on neurontin and lamictal. So all of these postings are of great interest. I have complex partial, very occasional grand mal since surgery in 2001.

Every treatment has had a large impact on my life, but I agree - there are ways to manage all the effects you notice and attitude about your condition makes a huge difference. The big thing is to pay attention and then act to counteract (sp?) the effects. I use my notes in my phone for lists for everything from construction materials to food to my current meds. Then when someone asks, I just call up my list of meds, ghive them my phone and they can see at a glance what's what. I have never been good on calendar dates, so I don't know if that's a side effect of meds or the surgery, or epilepsy. I had my first noticeable sz when I was 27, beginning a new job, was pregnant (well, we were) and wowee, what a shocker! This healthy young buck, just starting a new career and BLAM. So we moved on to dealing with injuries and side effects as best as we could. Right now, I just switched to Lamictal, and am waiting to what the side effects are and to return to driving eventually.

Best of luck to you, and to everyone who reads these posts,
Peter

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Dear Happyp:

Very nice post. I am relatively new to this forum and swung through this site and finally saw other posts. I found out that some side effects of the meds are shared by other folks. At first, I thought the mood swings were from my stressful living situation, but then I saw some posts and said: "Holy smoke - of course!" I have been on phenobarbitol (space cadet!) , dilantin (the worst downer!), neurontin (not too bad), Keppra(mood swings from rage to somnolence), trileptal (low sodium levels, and because I run alot - lead to a sz!), and am now on neurontin and lamictal. So all of these postings are of great interest. I have complex partial, very occasional grand mal since surgery in 2001.

Every treatment has had a large impact on my life, but I agree - there are ways to manage all the effects you notice and attitude about your condition makes a huge difference. The big thing is to pay attention and then act to counteract (sp?) the effects. I use my notes in my phone for lists for everything from construction materials to food to my current meds. Then when someone asks, I just call up my list of meds, ghive them my phone and they can see at a glance what's what. I have never been good on calendar dates, so I don't know if that's a side effect of meds or the surgery, or epilepsy. I had my first noticeable sz when I was 27, beginning a new job, was pregnant (well, we were) and wowee, what a shocker! This healthy young buck, just starting a new career and BLAM. So we moved on to dealing with injuries and side effects as best as we could. Right now, I just switched to Lamictal, and am waiting to what the side effects are and to return to driving eventually.

Best of luck to you, and to everyone who reads these posts,
Peter

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Dear Happyp:

Very nice post. I am relatively new to this forum and swung through this site and finally saw other posts. I found out that some side effects of the meds are shared by other folks. At first, I thought the mood swings were from my stressful living situation, but then I saw some posts and said: "Holy smoke - of course!" I have been on phenobarbitol (space cadet!) , dilantin (the worst downer!), neurontin (not too bad), Keppra(mood swings from rage to somnolence), trileptal (low sodium levels, and because I run alot - lead to a sz!), and am now on neurontin and lamictal. So all of these postings are of great interest. I have complex partial, very occasional grand mal since surgery in 2001.

Every treatment has had a large impact on my life, but I agree - there are ways to manage all the effects you notice and attitude about your condition makes a huge difference. The big thing is to pay attention and then act to counteract (sp?) the effects. I use my notes in my phone for lists for everything from construction materials to food to my current meds. Then when someone asks, I just call up my list of meds, ghive them my phone and they can see at a glance what's what. I have never been good on calendar dates, so I don't know if that's a side effect of meds or the surgery, or epilepsy. I had my first noticeable sz when I was 27, beginning a new job, was pregnant (well, we were) and wowee, what a shocker! This healthy young buck, just starting a new career and BLAM. So we moved on to dealing with injuries and side effects as best as we could. Right now, I just switched to Lamictal, and am waiting to what the side effects are and to return to driving eventually.

Best of luck to you, and to everyone who reads these posts,
Peter

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Hi everyone, I am new to the board, and wanted to share my thoughts about Lamictal.  I have been on Lamictal for over5 years, 200mg, 2x per day.  Additionally, I am on 3000mg of KeppraXR.  Thus far, its been 8years, since I've had a Grand Mal seizure, although, I still have the petit mal seizure, but not very often.   Over the past few years, I have noticed an increase in short term memory loss, and difficulty with word finding, which drives me crazy, as I provide individual and group therapy.  The word finding is soooooooooo embarrassing, and I end up using ten words to get my point across because I cannot remember one word.  I have talked with my Neurologist about this, and her words were "Sharon you are getting older," and although I agree, (as I will be 50 this year) I don't  how much is related to age or the awful side effects of Lamictal.  I am currently involved in a study, Lamictal vs. Lamotrigine, however, once the study has ended, I plan to talk with the Neurologist about another medication, or reducing the  dosage of Lamictal.  The word finding, and memory loss is too much, and it is humiliating when I forget, words, name of a tv show, song, and the list goes on.   I am open to suggestions that could replace the Lamictal. Thanks

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

It's interesting about the relationship between memory loss and lamictal.  I've never would have known about this relationship if I had not visited this site. I've been on meds almost my whole life.  Its been 25years of remembering to take meds and eat correctly and avoid situations which could cause a fit.  I'm on epitec 500mg a day.  My neurologist recommended as it one of the few drugs that have lower risk to being pregant and the baby.  I've been on epitec since 2008.   I've been on four types of meds since I was 10.......tegratol, convulex, carobomazine and on epitec.  the tegratol didn't have much because I was going through pubity when i was on it so i had regular fits which was frustrating.  i was at camp one year and rolled off the bed while having a fit and i even passed out in the road.  thank goodness i was near home.  while on convulex i was well controlled and then after a year i started taking epitec i had a fit.  Its so frustrating being fit free for almost more than 10years then to suddenly have one.  those are the times i just wanna kill myself........metaphorically speaking.  i'm glad there is this site where us 'special' people can exchange stories.  i'm grateful that i have a family and friends who are supportive and understanding and treat myself, my sister and my nephew as normal.  As is not always the case of others.  Out of a family of eight just us three have epilepsy. 

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Hello Sharon. I noticed your post was from march. Have you moved onto replacing lamictal. I have decided to, but I just dont know where to start and what to expect during the transition.. Any advice? Good luck! Davo

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Around five years ago a new doctor prescribe me Lamictal with the excuse that Primidone was an old one (but it was functioning correctly, controlling my seizures). The change was done mixing the Primidone and the Lamictal until the second one substitute the first one. But, because I was teach that when a doctor talks he speaks with the highest knowledge, I followed his instructions.
Everything was a nightmare, not only I forgot things more easily; Lamictal was placing my brain in a treadmill, I can barely sleep showing bi-polar disorder "results" thinking all the time different things that barely I pay attention to, and others things that were stupids.
Not to mention that the doctor when I went for a review of how the medicine was working on me, he told me, It's ok to show those symptoms, you have spent so much time using Primidone.
At the end I went alone (he doesn't want me to be alone) to his office and told him I will quit the Lamictal, and continue using the Primidone. And he dares to ask me Why? OMG Doctor, where is your knowledge?
From that forward I look for another doctor who talk and let me talk about how I feel about the changes. My actual doctor says: Yes, is an old medication, but if it's working why we need to change it?
That is what I call a reasonable and responsible doctor. Who BTW I won't change him.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Arline, Is you doctor a neurologist?  If he is a neurologist, it might be time to get an epielptologist (neurologist who specializes in epilepsy.)  This is inexcusable.  There are many more AEDs besides Primodone and Lamictal.  I'm only another patient; not a medical professional.  Some of us need to try several different AEDs to find one that doesn't have horrible side effects.  Every body reacts differently to each drug.  Don't let your doctor tell you he knows more than you.  Nobody knows YOUR body better than you.  If he won't listen; get another doctor. 

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

Hello Tcameron! Lamictal has had a terrible effect on my memory and ability to concentrate and retain instructions, when the medication hits a peak during the day it's damaging to my career and relationship with friends.

I agree we all know ourselves better than anyone. My concern, after taking a medication for ten years, is deciding what medication to try and what to expect during the transition period.

I have been on 400mg of lamictal over 10 years and I have decided to change medications August. There must be a better medication that will improve my quality of life. What I'm trying to assess is what medication should I try from the great assortment. Also, should I take a leave from work during the transition, I've never taken any leave in 20 years, what can I expect during the transition.

Best of luck to you!
Davo

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I spent 40 years on meds and Lamictal definitely affected my memory.  Phenobarbital was the other drug that made me clueless.  While on lamictal it became difficult to get the words I wanted to say, it was difficult to recognize people.  Tegretol and Neurontin weren't bad with memory or speech, but I did put on about 60 lbs (which came off when I switched to Lamictal).  The memory problems were so bad, I opted for surgery.  I have been seizure-free since surgery in 2005 and after getting off lamictal-I'm now drug-free 3 years-my speech and memory have improved and I now recognize my neighbors.  I would run from lamictal.

Re: Memory Loss & Lamictal

I spent 40 years on meds and Lamictal definitely affected my memory.  Phenobarbital was the other drug that made me clueless.  While on lamictal it became difficult to get the words I wanted to say, it was difficult to recognize people.  Tegretol and Neurontin weren't bad with memory or speech, but I did put on about 60 lbs (which came off when I switched to Lamictal).  The memory problems were so bad, I opted for surgery.  I have been seizure-free since surgery in 2005 and after getting off lamictal-I'm now drug-free 3 years-my speech and memory have improved and I now recognize my neighbors.  I would run from lamictal.

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