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Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Hi, everybody. I just joined this site yesterday. I saw a forum where a few people were discussing transitioning to generic lamotrigine (just released) from Lamictol. But now I can't seem to find the forum. I'm considering the generic switch and am wondering if anyone's done it yet, gotten advice on it, etc. Please help! (Or let me know where to find yesterday's forum! It's not coming up in the search.)

Comments

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

to tell the truth changing to the generic doesnt make a difference its just cheaper

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Have you done it?

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Hi, I switched to the generic lamotrigine several weeks ago and I have not had any issues with it whatsoever.  My sister is a pharmacist and I had her weigh in on it before I made my decision.  She gave me the thumbs up.  I have been happy with the generic version.  Sorry to hear about the others who have not.  I can offer empathy when it comes to medications.  I have been switching prescriptions around for the past 3 years trying to find the right fit to make me seizure free.

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I was switched to the generic verison in the hospital while I had my tonsils out and I ended up having 5 seizures before I got home and back on my regular meds. Therefore my doctor will not allow me to change to generic because they don't necessarily keep a level quantity in their pill.  Each person is different with each med. Some of my med I use the generic but others I can't. Alot of it depends on what they use to produce the generic drug. I used on once that was produce and about 7 months later they changed it and I ended up going back to the name brand and having my dosage decreased. So take from where it stands. Every one and every thing is different.

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

My son was just switched to the generic produced by the company, Teva. He's been on Lamictal for several years. It's been about a week now and no problems.  The insurance company said the brand name would now cost me about $200 per month (instead of the $18 copay in the past) if they even approve it (need affidavit from the neurologist). What a pain!

By the way, which state has this law about not switching seizure meds without doctor's approval? 

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

My daughter was pushed into trying lamotrigine because of the insurance coverage we have. After talking to the dr who said there had not been a lot of issues with generic lamictal, she went on the generic. The insurance would not cover unless she tried the generic first. So after many years on lamictal and no seizures, she went on lamotrigine and within days started having breakthrough seizures.... She now is back on lamicatl after the dr. contacted the insurance co. and verified she was having seizures as a result of the lamotrigine.

She is now fully on lamicatl and no seizures again. BUT in the meanwhile she has had to give up driving for three months. The whole thing is so unfair. My daughter is in college and needed a car to get to a weekend job she was offered and had to give up that idea. It's a huge mess in her life.

We have filed a report with the FDA as has her pharmacist. We have also issued a complaint against the insurance for taking over her drs written prescription which said Brand name only, and forced her into this situation. As a result the state insurance commission has filed the complaint also and we will see what happens. She has lost so much because of this situation and it is SO unfair.

I hope nobody else goes through this and will see to it that the right people hear our story.

 

Talking to your doctor about switching

I was concerned when the Walmart pharmacy changed me from Lamictal to the generic.  I asked them if that was something they could do and they assured me it was.  I contacted my doctor and he said that if I wanted he would give me a lacmital (only) script.  I told him that the generic saves me $35 a month and that I would stick with it.  I then told him that I didn't want to lose my license if I had a seizure and he said, "You won't lose your license because I authorized that you can be on generic so the "own us" would fall on me."

 So, I urge anybody who has switched to generic to contact their prescriber and make sure that if they do have a breakthrough seizure that they are not liable to losing their license.  It's worth the phone call or (better yet) written consent. 

Cheers,
Andrew

Re: Talking to your doctor about switching

I went to the pharmacy a few weeks ago to pick up my lamictal and didn't realize they gave me the generic until i was out of my regular so i had to take it that night and the next morning.  It made me sick, dizzy and blurred my vision.  The price change is not worth it to me at all.  When my doctor calls in or writes my script he has to specify brand name only but again its worth the difference for me.  Good luck!

Re: Talking to your doctor about switching

The one time I had generic was not good.  I started having seizures again.  The chemistry is different in the generics.   For me, the name brand is like driving a Mercedes and the generic is like driving a truck.  Fortunately I live in a country where I only have to pay 10 bucks a prescription.

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

      I was switched to the generic also manufactured by Teva by my insurance company. The generic and the brand name are not the same. The generic didn't control seizures nearly as well as Lamictal or even the drug that I was taken off of- Depakote. Before any damage was done, I called my neurologist and was transferred back to the Brand Name Lamictal. The price is high but the damage that the generic would allow would cost more in one way or another. 

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I was wondering about changing to the generic as well. With most of my medications I really couldn't care less, but when it comes to things in my head that might be touchy I worry about sudden changes. I went to pick up my lamictal refill today and it had been switched to generic so I was just wondering if other people had switched without any problems. I found out that in the state I live in the pharmacy isn't suppose to switch an epileptic's anticonvulsant from brand name to generic without approval from the doctors office. Course my pharmacy sucks and argued that no such law existed, which is scary all by itself that a pharmacy wouldn't be up on the latest laws regulation medications, but that's something else. Anyways, have you found the discussion you were looking for yet?

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

That's a scary story about the pharmacy. It just goes to show you how much we all have to educate ourselves because we can't trust the medical establishment to do it for us!

Unfortunately, I still can't find that forum. I must say I am very disappointed in the forum system on this site. When I search the forums for "Lamictol," this one doesn't even come up! Anyway, someone on the lost forum insisted that the generic version was weaker (by 25%) and warned not to switch. Another recommended
switching slowly. My epileptologist's nurse (I can't seem to get Mr. Big Shot on the phone directly) claims that it's the same, no problem. Claiming that he probably just wrote "brand name only" on the prescription out of habit. Hmmm. So I'm having to get his office call my insurance company to okay the generic, which has been an unfortunate pain in the ass (ironic opposite of your experience). The people on the disappeared forum who said their doctors recommended sticking with the brand, well, I don't necessarily trust their doctors. Maybe I said it in my original post (which can't be viewed from this screen; another weakness), but many of those doctors are in bed with the pharma cos and are basically being paid to prescribe the expensive brand name.

Sigh.

*** One interesting thing Mr. Big Shot's nurse told me is that once I switch to generic, I should always stick with the same generic. Aparently there are or will be several. Just so my body is used to the one thing and doesn't get shaken up by differing inactive ingredients ***

SOMEBODY ON GENERIC LAMOTRIGINE WEIGH IN PLEASE HELP!

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

RGbrai, 

The forum is not the best, but I think you may have searched for the wrong spelling of Lamictal.  You spelled it "Lamictol" in your response.  Try Lamictal with an "a" instead of an "o".

Cheers,
Andrew

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Thanks, Andrew.  I noticed that a little while ago.  Duh.  Luckily, I was able to correct the title of this forum so it will turn up in searches done by people who actually know how to spell!

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I JUST SPOKE WITH MY EPILEPTOLOGIST, AND HE HAS A PATIENT WHO JUST HAD BREAKTHROUGH SEIZURES AFTER SWITCHING FROM LAMICTAL TO GENERIC LAMOTRIGINE.  BEST TO STICK WITH A KNOWN QUANTITY.

Re: Lamictol - switch to generic lamotrigine?

One thing we all should be checking is our lamictal blood level to make sure that before we switch to generic we are in a good theraputic range.  I am about 9mg/mcg which is right smack dab in the middle of the theraputic range.  I could guess that some of you who have had breakthroughs may have been at a lower range and then the generic causes an unsafe drop in the level, thereby promoting a seizure.... It's just a guess of course, and since I'm not your doctor I can't validate that.  But if people are worried about a reduced potency with generic, talk to your doctor about getting your level checked to cover for a decrease in potency.  I get my level checked about every 3-6 months.  

Cheers,
Andrew

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine? _somewhat lengthy

My experience with generic lamotrigine:

     I don't often visit the boards here but had some recent experiences that had me checking in. Three weeks ago ( give or take a few days) I went to fill my prescriptions for 200mg and 150mg Lamictal. I have TLE with only partial simple seizures and have been on it for 3 years and have had some dosage adjustments but other than that I have done really well on it.  I have never had a seizure that has resulted in me not being aware of everything going on. As far as seizures go, I really have it so much easier than so many on these boards.

My pharmacist (who is awesome) told me that the generic was now available and my insurance wasn't likely to cover the brand name anymore. I knew from experience having worked in a hospital that generic seizure medications have had some inconsistancy issues in the past and that many patients can't tolerate them. My Phamacist agreed with me especially because this was a brand new generic.  He said he would call the dr to see if he could change the scripts to no subs. The dr did that and the pharmacist called the insurance co. and they said no. They would only approve the brand name if I completed a trial of the generic.

I got my new generic meds and started them on Thursday. Sunday at lunchtime I started having wicked car sickness on the way home from church. I then got so dizzy I could keep my head up straight. I couldn't open my eyes without feeling like I was going to throwup all over my car. We got home and I went up to bed as soon as we walked in the door. Less than an hour after we left church I was unable to move even 6 inches before going into a complete tailspin. I couldn't roll-over, couldn't open my eyes and fell down when my husband tried to help me to the bathroom and couldn't get back up.  My husband and my father carried me down to the car and drove me to the hospital.

In the emergency room they jumped to the conclusion that I was having a stroke. Fortunately,  I am compulsive about managing my own healthcare and I have a card that I carry with my allergies, medications, drs etc. and my husband carries a copy in his wallet. They called my neurologist who told them about the change in meds.  My husband stayed with me for a while then went to get a sandwich.  I got really mad at him because it took him so long to come back and in the mean time they admitted me to a room and I was afraid he wouldn't find me. The nurse said he went home and he would be back. I thought about an hour had gone by and I was really upset about him leaving without saying goodbye.

The next morning I found out that the hour that went by was actually over 6 hours and that I was unresponsive for about three of it and disoriented for the rest.  I didn't know who or where I was, why I was there or what year it was. I had a CAT scan, all kinds of other tests and meds, had been moved 2 or 3 times and finally admitted to my room at around 10pm. About 8am I woke up, didn't know why they admitted me, why they wouldn't let me up to go to the bathroom and why they wouldn't get me something to eat. 

I'm still going through some issues with nausea, headaches and such, saw my neuro Monday and he's is not convinced that it's seizure related so tomorrow I get bloodwork and a visit with my primary.  It just keeps going on and on. 3 weeks ago I was out running a couple miles a day with my dog and today I'm just barely getting through my day even laying down every couple of hours for a rest.

My suggestions? 1. Be leary of any change in medication whether it's supposedly "the same thing" or not.        2. Carry a card with all your Dr's names and numbers, any diagnosed medical issues, medications and dosages, and any allergies and reactions. I think it's MEDIDs that offers one online for free and it's pretty easy to fill out and print.

 Oh and as soon as the medication patent ran out, the price dropped over $400. a month for the brand name meds so they put me through this for a savings of approx. $50.00 a month. Now, I get a notice that they will pay for the brand name drug. I guess my "trial" of the generic is over.

              

 

 

 

 

 

Trish

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine? _somewhat lengthy

Trish,

I really appreciate you sharing that experience, and so sorry you went through it.  

Have any of your doctors said they definitely think it was an adverse reaction to the generic, or are they trying to tell you it's something else? 

By the way, I luckily opted out of the switch to generic when I discovered that it's just not that much cheaper.  (What a world.)

Thanks again.

~RG 

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine? _somewhat lengthy

RG,

If I can save anyone else from having to go through it, I'll be happy. 

My Dr is pretty sure it was caused by the generic medication and I can't risk taking it again.  He also said that he didn't expect any future  seizures to be that bad . He also went to bat with the insurance co. and almost immediately got the approval for the brand name Lamictal.  Now, I'm just hoping the my system starts getting back to normal soon.

 Trish

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine? _somewhat lengthy

I'm not a big active preson, after walking for quite some time in the sun I soon started feeling dizzy the next few weeks, I was just switched to the generic and wondered if this caused the problem since I've been on lamictal for years.  Pharmacist said excess sun light can cause problems with lamictal, to keep a diary if I'm still having problems and then see if I can get my doc to override for the name brand again.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

My suggestion is that you talk with your neurologist about switching. I received a notice from my insurance company saying that the next time I do an at home prescription refill order, that it would be filled with generic lamotrigine. My neuro said that I should not take the generic version because the color and general make up of the pill could change my Lamictal level, resulting in a potential breakthrough seizure.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I was just reading this thread and I thought my experience was important enough to register and post.  I used to think generic and name brand were the same thing.  My pharm. switched me to generic after over a year of problem free lamical.  Bam, rashes started showing up less than a week later.  (Don't worry I talked to my neurologist and the rashes aren't big enough to be dangerous) Just be careful folks.  Let's just hope that now that I'm starting back on the real deal they'll go away.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I am glad I stumbled upon this.  I just had another tonic-clonic and my doc increased my meds.  When I went to refil my script, had been a mail order so I was low anyway, I was shock that I only had to pay $10!  Epilepsy meds never go generic!  They stop working for everyone by the time they get that old!  So anyhow, seeing as though I have Aetna POS, (an HMO pretending to be a PPO), I have to get the generic.  I am a school teacher and cannot aford to pay the full price of the brand name Lamictal, plus the Topamax $25 co-pay.  It is still unknown if the increased dosage will do the trick, i may have to change meds anyway.  I am on 300mg twice a day. of topa and Lam.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

If you have to pay for the brand name Lamictal, go to there web site and they will send you $10.00 coupons for your prescriptions. Just last month they sent me a card for 6 refills $50.00 off max per prescription.

 

David

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I agree, anybody who insists on Lamictal needs to register with Glaxo Smith Kline (http://www.gsk.com).  The company will continue to sent you 1) Updated drug reaction fact sheet and 2) Regular discounts and coupons. 

Why would they do this?  I don't know... perhaps they want to keep their customers frome the switch to generic??? :)

Cheers,
Andrew

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I switched over about 2 months ago, when it first came out.  The pharmacy won't give me the name brand if they have a generic unless it is a written order by the doctor.  So I figured ok, it saves me money, so why not.  I called my doctor and asked her if it was ok to switch and she said there shouldn't be any problem with it but to go get blood work done after a month on it so make sure my levels are still high enough.

I haven't had any side effects or anything.  The only thing I realized is that when I started it, I was very very depressed.  I didn't wanna come out of my room, I was moody, I didn't go to work, didn't want to talk to anyone.  It wasn't good.  I just thought it was because I'm going through a tough time with my job and things like that.  Just though that everything escalated and couldn't deal with it so I shut everyone out.  After reading off all the side effects, I wonder if that it what happened.  I'm fine now.  Nothing wrong. 

I have to go pick my records up at my neurologist tomorrow...she's closing her practice :(  It's a shame, she is a brilliant woman.  Anyways, I will ask her, if I can get in to talk to her, that is.

 

Jess

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

My neurologist told me about the generic, but he recommended that I stick with the branded Lamictal because generics are allowed by law to be as low as 80 percent the weight of the indicated dosage.  That may be OK for some drugs, but for epilepsy, the drugs need to be at a relatively constant level.

 He wrote me a prescription specifically for the name brand.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I have been taking Lamictal for about 4 years now, its been the best drug I have ever used. Just last month out of the blue they switched me to a generic so I paid the extra premium. I have Blue Shield insurance has this happened to anyone elese

FYI: You can get coupons and cards for discounts from the manufacture, last month they sent me a card for my refills worth $50.00 per prescription off what ever you pay or your co-pay.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

When my mail-away pharmacy (associated with Anthem) switched to generic Lamictal, I began having side effects, which I never with Lamictal. About an hour after I take it, I get dizzy, nauseous and have trouble with balance. I have had a minor seizure and several "auras". My neurologist  said that generics may contain less than  brand names -- sometimes up to 80% less, so he increased the dose. However, he insists that the generic is not causing the dizziness, nausea, and imbalance and refused to prescribe the brand drug.  I went to my PCP to see if I had some other problem; he could not identify a reason for my symptoms.   I am going to the local pharmacy today to find out the cost of Lamictal. If I can afford it, I will ask my PCP to prescribe it; he did entertain the possibility that the generic is at fault.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Damn insurance companies.  My insrance company wanted me to pay a $1000 co-pay for Lamictal, so I had to go with the generic - Lamotrigine.  ($10 co-pay... can't argue with that, I guess.)  Anyway, I am so relieved (but sorry) to find someone with similar side-effects.  Dizzyness, nausea, and balance problems about an hour after taking it.  I was taking 350mg Lamictal before the switch, and 350mg of the generic still seems to work.  I tried a stronger dose when I first started it, because the doc had also told me that generics may contain less than brand name.  Turns out that that wasn't true for me, though.  It's all relative.  So if your neurologist is insisting that these side-effects aren't from the meds, tell him to kiss off. 

-Heather.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I just wanted to say that I was forced to switch to the generic brand of Lamictal because of insurance coverage. I take Lamictal for bipolar and never have had a seizure before until switching to the generic. The first day I took the generic brand I was nauseated, had stomach cramps, bad headache, light headed and was unable to concentrate. The next day I couldn't drive because I was unable to judge distance and everything was blurry and seemed to be moving very slowly. I was sluggish and couldn't walk straight. This may sound funny but it's not; I bumped into the corner of the doorway four times in one day because I couldn't judge where the opening was. I called the pharmacist and told her how I felt. She reassured me that it was not the medication doing this and told me to keep taking it but if it kept up then to bring it in and she would change it back to the brand Lamictal. On the third day, I was at dinner with my boyfriend and out of nowhere I got light headed and was really hot and started sweating really bad. I knew I was about to faint but somehow managed to get a cold rag on my neck and drink some water. On the ride home I blacked out and don't remember getting in the car, the ride home or getting out. When I got home and laid in the bed my neck started to jerk and made my head  bob up and down in a fast motion. I was unable to make it stop. My body then got so heavy that I was unable to lift any part of my body, not even my arm. I thought I was going paralyzed. Then my tongue got very heavy and numb and felt like it was swelling. I couldn't talk. My boyfriend said I kept trying to say something but kept stuttering and repeating words that made no sense. I remember thinking I was dying. I had no control over my body not even my thoughts. I'm not sure what exactly happened to me that night but I'm sure I had a seizure. I called the pharmacist and she let me bring the meds back and changed the prescription back to the brand but she never reported my symptoms or asked any questions. She seemed irritated with me for complaining and having problems with it. The day after starting the brand name back I felt better, although I felt tired and a little cloudy headed still. I know for a fact it was the generic brand making me sick as a dog! I don't know about anyone else but this generic drug is bad and needs to be tested more before being distributed. Someone is going to end up getting killed or injured when taking this drug. I wrote the FDA to let them know, even though they probably don't care. The drug companies only care about the money and not the effects the drug could have on a person. So please be aware of the potential side effects and don't be afraid to speak up to your doctor AND pharmacist because they sometimes don't know the effects themselves. They listen to the drug reps description and details of the drug and take their word for it and just write the scripts.  

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I also was just changed to the generic Lamictal.  I have been having headaches and very sick at my stomach.  I don't have seizures, but I am biopolar.  Lamictal seemed to work just fine.  I have read different websites about the differences in these two drugs.  I think the key to some of our problems could be the inactive ingredients in the generic.  Just because they are inactive doesn't mean they can't make us sick.  I am not sure what to do, but I am going to call my doctor this p.m.   I think enough of us have had problems with this drug that the FDA should have to warn people.  Will let you know what my doctor has to say.

Having problems too

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I am happy to be able to communicate with someone that can understand and knows how you really feel cheri wells I just wanted to let people out there know that I was on Lamictal, had some side effects of dizziness feeling neusous in the mornings but my seizures were getting better and I did not want to experiment with another drug at the time, because of insurance reasons I went on the generic drug, no more side effects, seizures not as often.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I am happy to be able to communicate with someone that can understand and knows how you really feel cheri wells I just wanted to let people out there know that I was on Lamictal, had some side effects of dizziness feeling neusous in the mornings but my seizures were getting better and I did not want to experiment with another drug at the time, because of insurance reasons I went on the generic drug, no more side effects, seizures not as often.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine? Thumbs down

I didnt put two and two together for a few days, but after taking the 400 mg of the generic (I was taking the brand before) in the morning, I would become disoriented, eyes couldnt focus, nauseated, couldnt walk in a straight line, altogether a strange feeling.  My PCP saw nothing wrong and treated me for dizziness and the headache, which was overkill to me, plus I was overly groggy at that point. All kinds of labs, CT, x-rays, the whole routine and everything was normal.  Turns out mail order company (90 days supply) had switched me to the geneic Lamtogrine, which turned out to be the problem, my psych MD reduced it by half and now I am fine, although now he doesnt know if I am at a therpeutic level (take it for bi-polar) yet.  In any case, he's filing a complaint to the FDA.  In other words, I was overmedicating myself because the strengths differed so much.  Hope everyone would keep an eye out for the changes that can occur with this switch.  The symptoms would abate after a while, mostly into the late afternoon, but my Psychiatrist and I found the problem ourselves.  That after a day in the ER and a lot of money later.  Watch out... Dawn Marie

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I know exactly how you feel, too, because it was within six or eight months I was switched to Lamotrigne and found my vision got blurry if I moved too fast and within three days of that happening my legs just buckled before I left for work.  My legs and mid torso were like  butter.  I couldn't move my legs.  Thank God my family was home because my sister had to take me to the ER.  I had to stay for a full day because the neurologist declared I had a toxic overdose.  Apparently Lamotrigne is stronger because the dosage was the same as the Lamictal. 

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I now have to take the generic due to Medicaid not wanting to pay for the name brand. I've always been leery about the effectiveness of generic drugs over name brand drugs. Breakthrough seizures are my primary concern. I'm close to getting my Driver's License back and having more seizures again would not be a good thing. I also take Dilantin and concerned about having to switch to generic phenytoin.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

3 months ago I started taking the generic lamotrogine, till today I still get drowsy but i havent had a seizure since. I try to spread my medication throughout the day inorder to prevent the dizziness and it helps alot, You dont get drowzy at all and your seizures are under control. I really believe that everyones condition is different and the effect it will have on you will be too, so dont try to totally erase the idea of taking the generic because it might even help you as it did me, and I had grand mal seizures every week. The frustrating part is experimenting with your body, its frustrating but you have to until you find the right drug that suites your needs. I however have decided to put my trust more now into natural supplements and reflexology and believe me it helps, I just got sick of taking all this medication and feeding my body with drugs. I still am on my medication but slowly taking it out of my system.

No matter what drug you on, it will still have an affect on your system, it helps one thing but destroys another.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Well put, mistique.  You do just never know.  I have NEVER had a seizure while taking any seizure med.  I originally started on Dilantin (10 years) and then Lamictal (6 months) and now generic  lamotrigine and (again) I'm seizure free.

Cheers,
Andrew

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Interesting that there were so many bad reactions to generic lamictal.  I've been seizure free for almost 3 months now.  No side effects..nothing.  I love this drug.  No auras either.

I'm so glad they came out with a generic.  However; they shouldn't have to do generics.  Why can't we pay decent prices for the "real" thing?  Stupid drug companies.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

First off, like wow this is a hot topic.

My uncle has epilepsy, he's also a doctor, and when it comes to seizure meds he swears against taking generics. I think it might be okay if you start on generics. When I was first diagnosed I started on the generic dilatin and then transitioned to Lamictal. Since the generic came out recently, I did question trying it since Lamictal costs me 80 dollars a month with my insurance, but it's just not worth the risk to me at the moment anyway.

If I was just starting out on it, I would go for the generic. But I wouldn't want to switch to it, not after being seizure free on Lamictal for 1.5 years.

As far as differences between the name brand and the generic, the only fact I tell you with absolute certainty is that the generic has less clinical trials to go through since it's supposed to be the equivalent. Assuming it was equivalent, I still feel uncomfortable with that fact.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Yes, generics versus brand name is a hot topic. The Epilepsy Foundation of America has a wonderful website that I would encourage everyone to check out. They have the latest information on topics such as this. The website is: www.efa.org

 Best wishes to everyone.

Carol

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Thanks Carol... hey you guys, this is a great video that explains the difference between generic and brand name: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmob27xfNAI&eurl=http://www.epilepsyfound...

I got it from the site carol mentions above. 

Cheers,
Andrew

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

     I thought I would check back in as I have a neuro visit today. I was one of the people with a bad reaction to the generic lamotrigine on this board back in August when it first came out. I have spent the last 4 months trying to get off of the lamictal all together because I have been having issues with my medications ever since despite being switched back to the brand name drug. My Neuro believes that the legally allowed "variance" in strength of the active ingredient (20% +/-) is what caused all of the problems back in August for me and could be why the brand name isn't working for me anymore.

     Here's my current situation: I have finally switched completely from the brand name lamictal (stopped the 24th of Nov) to Keppra. I was taking 1000mg a day until 2 weeks ago when I went up to 1500mg to prepare for the drop in the lamictal.  Until I actually went off the lamictal, I was nauseous from the increase but otherwise okay. I haven't been seizing at all. Once I actually stopped, it was like a switch was tossed. I have lost about 3lbs in a week. I am a raving lunatic. One minute I am fine, the next minute I'm screaming at someone. My hair was falling in my eyes while I was working, so I went into the bathroom and cut it off (about 3 inches in ?5 minutes). I slam doors, kick things and cry with no rhyme or reason.  It almost seems like the lamictal was acting as a mood stabilizer for the Keppra. I guess you can guess why I'm seeing the doctor today. I need to get an idea of what other treatment options there are for me out there.

5 months ago, I was fine, and had been fine for years. Now I'm a wreck and just barely able to function. Now, here's the kick in the face; the generic for Keppra came out last Monday and my insurance company won't pay for it anymore, they want me to switch to the generic.  I already pay $1600.00 per month for health insurance for our family (my husband owns his own business). As if I need another reason to act psychotic.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Seagla,

I am being faced with going back on meds after being med free since 1993. Had one seizure in 2003, but since we were trying to conceive, doctor ok'd not going on meds at that time.  Now that the absence mal seizures seem to want to return...I am faced with going back on meds. for the rest of my life.  TWO were recommended to me.  The Keppra and the Lamictal.  The doctor explained the possible side effects of both...when discussing Keppra he said it could cause irritability and anxiety.  I'm like, "nope" that's not for me as I seem to already have a short fuse at times, much like you described.  Fine one moment then screaming at the top of my lungs like if I don't get it out...it will drive me crazy.  So.  He also mentioned that since I haven't previously taken the Lamictal (although I was given the sample pack to start)...he said the generic should work just fine with no break through seizures since I seem to have my specific history.  I am not a doctor, but if the Keppra is making you erratic, I would discuss other options post haste...to get your "normal" back as soon as possible and really...isn't that worth any amout of money?!  Best wishes...happy holidays.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I too got off meds and had seizures a few year later.  I was discouraged but I feel ok with taking meds for the remainder of my life.  I find that Lamictal calms me down because I often jump around moodwise sometimes. 

Cheers,
Andrew

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Please talk to the doctor about your reaction to Keppra. One of the side effects of Keppra is anger issues. Your doctor needs to know about this reaction. Hope things are better.

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

I would not recommend this at all. I was switched by the pharmacy. After two months of the generic, I had a breakthrough seizure while driving. I drove my van into a brick building. My 10 year old was my hero and was able to tell the paramedics and bystanders that I had a seizure. Thank God our guardian angels were in the car with us! I had been seizure free for 7 years on Lamictal, now I have 6 months of no driving. My doctor said I was the 2nd patient he had seen that week that had a breakthrough seizure after switching to generic. He can't say for sure if this is the reason, but I am happy to be back on Lamictal!

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

Sorry to hear about it.  I have had nothing but success on generic Lamictal.  

Did you talk to your doctor about the generic before you switched?  If so, the decision includes HIM and is justified by his being aware that generics can be less effective.  This is especially true if he has other patients who took the generic and had breakthrough seizures.  In summary, it means that you should get your neuro to approve you to drive and he has the power to do that!!!  (especially based on a prior history of no seizures for 7 years).

However, If YOU made the generic decision without your doctors approval and that causes a seizure then you would probably not be approved by your doctor and would lose the driving priviledge.  I would advise ALL patients switching to generic to get their doctors "OK" beforehand so that they have some shared liability if  they do have a breakthrough seizure that would require a suspension for 6 months.

Cheers,
Andrew

Re: Lamictal - switch to generic lamotrigine?

After reading through some of the posts on this topic, I feel compelled to contribute, although I'm quite sure my comments will not be well received. Internet forums, after all, are the place where people with complaints tend to come together to comiserate. This is not remotely meant to be an insult to anyone here, the "internet forum bias" phenomenon exists for thousands of products, from medications to cameras. One must realize, however, that the information presented by lay people in these forums is heavily biased towards those who have had bad experiences with the product being discussed. People who love their camera (or medication) don't generally take the time to seek out an internet forum to find if others are similarly happy. However, those unhappy with their camera (or medication) will likely turn to these forums to seek out others with home they can share their problems. Forums are often the internet's "complaint department". 

In short, just be careful what you take away from here. You are not hearing from the tens of thousands of people who've had no problems with lamotrigine. You're only hearing from the vocal few that have (or think it's the drug).

I cannot think of another aspect of the practice of medicine that turns normally logical thinking physicians into illogical beings. That aspect is the concept of generic drugs and bioequivalence. There is more misinformation being propagated by healthcare professionals (even pharmacists) about this topic than I can sometimes bear.

The first is the concept of "generics can vary by 20% and more from brand name drugs." That is completely dead wrong. Generics vary by no more than brand name drugs vary among themselves from lot to lot, and that is about 2.5%. The 80 - 125% variance that's allowed is with regard to the 90% confidence interval. That's statistics, and since nobody understands statistics, they just relate what they think they heard, and that's the 80-125% variance. That does NOT mean the drug can vary by that much, it means the statistical test for bioequivalence at the 90% confidence level can vary by that much. That leaves VERY little room for the generic to achieve a different plasma level than the comparitor (brand) drug. Tablet press technology, normal handling, and the sensitivey of drug assays simple prevents drugs (brand to brand or brand to generic) of being any closer than that.

Think of this, however: miss one dose, take the medicine with food one day then empty stomach the next, smoke a cigarette, take interacting drug, or a myriad of other biological events and you'll get up to a 80% difference in blood level from day to day. Biologic variation is MUCH more likely to cause variance in plasma levels than who makes the drug. The FDA ensure that the drugs are very close, patient and enviromental biology will ensure the variance is more like 10-15% from day to day. This happens whether your're on brand or generic.

To make matters worse on the "generic vs. brand" front is the psychological effect (placebo effect) drugs have on patients. Every clinical trial reports headaches, sinus infections, muscle aches, etc. on placebo pills. The power of the mind. The perception the patient has on how (or if) a drug is going to work is a very powerful thing. If your physician has done you the huge injustice of suggesting that generics are inferior, then that's exactly what they'll be for you. Some disorders (depression, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia) have gigantic placbo effects, up to 50%. The active drug may only work 10% better than the placebo. If you think you're epilepsy drug isn't going to work or it's going to have side effects because it's generic, you may well fulfill that prophecy. Visiting this forum and hearing others confirm your belief just compounds the problem. It isn't the generic drug that's the problem, it's the misinformation and perception - a powerful weapon not unrecognized by pharmaceutical companies that pour money into agencies like the American Academy of Neurology and the Epilepsy Foundation to promote brand name drugs. Suggestions by these organizations that generic drugs may be unsafe are completely groundless and based on anecdotal information, not good science. Politics and money, however, have trumped common sense even for many physicians on this topic.

My intent was not to offend anyone, only to educate. Take this information like you should take anything you read on the internet, with a good dose of skepticim.  I'm happy to personally communicate with anyone and provide you with information from the medical literature and the FDA that makes my point here.

Thanks

 

 

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