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Posted by Little Sara on January 17, 2000 at 21:09:16:

In Reply to: Re: Insomnia attributed to Lamictal and Dilantin. posted by mjh on November 07, 1999 at 10:01:30:

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: : : : Hi!
: : : : This is my first time on the message board which I have been quietly following for some time now.

: : : : I am seeking comments from others regarding the issue of insomnia which can be attributed to Lamictal (Lamotrigine) and Dilantin. I first developed complex partial epilepsy in 1986 which has deteriorated since then to the point that it is now diagnosed as refractory. I have tried a large number of drugs including Tegretol, Epilium (Valproate or Depakote - 5000 mgs daily), Neurontin, Dilantin and finally Lamictal. I have experienced severe side effects and toxicity from the drugs (such that I could not stand up for parts of the day, slurred my speech and shook severely) and in turn all of the drugs have been suspended with the exception of Tegretol and and Lamictal. Currently I am on 2000 mgs of Tegretol in slow release form and 300 mgs of Lamictal with the object of being weaned progressively up to some 400 mgs or more of the Lamictal. The current regime seems to have helped me as I have been seizure free for 12 days and I want to stay on the Lamictal.

: : : : However, although the toxicity and the side effects have dimnished due to the slow release Tegretol and the gradual increase of the Lamictal allowing my body to accustom itself to the drugs I am experiencing severe insomnia. I attribute this to the Lamictal as I did not have it with the Tegretol and Epilium or Neurontin although I suffered badly with insomnia whilst on the Dilantin (15 hours sleep in 6 weeks). After taking the Lamictal at 7:00 pm in the evening I sleep from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm and then I just cannot sleep until 4:00 am when I sleep for another two hours. Naturally, I do not have any effect with the morning dose of Lamictal. It is driving me crazy!

: : : : As an aside I mention that from all research that I have done insomnia is not a generally acknowledged side effect of Lamictal or Dilantin.

: : : : Has any body experienced insomnia with Lamictal and Dilantin? And if so have you successfully countered the problem? I look forward to hearing of other's experiences.

: : : I've taken dilantin for over twenty years. Like yourself, I have experienced bouts of insomnia. I had always attributed my diffifulty obtaining sleep to other factors such as depression, anger, and exteme feelings of hopelessness. As a child, I didn't really encounter any in regards to obtaining rest. I'd always take a nap in the afternoon, right after school, rise, and then get right to with my homework and other tasks.

: : : As I grew older, however, I did note greater difficulty in obtaining sound sleep. I could lie down at 11:00 PM and not fall asleep until 2:30 AM or 3:00. When the alarm went off in the morning, I'd still feel tired even though I'd just risen from a seven hour slumber! The sleep disorder and its effects have spilled over into other areas of my life.

: : : Reggie

: : This is my first time to see this web site but glad I found it. My husband also has epilepsy and after being off all medication since his late 20's began having seizures again about 3 years ago. After trying different doctors and medications, he is also on Lamictal, now up to 600 mg per day, and has problems with insomnia also. Since he had some problems with this before taking Lamictal, we just attributed it to a sleep disorder or depression. He takes Percogesic which is an over-the-counter analgesic that seems to help a lot with his sleep. It does contain aspirin so you would have to be able to take aspirin. When he does not take 2 Percogesics, he experiences the same sleep patterns you both describe. This has helped him, maybe it will help you. We are also wondering if there are certain foods that have any affect on epilepsy or seizures. I haven't been able to find anything on that yet. Linda

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: : :
: Ladies
: My son has no sleep problems with Depakote/Lamictal combination BUT, I give himn milk thistle to help his liver, magnesium and B complex to support the nerves and a host of other herbs and supplements to help his body deal with the high doses of pharmaceuticals he is prescribed. And, yes, all his doctors know about this and I include all in a list along with the drugs.
: You might check into SAM-e, kava kava and St. John's wort.
: Some foods like caffeine irrate the nerves and Nutrasweet is suspected to trigger seizures. Good luck on your search.

RE: PERCOGESIC I'm sorry, but Linda is mistaken about PERCOGESIC containing aspirin. I've just checked the bottle in my medicine cabinet and it says quite plainly on the label that it is aspirin-free. It contains aceteminophen (the same dosage as taking 2 regular Tylenol) and a type of antihistemine that is not usually found in OTC sleep aids, pain-relief products, or cold/allergy medicines. My own experience with this product -- used for aching back and legs, and menstrual pain -- is that it does, indeed, induce sleep as do many antihistimines, and gives an additional relief in the form of muscle relaxant. Curious about the ingredients, I called the manufacturer several years ago. When I related to them the fact that PERCOGESIC helps relieve the aching legs phenomenon I have experienced occasionally since childhood, and when I commented that I could not see why an antihistimine would help this, they told me that they often hear similar anectdotal experiences from people who do find relief and don't know why. They told me that they don't really know why it works, either -- but it does. Note: if you live in a dry climate, you may find that taking PERCOGESIC regularly will cause some bleeding of nasal tissues as a result of dryness. You will probably also find that the more often you take PERCOGESIC, the less effective it will be. Walgreens always hat it in stock. Best price: Wal-Mart. Both Wal-Mart and K-Mart have carried a generic version of PERCOGESIC in the past, but do not seem to at the present time. It's worth checking on, though. Best of health.

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