Lamictal During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

by on May 16, 2012

Can Pregnant Women Take Lamictal?

Lamictal (Lamotrigine) may not be safe for pregnant women, although current studies are limited to determine the full risks of this medication. Studies conducted to look into the potential effects of Lamictal in pregnancy have shown that this drug may cause few problems.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Lamictal as a Pregnancy Category C medication. This means that the drug has not been fully studied in pregnant women but animal studies suggest that it can cause harm on the unborn fetus.

Animal reproduction studies conducted on Lamictal have shown that large doses of medication can result in low fetal weight and retarded skeletal development. Rat samples that were given Lamictal dose have an increased risk of miscarriage. Furthermore, Lamictal has been associated with a reduction in folic acid which is essential in fetal development. Because of the decreased folic acid, there is an increased risk for birth defects. However, animal studies have not shown such adverse effect.

If the healthcare provider believes that the benefits of taking Lamictal outweigh its potential risks, the medication may be prescribed during pregnancy. To prevent possible birth defects, a slightly higher dose of folic acid may be administered together with this antiepileptic drug.

You can share your experience about using Lamictal during pregnancy through the Lamictal Pregnancy Exposure Registry. This service aims to collect information about the potential effects of Lamictal on pregnancy. The information gathered would be beneficial in determining the possible adverse effects of this drug in pregnant women. If you want to be part of this program, you can discuss it with your healthcare provider.

If you become pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking Lamictal, be sure to inform your healthcare provider right away. Your healthcare provider should consider the potential risks and benefits of taking this drug during pregnancy. Depending in your particular situation, your healthcare provider may recommend continuing or discontinuing this medication.

Can Breastfeeding Women Take Lamictal?

Studies suggest that small amounts of Lamictal are excreted into the human milk; therefore the manufacturer does not recommend this drug for breastfeeding women. It is important to discuss with your physician the potential benefits and risks of using this medication while breastfeeding.

As of date, there are limited data about the potential negative effects of Lamictal on the nursing infant. If your healthcare provider prescribes you with Lamictal while breastfeeding, be sure to monitor for possible side effects in the breastfed child. If your child displays any unwanted reaction to the drug, contact your healthcare provider right away.

Feel free to discuss with your healthcare provider breastfeeding and Lamictal.

Each patient experience a different situation, and your healthcare provider is in the best position to give you appropriate recommendation. Usually, Lamictal is considered only if there are no other alternatives. On the other hand, breastfeeding proves to be very beneficial for the infant as such should not be discontinued. Your healthcare provider must consider these points when deciding whether to continue or discontinue breastfeeding.