Lamictal Is An Aromatase Inhibitor

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Pojo Jigong Says:


Hey all -

I've been on Lamictal for about 8 months (bipolar) and I titrated up to 200mg, except during the jump from 150-200mg I quit smoking cigarettes and marijuana at almost precisely the same time I upped the Lamictal dose.

I read in some medical literature that nicotine suppresses the effectiveness of Lamictal, and I can only speculate about the marijuana/Lamictal relationship.

So there I was thinking that I was taking 150mg, but while smoking, my body probably wasn't absorbing/utilizing that much (quantitative difference? not sure). From the dose jump, 150-200mg, I noticed a vast increase in the substantiality of side effects that Lamictal proposed upon me from the get-go. Light headedness, word-finding problems, difficultly reading/spelling, handwriting and math out the window, etc. This was probably due to the cessation of smoking (which increased my absorption of my then-current sustained 150mg dose) in addition to the increase in dose to 200mg.

One of the worst side effects for me, a 28 year old male, has been oily skin. This is fairly trivial, I know, however small annoyances add up. What dawned on me is that our skin projects our internal health, and the only changes had been the Lamictal. Therefore, to me, more Lamictal equated to more oiliness. Based on the knowledge I have about our hormonal system, and the necessary balances, I decided to do some digging. (So odd, as I am writing this I had a deja vu, and then another deja vu about having a deja vu; unrelated but odd!) I digress, after doing some research and reading forums and blogs online, I came to notice many women were experiencing issues in relation to their birth-control/Lamictal dosages. This was puzzling to me, then again not really.

I know that in some way Lamictal had to be affecting hormones in women, and if in women then why not in men? Finally, a touch of cognizance! After stumbling upon the potential connection between Lamictal and androgenic pathway changes, what did I discover?

Lamictal is, without question an AI, (no, not the scary machines destined to eliminate all humanity as we know it) with a curtailment of scientific data to which such information might be illuminated and examined.

AI in this case equals Aromatase Inhibitor. Basically, it reduces serum estrogen/estradiol levels at the conversion point. This in turn leaves androgens such as testosterone, DHT (and many other hormones that coalesce through the androgen pathway) to be elevated, or worked out of balance in some form or another. Just as birth control is a synthetic estrogen, Lamictal has AI properties, now THIS explains something.

Symptoms of fatigue, achiness, low libido, general sense of unwell-being? Yep, that's a sign, for men, their estrogen and specific estradiols are tanked. There are also side effects from having too high of estrogen/estradiol, and for men they can amount from feeling like a 16 year old girl during her period, to “b**** tits”. Alas, oily skin isn't the only factor here, moods have a huge tendency to fluctuate with altered hormones. (PMS, roid-rage)! The end-result of lower estrogen (from the Lamictal's AI effects) is a natural increase in Testosterone, free or otherwise, which is a direct link to the excess oil secretion.

A study that points towards Lamictal, and other anticonvulsants to have AI properties. rbej.com/content/9/1/92

In conclusion, I believe that through my oily skin, I have discovered some serious health concerns that should not be overlooked when considering whether to use Lamictal; not only pertaining to mental health, but potentially direct physical disservices. The same can be said about Lithium and the thyroid, and birth control in general.

I'm not anti-medication, and I'm not looking for an excuse to cease my Lamictal (although some days I think the side effects do me worse than my bipolar), nor am I interesting in swaying anyone opinions about their therapy choices. I do find it important to share, and so that's why I posted this. I hope someone can benefit from reading this post.

Note: I intend to schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist to undergo blood testing for a full hormone panel, then update this thread with my findings. Then I can confirm, and to which degree, my speculations about the implications that Lamictal may have on body chemistry.



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Verwon Says:

Hello, Pojo! How are you?

Any medication you take for a long period of time is going to have some effect on your body chemistry, they really have to do so, in order to serve their intended purpose.

If you aren't sure what all the possible effects are, then you need to read the detailed side effect information.

Are there any other questions or concerns?

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Pojo Jigong Says:

My post wasn't a question. It is for informational purposes intended to help others, based on my own experiences and discoveries. There is very little information about Lamictal and it's AI properties, and it's common for drugs to have unlisted side effects that are deemed extraneous.

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Bipolar pimple Says:
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Hey Pojo. Have you made any progress with your theory? I've bee on lamictal for 4 years and mine skin has been awful the entire time. I've had bad skin my whole life, but never as oily and as many clogged pores as while on lamictal. my dermatologist said she has had patience complain about mood stabilizers causing acne, but didn't really elaborate. I would be grateful to know if you found anything that helped.

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Lucky Cat Liz Says:

I, too am experiencing unacceptable side effects from Lamictal - after a month's exposure at the current dose of 50 mg daily. Scalp dryness and itching and scalp bumps on the back of my head. Blurred vision. Loss of words and thoughts during conversations. Loss of energy, strength and endurance during weight training workouts. Corresponding physical exhaustion during the day requiring a nap (so uncharacteristic an event - it has never before occurred).

My diagnosis - over the last twenty-five years, has run the gambit from Schizo-affective Disorder with Psychotic Features, ADHD, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and now - some weirdly manifesting variant of BP to include: manic - very raw, pointless energy output, a propensity to lash out with anger at specific triggers, procrastination until crisis, difficulty sustaining tasks to completion - among other debilitating problems I really can't remember right now.

The only option I see, at this point, is to withdraw from the Lamical. This is my first experience with any mood stabilizer. Previous med's included Abilify (unacceptable association with Diabetes formation and brain fog), Adderall and many anti-anxiety med's - all of which provided incredible sources of grievous side effects - thought to be part of my problem. I was able to let them all go at great profit to my courage and clarity of thought.

Not that the Lamictal is completely without redeeming qualities. I am far and away in its debt for my current experiences with sustained and positively directed activities. In a word - I can get things done! What a shame to lose this bit of wonderment.

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Chris Says:

Lamotrigine is NOT an AI it's the complete opposite. Ever since I started taking it I have had gyno and it keeps getting worse. I actually have to take a strong AI (letro) to counter act it until it shrinks up. Get your facts straight.

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Unsuretotake Says:

The question I can't find an answer to is - does lamotrigine heightened or lower estrogen levels? I feel my estrogen is high already. I just got prescribed this med am afraid to take it. Too much estrogen makes me very nutty & gain weight real fast.

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