Compare Lamictal vs. desipramine

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Lamictal (Lamotrigine)

Prescription only

Norpramin (desipramine)

Prescription only
Prevents seizures and stabilizes mood.

Lamictal (Lamotrigine) is most useful for treating severe seizure disorders, and for bipolar disorder with more depression symptoms than manic symptoms. Just be careful to increase your dose slowly to avoid skin rash.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 184 reviewsforLamictal
Stabilizes your mood.

Norpramin (desipramine) is not a first choice for treating depression because of its effects on the heart, but it can be good if other medicines haven't worked.

Upsides
  • Effective at lowering the frequency of seizures in people with epilepsy or Lennox-Gestaut syndrome. Typically used together with other medications for severe seizure disorders.
  • Works best for partial, tonic-clonic, and absence seizures.
  • A first-line treatment for bipolar disorder. Effective long-term treatment for stabilizing mood. Prevents both depressive and manic episodes, but the effect is greater for preventing depression.
  • Doesn't require routine blood tests.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) is available in generic and in many different strengths, so the dose can be more customized.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) has fewer side effects than similar tricyclic antidepressants.
Downsides
  • Can cause double vision, dizziness, sleepiness, and headache.
  • Has the risk of a rare but life-threatening rash.
  • Can make hormonal birth control less effective.
  • Might be less effective than other medicines for treating manic episodes (acute mania) in people with bipolar disorder.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) isn't recommended if you or your family has heart disease, seizures, or glaucoma.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) isn't a first choice for depression because it has more side effects than other antidepressants.
  • In some people, Norpramin (desipramine) can make you sleepy. In other people, Norpramin (desipramine) can keep you awake.
  • If you have diabetes, Norpramin (desipramine) can make your blood sugar go up.
  • Not recommended in children under 12 years of age.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
184 reviews so far
66%
saidit'sworth it
58%
saiditworked well
18%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
36possible side effects
  • Dizziness
    38%
  • Headache
    28%
  • Diplopia
    28%
  • Ataxia
    22%
  • Nausea
    19%
  • Blurred vision
    16%
  • Somnolence
    14%
  • Rhinitis
    14%
  • Pharyngitis
    10%
  • Rash
    10%
  • Vomiting
    9%
  • Cough increased
    8%
  • Flu syndrome
    7%
  • Dysmenorrhea
    7%
  • Fever
    6%
  • Diarrhea
    6%
  • Incoordination
    6%
  • Insomnia
    6%
  • Abdominal pain
    5%
  • Dyspepsia
    5%
  • Constipation
    4%
  • Tremor
    4%
  • Depression
    4%
  • Anxiety
    4%
  • Vaginitis
    4%
  • Convulsion
    3%
  • Irritability
    3%
  • Speech disorder
    3%
  • Pruritus
    3%
  • Vision abnormality
    3%
  • Neck pain
    2%
  • Reaction aggravated (seizure exacerbation)
    2%
  • Anorexia
    2%
  • Arthralgia
    2%
  • Concentration disturbance
    2%
  • Amenorrhea
    2%
See more detailed side effects
The Norpramin (desipramine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression
  • Serious skin rash
    • People also taking Depakote
    • Taking more than the prescribed dose
    • Increasing the dose too quickly
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Blood disorders
  • Meningitis
  • Interactions with birth control pills
    • Taking birth control pills
  • Withdrawal seizures
    • Stopping Lamictal (Lamotrigine) suddenly
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Higher risk of suicide
    • People under age 24
  • Possible bipolar disorder
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • Tricyclic antidepressants
    • Fentanyl
    • Tramadol
    • Buspirone
    • ADHD medicines
    • Triptans
  • Changes to the heartbeat
    • History of heart disease
  • Higher risk for seizures
    • History of seizures
    • History of brain damage or alcohol withdrawal
See more detailed risks and warnings