Compare Lamictal vs. desipramine

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

Lamictal
(lamotrigine)

Norpramin
(desipramine)

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.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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.11Lamictal
Reviews for Lamictal
66%
of people (All ages) say Lamictal is worth it
58%
say it works well
18%
say it's a big hassle
184 reviews
Have you used Lamictal (lamotrigine)?
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Have you used Norpramin (desipramine)?
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Side effects
Lamictaldesipramine
  • Dizziness 25%
  • Headache 9%
  • Diplopia 21%
  • Ataxia 16%
  • Nausea 9%
  • Blurred vision 11%
  • Rhinitis 5%
  • Somnolence 7%
  • Pharyngitis 1%
  • Rash 5%
More Lamictal side effects »

The desipramine FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about desipramine side effects »
How it works
Lamictaldesipramine
Lamictal (Lamotrigine) is an antiepileptic. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to calm nerve activity in the brain.Norpramin (desipramine) is a tricyclic antidepressant. It increases the amount of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain, two chemicals that regulate mood.
Type of medication
Lamictaldesipramine
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
Lamictaldesipramine
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Pill
Used for
Lamictaldesipramine
Risk factors for serious side effects
Lamictaldesipramine
  • History of depression
  • People also taking Depakote
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Increasing the dose too quickly
  • Taking birth control pills
Detailed Lamictal (lamotrigine) risks & warnings »
  • People under age 24
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Fentanyl
  • Tramadol
  • Buspirone
Detailed Norpramin (desipramine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

Food
Lamictaldesipramine
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
No food related info.
Upsides and benefits
Lamictaldesipramine
  • 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 and risks
Lamictaldesipramine
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
Lamictaldesipramine
  • Follow dose adjustments set by your doctor to minimize skin rash.
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
  • Report rash, blurry vision, fever, persistent headache, or neck stiffness to your doctor.
  • Makes hormonal birth control less effective.
  • Takes 4 to 6 weeks to feel full effects on mood.
  • Don't drive or do anything requiring concentration until you know how Norpramin (desipramine) affects you since it can make you feel sleepy.
  • Talk to your doctor right away if your mood suddenly darkens and you want to hurt yourself while taking Norpramin (desipramine).
  • If you're being switched to Norpramin (desipramine) from monoamine oxidase inhibitors, you'll need to wait 2 weeks before you can start it.
  • Don't stop taking Norpramin (desipramine) suddenly without talking to your doctor first.
Learn more
More about LamictalSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Lamictal (lamotrigine)?
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More about desipramineSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Norpramin (desipramine)?
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