Compare Lithium vs. Lamictal

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

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Lithobid (Lithium)

Prescription only

Lamictal (Lamotrigine)

Prescription only
Stabilizes mood.

Lithobid (Lithium) is the most effective long-term treatment for bipolar disorder, but it comes with a lot of side effects, so it can be difficult to take.

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
Upsides
  • A first-line, long-term treatment for bipolar disorder. Effective at stabilizing mood and preventing relapse.
  • For manic episodes (acute mania), more effective when taken together with an antipsychotic medicine.
  • The only drug proven (so far) to lower the risk of suicide, possibly because it lowers aggressiveness and impulsivity.
  • 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.
Downsides
  • Has many short- and long-term side effects.
  • The dose for it to work well is very close to the amount that causes overdose, so you have to be careful, watch out for symptoms, and get help immediately if you accidentally take too much.
  • Probably not safe if you have kidney problems.
  • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
  • Requires routine blood tests to see how the medicine is affecting your body.
  • 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.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Oral solution
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
Price
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Reviews
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184 reviews so far
66%
saidit'sworth it
58%
saiditworked well
18%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
The Lithobid (Lithium) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
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
Risks and risk factors
  • Overdose
    • Low sodium
    • Dehydration
    • Drug interactions (diuretics, ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs like ibuprofen)
  • Pregnancy
  • Driving impairment
    • Alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Reduced kidney function
    • Long-term use
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • 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