Positive and negative psychotropic effects of lamotrigine in patients with epilepsy and mental retardation

Alan B. Ettinger, Deborah M. Weisbrot, Jennifer Saracco, Aliasgar Dhoon, Andres Kanner, Orrin Devinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe significant positive or negative psychotropic effects of lamotrigine (LTG) observed in epilepsy patients with mental retardation (MR). Methods: Seven mentally retarded epilepsy patients, [5 with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS)] who experienced significant behavioral improvements or worsening after addition of LTG to their medication regimen were studied. Results: LTG produced behavioral improvements in 4 patients. Patient 1, a 14-year-old girl, had LTG added to valproate (VPA) and thioridazine, resulting in diminished lethargy, less hyperactivity, and more appropriate speech. In a 17-year-old boy (patient 2) LTG added to VPA, phenytoin (PHT), and gabapentin (GBP) lessened irritability and hyperactivity. In patient 3, a 41-year-old woman, LTG added to PHT, VPA, and carbamazepine (CBZ) diminished lethargy and enhanced her social interactions. In patient 4, a 27-year-old man, LTG mono-therapy diminished irritability and hyperactivity. Adverse behavioral effects were noted in 3 patients. In patient 5, a 43-year-old man, LTG added to PHT, phenobarbital (PB), lorazepam, sertraline, and thioridazine produced irritability, hyperactivity, and poor cooperation. In patient 6, a 29-year-old woman, LTG added to VPA produced frequent screaming, temper tantrums, increased rocking movements, and hyperactivity. In patient 7, a 29-year-old man, LTG added to VPA and PHT resulted in severe exacerbation of baseline behaviors, including self- injurious activity, temper tantrums, and failure to obey simple instructions. Conclusions: In some patients with epilepsy and MR, LTG has significant positive or negative effects on behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)874-877
Number of pages4
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior
  • Epilepsy
  • Lamotrigine
  • Mental retardation
  • Psychotropic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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