Lamictal & Acne
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Q:  Lamictal & Acne

Dear Dr. Phelps,

Do you know if Lamictal can cause acne? I have been prescribed this drug and besides the rash scare there seems to be a lot of people out there on message boards who complain it caused acne (sometimes even the cystic type that they didn't have before taking the medicine. If this is true, it'll probably be the deal breaker for me as I already struggle with acne problems.


Dear Michelle --

Unfortunately, this is true: acne is listed in the official Prescribing Information from the manufacturer as having occurred in their research trials less than 5% of the time, but more than 1%, and more often than on placebo (the reference: page 37 of
this PDF). I am sure that I have prescribed Lamictal over 500 times, probably while more than that, so on this basis I should have seen at least five patients, probably more like 10 or more, who are having trouble with acne because of the medication. I have only had one, at least that I recognized as such. I'm not sure that means we need to be less concerned than the data in their clinical trials would suggest, but it does suggest that their numbers are not underestimates. In other words, this is a recognized problem, but it is not at all common. You could ask your dermatologist whether this represents some sort of risk in terms of your acne. 

Dr. Phelps

Published September, 2007


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