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Lamotrigine and contraception

If you take lamotrigine

Types of contraception that may work for you

Barrier methods

All barrier methods may work for you. These include:

  • Caps
  • Condoms
  • The coil
  • Diaphragms
  • Femidoms

Hormonal contraception

The hormonal contraception that may work for you include:

Unplanned (emergency) contraception

The unplanned (emergency) contraception that may work for you include:

  • The morning-after pill
    • Levonorgestrel (Levonelle)
    • Ulipristal acetate (EllaOne)
  • The coil

Combined oral contraceptive pill (the Pill), contraceptive patch, and vaginal ring
Research on a small group of women has shown that the Pill, contraceptive patches and vaginal rings may reduce the amount of lamotrigine in the bloodstream. This would make you more at risk of having seizures. If you want to use any of these forms of contraception, talk to your doctor or epilepsy specialist. They may need to increase your dosage of lamotrigine.

Lamotrigine may make the Pill, contraceptive patches and vaginal rings work less well. This would make you more at risk of an unplanned pregnancy. For this reason, your doctor might advise you to use condoms as well, until they can be sure that the Pill, patch or ring would prevent you from getting pregnant. They can check if you are at risk of getting pregnant by giving you blood tests at certain times of the month. The blood tests show if you have stopped ovulating (releasing an egg) This means that you shouldn’t get pregnant. Or, the doctor may advise you to change to a different type of contraception.

Depo-Provera contraception injection
These can speed up bone loss, as can some epilepsy medicines. This may lead to a condition called osteoporosis, which causes bones to become thinner and more brittle, so they break more easily. For this reason, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has suggested that Depo-Provera injections should be used with caution by some women. These are women who are under 18 and women who are over 45. However, WHO also say that the advantages of using Depo-Provera generally outweigh the disadvantages.

If you are considering using Depo-Provera injections, it’s advisable to seek advice about osteoporosis from your doctor.

More information about epilepsy and osteoporosis.

Progestogen-only pill (the mini pill)
The mini pill only works well if you take it according to the instructions from your doctor. This usually means taking it at the same time each day. If you don’t there is a risk that you will get pregnant.

Types of contraception that are not recommended for you

Natural birth control

All types of natural birth control are not recommended.

Information about different types of contraception.

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated December 2015
  • Currently under review
Event Date: 
Friday 23 October 2015 - 12:42

Epilepsy Action would like to thank Beth Irwin, Epilepsy Nurse/Midwife at the UK Epilepsy and Pregnancy Register, Belfast, for her contribution to this information.

Beth Irwin has no conflict of interest to declare.

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