Active Ingredient History
Lamotrigine (marketed as Lamictal) is an anticonvulsant drug used in the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder. The precise mechanism(s) by which lamotrigine exerts its anticonvulsant action are unknown. In animal models designed to detect anticonvulsant activity, lamotrigine was effective in preventing seizure spread in the maximum electroshock (MES) and pentylenetetrazol (scMet) tests, and prevented seizures in the visually and electrically evoked after-discharge (EEAD) tests for antiepileptic activity. Lamotrigine also displayed inhibitory properties in the kindling model in rats both during kindling development and in the fully kindled state. The relevance of these models to human epilepsy, however, is not known. One proposed mechanism of action of lamotrigine, the relevance of which remains to be established in humans, involves an effect on sodium channels. In vitro pharmacological studies suggest that lamotrigine inhibits voltage-sensitive sodium channels, thereby stabilizing neuronal membranes and consequently modulating presynaptic transmitter release of excitatory amino acids (e.g., glutamate and aspartate). Effect of Lamotrigine on N-Methyl d-Aspartate-Receptor Mediated Activity Lamotrigine did not inhibit N-methyl d-aspartate (NMDA)-induced depolarizations in rat cortical slices or NMDA-induced cyclic GMP formation in immature rat cerebellum, nor did lamotrigine displace compounds that are either competitive or noncompetitive ligands at this glutamate receptor complex (CNQX, CGS, TCHP). The IC50 for lamotrigine effects on NMDA-induced currents (in the presence of 3 uM of glycine) in cultured hippocampal neurons exceeded 100 uM. The mechanisms by which lamotrigine exerts its therapeutic action in bipolar disorder have not been established. The mechanisms that underpin the passage of lamotrigine at the blood-brain barrier to its site of action in the brain is poorly understood. NCATS
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