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I'm Ben, I have been diagnosed with epilepsy in December last year and have been having seizures every 3 months or so, have had 4 (including the first one) so far, the last one being a week ago.

I'm taking Lamictal at 300mg now (gradually increasing from 250mg) as the doctor instructed me to increase the dose up to 400mg if the seizures continue.

I had my last seizure at the beach (two minutes after getting out of the water, I guess I got lucky although my book got wet!) on some jagged rocks so I got banged up pretty good, broken nose and the doctor at the ER was sure I just had a motorcycle accident.
All the seizures came at very stressful times, the first one a few months after losing my dad, the second after moving to a new country on my own etc. so I'm guessing that stress is a factor.

Last time I ended up at the ER the doctor wanted to start me on Tegretol but I told him I'd rather speak to the doctor who has been taking care of me until today. I'm a bit afraid to receive treatment here since I don't really know what their approach is and somehow it seems irresponsible to change my meds like this at the ER without knowing my history. My neurologist at home told me that his objective is to get me to live a completely normal life, to the point where my mother asked him if it's OK that I drink so he told her I should be doing whatever I want to be doing and she should have a glass of red wine every evening.
I barely have any side effects from the Lamictal, just some headaches and I'd rather try to stay on one med, I guess it does less damage and it's easier to manage.
Does anyone have experience mixing Lamictal with Tegretol? I heard some bad things about Tegretol. Someone told me that it reacts really badly with alcohol. I'm not an alcoholic but I like to drink, and I'm in Italy so no question about wine.


You were lucky with the water it could have been a lot worse really, I am not saying what happened was not bad. Good idea not letting another doctor give you something when he does not know your history. Yes I would say stress is a factor for you, looks that way. There are a few other things you might want to do as well. I was on Lamictal and Tegretol they did not mix that well for me but there were no major side effects. Drink with any medication is not a good idea anyway, but some if not all of the medication you can get put on is strong so really you need to use your own judgement. We all have bad stories about some medication we were on and a lot can be the same, but this is the catch, what suits me may not suit you or it can. It can be trial and error with these things. As for the damage caused well you could get into a debate on that. You are eventualy going to have to find a doctor and neurologist in Italy.
I'm in a bit of a grey-zone insurance wise, I have emergency insurance through the state but no one will insure me because of the epilepsy, I'm looking for a solution because I plan to be here for the next few years, I just got into med-school :)

Oh, the insurance, you got problems there. Ok, question for you. When do you get your seizures Day or Night - important you are honest best you can, not with me but yourself, you are going to have to talk to your neurologist at home and explain things first, you will need a letter from him, this letter will depend on you and what you say - then start all over again looking for insurance or he if your lucky could have an idea. Glad you got med-school.
I'm going to go on Monday to the national insurance, I have a bit of a strange status here so they might be able to help, theoretically I should get the same services as a citizen the only question is how many problems I'll have on the way.

And I always get the seizures in the afternoon.

They will probably ask you for the letter I was talking about. Sorry and you will probably come across a couple of problems.
Hi Ben,

I am also new here. I am sorry for your fall but glad to hear that you got to the ER and are safe. I'm also happy to read that you had a doctor back home with such a positive outlook. I bet you can find one there too but do understand about costs limiting your options.

I am still new to seizures and don't know how to answer about that specific medicine, but I know that hospitals limit the variey brands on hand for a number of reasons (e.g. continuity, teaching, costs...) whereas the doctors might actually use the same drugs/protocols as your doctor with their ongoing care patients. (Your drug might have a different brand name there.)

No matter what PLEASE let the doctor who has been treating you know that you are there without insurance and will only be receiving emergency care, most likely with different medications. He can help.

P.S. Congratulations on medical school! Since you are smart... can you tell me how you posted this? LOL I joined. I'm approved. I see my user name on the top right but when I try to make a new topic to introduce myself it just makes me sign in again and again or tells me I'm not authorized. How did you make this post? I feel really stupid.
Haha giveasmile strange strange loop you have there, I'm not the right person to ask though, maybe some problem with the permissions on your account. I bet there's a webmaster out there just waiting to solve your problem.
Right now I'm planning on getting a GP for prescriptions here and I'll keep going to the neurologist back at home. I'll come back a couple of times a year anyway and I really like his outlook.
Generics have never been a problem for me and the active ingredient is the same wherever I go. I switched to Lamogine from Lamictal because the pack is a bit narrower and it fits better into my wallet so I'll be fine with whatever they prescribe here.
I worked with doctors for a few years and I've noticed that Russian doctors have a great approach sometimes. It's the "dirty & simple" which does wonders. The neurologist I went to before basically told me to lead the life of a 65 year old, while this one just said he'd give me as much medicine as needed so I can do whatever I want.
Hi Ben, welcome to CWE!

I'm on Lamotrigine (150mg/day), and have no problem consuming alcohol -- in moderation of course, but a few glasses of wine don't seem to affect me negatively. I have no experience with Tegretol in that regard, or with the Tegretol/Lamictal mix. When it comes to alcohol, it's best to play it safe until you know how your body reacts. Make sure you have food in your stomach, drink plenty of water, etc. The main result from combining alcohol and AEDs is that the sedative effect is multiplied. For some folks though, the alcohol can also lower seizure threshold, so proceed with caution.

LOL I joined. I'm approved. I see my user name on the top right but when I try to make a new topic to introduce myself it just makes me sign in again and again or tells me I'm not authorized. How did you make this post? I feel really stupid.

giveasmile -- I set up a new thread for you in The Foyer. Not sure what the sign-in issues is about. You may find some answers here:
Hi Ben w

I'm sorry you have been having s hard time and you had a lucky escape, gosh that must have given you s fright!

It's good that you have come here you can definately get lots of info and support from everyone here. I have tuberose sclerosis complex and I took Tegretol for 21 years and I found that it caused me to be very drowsy without having alcohol, so when I did drink all I would feel like doing is going to sleep. I don't know anything about your other medicine but if you are unsure about mixing them and drinking maybe ask a pharmacist.

I know that on Tegretol you have to not have any grapefruit and they told me to stay out of the sun but I still went out into the sunshine and I'm fine :)

Also because of the drowsy effects it can cause you have to be careful driving and operating machinery. I hope that helps !!
I can still increase my dose a couple of times up to 400mg a day, if I have two more seizures I'll reach it.
My neurologist told me to talk to him if I do, so right now I'm going to ignore the ER neurologist who wanted to add the Tegretol.
I just hope the Lamictal will keep going OK for me side-effects wise, and control the seizures completely. I increased another 25mg today (At 300mg now) and have been feeling pretty awful all day. I hope I can get used to this dose.

Thanks everyone for the good advice.

The lamictal will take a bit of getting used to, I had that awful feeling as well at the start.
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