Lamotrigine for bipolar disorder
- Elvera Stow
- Aust Prescr 2011;34:80
- 1 June 2011
- DOI: 10.18773/austprescr.2011.050
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Could you please review listing lamotrigine on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as a treatment for bipolar disorder. Lamotrigine is a well established mood stabiliser and maintenance treatment for bipolar disorder. Patients with this severe mental illness have to pay $80 to $200 a month for this medication. These patients are very often unable to work due to their illness and this treatment is out of the reach of many.
Narre Warren, Vic.
Lamotrigine is currently listed on the PBS for treatment of epileptic seizures which are not adequately controlled by other antiepileptic drugs. Of the eleven brands of lamotrigine currently listed, none have marketing approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for use in bipolar disorder.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) has previously considered several submissions for a brand of lamotrigine that has TGA marketing approval for prevention of depressive episodes in patients with bipolar disorder, most recently in March 2005. However, it has not been provided with the necessary evidence to show cost-effectiveness in this patient group and therefore lamotrigine has not been recommended for PBS listing for this indication. The manufacturer is welcome to submit further information for consideration by the PBAC at any time.
The PBAC meets three times a year in March, July and November. Since July 2005, Public Summary Documents providing information of the PBAC's deliberations for major and selected minor submissions have been published on the website approximately four months after each meeting at: www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/public-summary-documents-by-meeting. You may wish to consult these pages for details of PBAC submissions.
General practitioner, Narre Warren, Vic.