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About Levetiracetam

Levetiracetam (lev-eh-teer-ASS-eh-tam) is the generic name (non-brand name) for the drug called Keppra (KEP-ruh). Keppra is a widely used seizure medicine from UCB. Keppra is available in many countries, but the name or look may be different.

Levetiracetam Is Approved For Use:

As add-on therapy (with other seizure medicines) for children 1 month of age and older and adults with focal (partial) seizures.

As add-on therapy for children 12 years and older and adults for treatment of myoclonic seizures from juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

As add-on therapy for children 6 years and older and adults with generalized onset tonic-clonic seizures from idiopathic primary generalized epilepsy.

How to Take:

Take levetiracetam exactly as your health care provider prescribes it. Do not change your dose without talking to your provider first. Stopping a seizure medicine suddenly can cause seizures that will not stop (status epilepticus).

Check the number of tablets and the strength of pills you get from the pharmacy. If your provider changes the dose, the strength of pills may be different.

Levetiracetam is usually taken twice a day, about 12 hours apart.

Swallow the tablets whole. They may have a bitter taste when the pill is crushed. 

People who have trouble swallowing the pills whole can break the tablets in half, mix the tablet with food, or use the liquid form.

Who should not take Levetiracetam ?

People should not take levetiracetam if they have had an allergic reaction to the drug or any of its inactive ingredients.

People with kidney disorders need to be extra careful, however. Levetiracetam may be given at a lower dose to prevent build up to a high level.

Side effects of Levetiracetam ?

In the early tests of levetiracetam, people who took this medicine were only slightly more likely to stop the drug because of side effects than people taking a placebo (inactive drug).

Some side effects may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Loss of strength and energy
  • Mood and behavior changes
  • Sleepiness

How does Levetiracetam affect the brain?

Brain cells normally talk to each other using electrical signals and chemicals. Seizures can happen when the brain cells are not working or firing normally or working faster than normal. Most seizure medicines slow down these electrical discharges to stop seizures.

Levetiracetam works differently from most seizure medicines. It joins with a protein (called SV2A) that is involved with the release of certain chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. The exact way that these actions lead to decreased seizures is not fully known