Generic Name: levetiracetam (LEE ve tye RA se tam)
Brand Name: Keppra, Keppra XR, Spritam
What is Keppra XR (levetiracetam)?
Levetiracetam is an anti-epileptic drug, also called an anticonvulsant.
Levetiracetam is used to treat partial onset seizures in adults and children who are at least 4 years old.
Levetiracetam is also used to treat tonic-clonic seizures in adults and children who are at least 6 years old, and myoclonic seizures in adults and children who are at least 12 years old.
Levetiracetam may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about Keppra XR (levetiracetam)?
Some people have thoughts about suicide when first taking this medicine. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Keppra XR (levetiracetam)?
You should not use levetiracetam if you are allergic to it.
To make sure levetiracetam is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
depression or other mood problems;
a history of mental illness or psychosis; or
a history of suicidal thoughts or actions.
You may have thoughts about suicide while taking this medicine. Tell your doctor if you have symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
Do not start or stop taking levetiracetam during pregnancy without your doctor's advice. Having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both mother and baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking levetiracetam for seizures.
Seizure control is very important during pregnancy. The benefit of preventing seizures may outweigh any risks posed by taking levetiracetam. There may be other seizure medications that can be more safely used during pregnancy. Follow your doctor's instructions about taking this medicine while you are pregnant.
Levetiracetam can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using levetiracetam.
Do not give this medicine to a child without the advice of a doctor. Your child's dose needs are based on age and weight. The child should remain under the care of a doctor while using levetiracetam.
How should I take Keppra XR (levetiracetam)?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Levetiracetam is usually taken once every 12 to 24 hours. Take the medicine at the same time each day. You may take levetiracetam with or without food.
If a child is using this medicine, tell your doctor if the child has any changes in weight. Levetiracetam doses are based on weight in children, and any changes may affect your child's dose.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.
To take the Spritam dissolvable tablet:
Keep the tablet in its blister pack until you are ready to take it. Open the package and peel back the foil. Do not push a tablet through the foil or you may damage the tablet.
Use dry hands to remove the tablet and place it on your tongue. Then take a sip of liquid and hold it in your mouth.
Do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth with the sip of liquid.
Swallow only after the tablet has completely dissolved, which should take less than 30 seconds.
Use levetiracetam regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
Do not stop using levetiracetam suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.
Seizures are often treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take levetiracetam. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take seizure medication.
While using levetiracetam, your kidney function may need to be tested often.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, agitation, aggression, shallow breathing, weakness, or fainting.
What should I avoid while taking Keppra XR (levetiracetam)?
Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of levetiracetam and may also increase the risk of seizures.
This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Keppra XR (levetiracetam) side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel agitated, hostile, irritable, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
unusual changes in mood or behavior (unusual risk-taking behavior, being irritable or talkative);
confusion, hallucinations, loss of balance or coordination;
extreme drowsiness, feeling very weak or tired;
bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness;
problems with walking or movement;
the first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild;
severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling; or
signs of infection--fever, swollen gums, painful mouth sores, pain when swallowing, skin sores, cold or flu symptoms, cough, trouble breathing.
Common side effects may include:
feeling aggressive or irritable;
loss of appetite;
stuffy nose; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Keppra XR (levetiracetam)?
Other drugs may interact with levetiracetam, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about Keppra XR (levetiracetam)
- Other brands: Spritam
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about levetiracetam.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 8.02.
Date modified: January 10, 2017
Last reviewed: March 10, 2016