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Keppra Patient Tips

Medically reviewed on Nov 24, 2017 by C. Fookes, BPharm

How it works

  • Keppra is a brand (trade) name for levetiracetam. Experts aren't sure exactly how levetiracetam works but suggest it dampens down excessive nerve firing and reduces seizure propagation, possibly through an impact on pathways involving calcium, glycine, and GABA.
  • Keppra belongs to the class of medicines known as anticonvulsants (also called antiepileptics).

Upsides

  • Used in combination with other anticonvulsants for the treatment of partial onset seizures in adults and children over the age of one month, for generalized tonic-clonic seizures in adults and children over the age of six, and for the treatment of myoclonic seizures in adults and adolescents over the age of 12.
  • Does not require monitoring of blood concentrations.
  • Available as oral tablets, extended-release tablets (Keppra-XR) and as an oral solution.
  • Usually taken once or twice daily.
  • Keppra is available as a generic under the name levetiracetam.

Downsides

If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • Drowsiness which may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. Avoid alcohol.
  • A lack of energy, aggression, nasal congestion, headache, decreased appetite, infection, dizziness, pain, sore throat, depression, and nervousness have also been reported.
  • Young children may be more likely than adults to experience side effects such as overactivity or agitation, a decreased appetite, or nasal congestion while taking Keppra.
  • As with other antiepileptics, Keppra may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. Monitor for worsening depression or mood changes. Keppra may also cause behavioral problems such as aggression, anxiety, irritability, and nervousness; advise people taking Keppra to monitor their mood.
  • The dosage of Keppra needs reducing in people with kidney disease.
  • May not be suitable for some people including those with kidney disease, with a history of mental health problems, who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • May interact with some medications, such as propoxyphene, buprenorphine, and sedating antihistamines; however, generally, less likely to interact with other medications than some other anticonvulsants.
  • In children aged 1 month to 4 years, Keppra has been associated with an increase in blood pressure.
  • Alcohol may worsen the side effects of Keppra such as drowsiness and dizziness.

Notes: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. For a complete list of all side effects, click here.

Bottom Line

Keppra is an anticonvulsant that is used in conjunction with other medications for the treatment of certain types of seizure. May cause drowsiness but it is less likely than some other anticonvulsants to interact with other medications.

Tips

  • Keppra may be given with or without food.
  • Take exactly as directed. Do not increase or decrease the dose without your doctor's advice.
  • If you are giving Keppra solution to a child or taking it yourself, use the dosing syringe provided or a properly calibrated liquid measure (these can be bought from a drug-store). Do not use a kitchen teaspoon.
  • Extended-release tablets should be swallowed whole. Do not crush, chew or break.
  • When it comes time to discontinue Keppra, your doctor will advise you on a slowly tapering dosing schedule. Do not just stop it suddenly unless your doctor has advised you that a rapid withdrawal is justified.
  • Talk to your doctor if you feel like your mood has changed for the worse or you have any thoughts about suicide or self-harm. Keppra may also cause aggression, anxiety, depression, and irritability.
  • Keppra may cause drowsiness or coordination difficulties and affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. Avoid alcohol.
  • Talk to your doctor immediately if you develop a rash or any other worrying side effects while taking Keppra.

Response and Effectiveness

  • Keppra is rapidly and almost completely absorbed after oral administration. It reduces seizure frequency by about half in 20 to 40% of people who take it.
  • Keppra tablets and oral solution are absorbed to the same extent.

References

Keppra (levetiracetam) [Package Insert]. Revised 08/2017. UCB, Inc. https://www.drugs.com/pro/keppra.html

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Keppra only for the indication prescribed.

Copyright 1996-2018 Drugs.com. Revision Date: 2017-11-23 21:46:05

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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