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All about: levetiracetam

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Generic Name: levetiracetam (lee ve tye RA se tam)
Brand Names: Keppra

What is levetiracetam?

Levetiracetam is an anti-epileptic drug.

Levetiracetam is used to treat partial onset seizures in people with epilepsy. Levetiracetam is also used to treat myoclonic seizures and tonic-clonic seizures.

Levetiracetam may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about levetiracetam?

Do not stop taking levetiracetam without first talking to your doctor, even if you feel better. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely. If you stop taking levetiracetam suddenly, you may have increased seizures. Carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet stating that you are taking levetiracetam, in case of emergency. Any doctor, dentist, or emergency medical care provider who treats you should know that you are taking levetiracetam. Levetiracetam can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking levetiracetam?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to levetiracetam.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have kidney disease. You may not be able to take levetiracetam, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Levetiracetam can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not give this medication to a child younger than 6 years old without the advice of a doctor.

How should I take levetiracetam?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the instructions on your prescription label.

Take the medication with a full glass of water.

Measure the liquid form of levetiracetam with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist where you can get one.

Levetiracetam can be taken with or without food.

It is important to use levetiracetam regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Do not stop taking levetiracetam without first talking to your doctor, even if you feel better. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely. If you stop taking levetiracetam suddenly, you may have increased seizures.

Seizures are often treated with a combination of different drugs. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor.

Carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet stating that you are taking levetiracetam, in case of emergency. Any doctor, dentist, or emergency medical care provider who treats you should know that you are taking levetiracetam.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Store levetiracetam at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical treatment if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of a levetiracetam overdose may include drowsiness, agitation, aggression, shallow breathing, weakness, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking levetiracetam?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of levetiracetam and may also increase the risk of seizures. Levetiracetam can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Avoid using other medicines that make you sleepy (such as cold medicine, pain medication, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression or anxiety). They can add to sleepiness caused by levetiracetam.

Levetiracetam side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • unusual thoughts or behavior;

  • anxiety, hallucinations;

  • feeling angry, hostile, or agitated;

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • weakness, lack of coordination; or

  • increasing or worsening seizures.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • dizziness;

  • drowsiness; or

  • depressed mood.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect levetiracetam?

There may be other drugs that can affect levetiracetam. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about levetiracetam written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Levetiracetam is available with a prescription under the brand name Keppra. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medicine, especially if it is new to you.

  • Keppra 250 mg--blue, oblong tablets

  • Keppra 500 mg--yellow, oblong tablets

  • Keppra 750 mg--orange, oblong tablets

  • Keppra oral solution 100 mg/mL-clear, colorless, grape-flavored liquid

  • 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.
  • 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 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.07. Revision Date: 04/25/2007 11:19:15 AM.

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