Levetiracetam medicine is an anticonvulsant used in the treatment of epilepsy.
Uses of Levetiracetam
It is used in treating various forms of epilepsy i.e., partial-onset epilepsy, myoclonic epilepsy (short, shock-like jerks of a muscle or group of muscles), also used for generalized tonic-clonic seizures in patients of epilepsy....
Contraindications of Levetiracetam
When should one not use Levetiracetam
- Known allergy (hypersensitivity) to Levetiracetam
- Kidney disease
- Decrease in blood cells, decreased white blood cells
- Having suicidal thoughts and mental disorders(loss of personality and reality)
Side effects of Levetiracetam
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Inflammation of nose and throat
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Loss of appetite
- Hyper movements, mental disorders, outbursts of anger
- Vomiting, nausea
- Vertigo (sensation of rotation)
- Irritability, emotional changes
- Flu-like symptoms, a rash on the face followed by an extended rash, fever, increased levels of liver enzymes seen in blood tests and an increase in a type of white blood cell (eosinophilia) and enlarged lymph nodes (Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms [DRESS])...
- Mood and behavior change like confusion, loss of memory, memory impairment, forgetfulness, abnormal behavior
Precautions and Warnings of Levetiracetam
Can I take Levetiracetam during pregnancy?
This medicine should not be taken in pregnancy unless it is considered necessary by your doctor. Discuss with your doctor if you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy.
Can I take Levetiracetam while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment as Levetiracetam passes into human milk. However, if advised by your doctor to continue breastfeeding, the baby must be watched for symptoms like drowsiness, adequate weight gain, and developmental milestones.
Can I drive if I have consumed Levetiracetam?
You should avoid driving as it may make you feel sleepy.
Can I consume alcohol with Levetiracetam?
Alcohol can increase the side effects of Levetiracetam, such as dizziness, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, impairment in thinking, and judgment. Alcohol should be avoided when you are taking this drug.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- Have a suicidal tendency
- If you have kidney disease or you are on hemodialysis
- You have any history of blood-related abnormalities
- Do not stop the medicine abruptly. Your doctor shall gradually decrease the dose of the medication before stopping
Mode of Action of Levetiracetam
How Does It Work?
Brain cells usually 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 usual. Levetiracetam joins with a protein that is involved with the release of certain chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. It is assumed that this medicine works by slowing down the abnormal nerve impulses in the brain....
Interactions of Levetiracetam
Interactions with other medicines
It has interactions with numerous drugs. Do not take any medications without consulting your doctor. There are major interactions seen with Acetaminophen, Methotrexate, Propoxyphene, Aspirin, Caffeine, Buprenorphine, Naloxone, and Sodium Oxybate....
Dosage of Levetiracetam
Drowsiness is the highest recorded overdose symptom. Other than drowsiness, agitation, aggression, depressed level of consciousness, inability to breath, and coma have also been recorded as overdose symptoms. Seek emergency medical care immediately if you think you have taken too much of this drug....
Missed a Dose
If any dose missed by you, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is time for the next dose, then skip the missed dose and go back to your usual schedule. Avoid taking two dosages at the same time or taking extra dosages....
Dr. Ravi Kakarla
Dr. Ritu Budania
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: When and how to consume the medicine?
A: Swallow the tablet whole with water. The oral solution should be used in pediatric patients with a bodyweight of 20 kg or less. For pediatric patients, for dispensing the oral solution in weight-based dosing, a calibrated measuring device should be used (not just any household teaspoon or tablespoon). Take this drug precisely as advised by the physician. Do not stop taking or reduce or increase the doses on your own.
Q: What should I discuss with my healthcare expert before taking this medicine?
A: Give a detailed account of your medical and surgical history. You must tell your doctor if you have a suicidal tendency or kidney disease, or if you are on hemodialysis or any history of hematological abnormalities. Also, mention to your doctor all the prescription and non-prescription medicines, herbal preparations, and nutritional supplements that you may be taking before starting this medication.
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