US Brand Names
Levetiracetam (lev-a-tir-ASS-a-tam) is used to help control some types of seizures in the treatment of epilepsy. This medicine cannot cure epilepsy and will only work to control seizures for as long as you continue to take it.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage forms:
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For levetiracetam the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to levetiracetam. Also tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Levetiracetam has not been studied in pregnant women. However, studies in animals have shown that levetiracetam causes birth defects. Before taking this medicine, make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant.
It is not known whether levetiracetam passes into breast milk. Although most medicines pass into breast milk in small amounts, many of them may be used safely while breast-feeding. Mothers who are taking this medicine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor.
Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of levetiracetam in children with use in other age groups.
This medicine has been tested in a limited number of patients 65 years of age and older and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of levetiracetam. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
• Kidney problems-Higher blood levels of levetiracetam may occur, which may increase the chance of unwanted effects; your doctor may need to change your dose.
Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor, to help your condition as much as possible. Do not take it more or less often than your doctor ordered.
Levetiracetam may be taken with or without food or on a full or empty stomach. However, if your doctor tells you to take the medicine a certain way, take it exactly as directed.
The dose of levetiracetam will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of levetiracetam. If your dose is different , do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is less than 2 hours until your next dose, take the missed dose right away, and take the next dose 1 to 2 hours later. Then go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
To store this medicine:
• Keep out of the reach of children.
• Store away from heat and direct light.
• Do not store in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down.
• Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Ask your health care professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.
It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits, especially for the first few months you take levetiracetam. This is necessary to allow dose adjustments and to reduce any unwanted effects.
This medicine may cause some people to become drowsy, dizzy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or are not alert
Do not stop taking levetiracetam without first checking with your doctor. Stopping the medicine suddenly may cause your seizures to return or to occur more often. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping completely.
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Clumsiness or unsteadiness; cough or hoarseness; crying; depersonalization; depression; double vision; fever or chills; headache; loss of memory or problems with memory; lower back or side pain; mood or mental changes; nervousness; outburst of anger; pain or tenderness around eyes and cheekbones; painful or difficult urination; paranoia; problems with muscle control or coordination; quick to react or overreact; rapidly changing emotional moods; shortness of breath or troubled breathing,; stuffy or runny nose; tightness of chest or wheezing.
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome.
Cough; dizziness; dryness or soreness of throat; fever; hoarseness; loss of strength or energy; muscle pain or weakness; pain; runny nose; sleepiness or unusual drowsiness; tender, swollen glands in neck; trouble in swallowing; unusual weak feeling; voice changes.
Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles," or tingling feelings; cough increased; dizziness or light-headedness; feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings; loss of appetite; sensation of spinning; weight loss; ,.
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
April 14, 2000