In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for levetiracetam, trade name KeppraTM and Keppra XRTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Levetiracetam is an anti-seizure medication. This medication helps restore chemical balance to the brain. This medication is used to prevent and control various types of seizures.
This medication is sometimes used to treat other conditions. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you are prescribed this medication to treat something that is not listed here.
Levetiracetam comes both in an immediate release tablet and an extended-release form. Both forms should be taken with a full glass of water and may be taken with or without food. Do not crush or chew the immediate release tablet because it will taste bitter. Do not crush or chew the extended-release tablet because you will release the entire dose all at once and increase the risk of serious side effects.
Take your dose at evenly spaced intervals to maintain a constant level of medication in your body. Your doctor may gradually increase your dose over a few weeks to a couple of months.
Your dose is based on your condition, kidney function, and response to treatment. Do not stop taking this medication without talking with your doctor first. Some conditions may worsen if this medication is stopped quickly.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
Warnings & Cautions
- While taking levetiracetam, a small number of people may experience depression or suicidal thoughts. Let your doctor know if you or your family notice any unusual changes in your mood.
- Children will be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication that are related to mental or mood changes such as irritability, aggression, anger, anxiety, depression or thoughts of suicide.
- Infants born to mothers who are taking lamotrigine are at risk. This medication should only be used during pregnancy when the benefit to the mother is greater than the risk to the unborn baby. This medication passes into breast milk. Talk with your doctor before breastfeeding while taking levetiracetam.
- This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking levetiracetam.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if levetiracetam is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have a history of kidney or liver disease, family history of mental disease, any heart condition or blood pressure issues, or a family history of substance abuse.
- While taking levetiracetam, you may feel a decrease in balance, dizzy, blurred vision, tremor, confusion or a headache. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you have any seizures, flu symptoms such as fever or swollen glands, chest pain or abnormal heartbeat, trouble breathing, or any other significant side effects.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you have a significant worsening of your mood or experience any suicidal thoughts.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.