What is Keppra?

Keppra (levetiracetam) is an anti-epileptic medication, also called an anticonvulsant.

It works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

Keppra is used to treat partial onset seizures in adults and children who are at least 4 years old.

Health Benefits

Keppra has been shown to be effective in reducing seizure frequency and improving quality of life in people with epilepsy.

A recent study showed that Keppra was associated with a significant reduction in seizure frequency and improvements in quality of life measures, including mental health, in people with epilepsy.

In another study, Keppra was found to be as effective as another anti-epileptic drug, topiramate, at reducing seizure frequency and improving quality of life measures.

Keppra may also be effective in treating other conditions, such as bipolar disorder and migraines.

Possible Side Effects

Keppra can cause some side effects, including:

* Fatigue

* Dizziness

* Nausea

* Headache

* Irritability

* Depression

* Anxiety

If you experience any of these side effects, please contact your doctor.

Keppra may also cause more serious side effects, such as:

* Allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue);behavior changes; confusion; coordination problems; dark urine; decreased urination; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; lower back pain or pain in the legs; memory problems; new or worsening seizures (eg, increased seizure frequency or severity); severe or persistent headaches; severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; stomach pain; suicidal thoughts or actions; tremor; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness.

If you experience any of these serious side effects, please contact your doctor immediately.

Keppra may also interact with other medications, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and vitamins.

Do not start or stop taking Keppra without first talking to your doctor.

Dosages

The recommended starting dose of Keppra for adults with partial onset seizures is 500 mg twice daily.

For children aged 4 to 16 years, the recommended starting dose is 10 mg/kg twice daily.

The maximum recommended dose of Keppra for adults is 3 grams per day.

For children, the maximum recommended dose is 60 mg/kg per day.

If you miss a dose of Keppra, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Interactions

Examples of medications that may interact with Keppra include:

* Carbamazepine

* Felbamate

* Lamotrigine

* Phenytoin

* Valproic acid

If you are taking any of these medications, please contact your doctor.

This is not a complete list of all the medications that may interact with Keppra. Be sure to talk to your doctor about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and vitamins.

Do not start or stop taking Keppra without first talking to your doctor.

Mechanism of Action

Keppra works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

It is not entirely clear how Keppra works, but it is thought to work by inhibiting the release of a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate is thought to play a role in neuronal cell death, so by inhibiting its release, Keppra may help to protect neurons from damage.

Keppra may also work by modulating GABA, another neurotransmitter that is important for seizure control.

Pharmacokinetics

Keppra is rapidly and completely absorbed after oral administration.

The bioavailability of Keppra is nearly 100%.

Keppra is widely distributed in the body and crosses the blood-brain barrier.

Keppra is eliminated mainly by the kidneys.

The half-life of Keppra is about 7 hours.

Clinical Trials

Keppra has been studied in several clinical trials.

In a 6-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Keppra as adjunctive therapy in adults with partial onset seizures, Keppra was shown to be effective in reducing seizure frequency.

The most common side effects reported in this trial were dizziness, headache, and fatigue.

In a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Keppra as adjunctive therapy in children aged 4 to 16 years with partial onset seizures, Keppra was shown to be effective in reducing seizure frequency.

The most common side effects reported in this trial were dizziness, headache, fatigue, and nausea.

In an open-label trial of Keppra as monotherapy in adults with newly diagnosed epilepsy, Keppra was shown to be effective in reducing seizure frequency.