What is Levetiracetam?
Levetiracetam is an anti-epileptic drug, also known as anticonvulsant. It is prescribed for the treatment of partial onset seizures in adults and children who are at least 1 month old. Levetiracetam is also given to treat tonic-clonic seizures in adults and children above 6 years of age and myoclonic seizures in adults and children above 12 years of age.
Levetiracetam is sold under various trade names, some of which are Keppra and Levipil (made by Sun Pharma). This medication may also be given for conditions not listed here.
Important Information about Levetiracetam
Avoid taking Levetiracetam anti epileptic medication (Keppra, Levipil) if you are allergic to it. Do not discontinue the use of Levetiracetam without first consulting your doctor, even if you are alright as stopping this medication suddenly may result in increased seizures. You may be advised to gradually decrease the amount of Levetiracetam medication before you stop taking in completely.
While taking Levetiracetam, you may get suicidal thoughts. You may require to be monitored periodically. Do not hesitate to go to your doctor for follow up checks as scheduled. Let your doctor know of any new or deteriorating symptoms like extreme mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, aggressiveness or feeling agitated, hostile, irritable, hyperactivity (mental and physical).
If possible, always wear or carry some kind of identity card or small display card that informs anyone that you are taking seizure medication. This can be helpful to any healthcare provider who treats you. Levetiracetam may impact your thinking capability and reflexes which can make activities like driving difficult and intimidating. Be extra careful while indulging in such activities or keep them to minimum and do it when absolutely necessary while taking this medication.
Levetiracetam is an FDA pregnancy category C drug which means it is not known whether it can harm an unborn baby if taken while being pregnant. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant about the specific risks. Make note that a seizure during pregnancy can be detrimental for both mother and the baby. Hence, seizure control is absolutely important during pregnancy. The benefits of taking this medication may be far greater than its dangers during pregnancy. Always follow your doctor’s advice. Levetiracetam can pass into breast milk and harm a breast feeding baby. Do not take this medication without proper medical advice if you are breast feeding.
Before taking Levetiracetam
Before taking Levetiracetam anti epileptic medication (Keppra, Levipil), take care of all precautions mentioned above and discuss them with your doctor. If you have kidney disease or high blood pressure, inform your doctor in advance about it so that he or she can judge if it is safe for you to take Levetiracetam on top of those conditions.
How do I take Levetiracetam?
Take Levetiracetam (Keppra, Levipil) strictly according to your doctor’s direction or according to the instructions on the medication label. Do not alter the dosage unless your doctor advises you to do so. Also, do not take this medication after the prescribed period is over.
Levetiracetam is normally taken twice per day. You may take it with or without food. Avoid crushing, chewing, or breaking a controlled release, delayed release or extended release tablet. Instead swallow it whole otherwise it may lead to too much of the medication to be release at once.
Seizures or epileptic attacks are treated usually with a medley of different drugs. Take them as directed by your doctor. Your kidney may be tested frequently to make sure that Levetiracetam is not causing any harmful effects. Always store Levetiracetam in a cool and dry place.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Levetiracetam (Keppra, Levipil), take it as soon as you remember. Don’t take the missed dose if the time to take the next dose is almost up. Taking multiple doses near to each other can lead to excess medication in your body which can be harmful.
What if I overdose?
In case of an overdose of Levetiracetam, get emergency medical attention or call the Doctor Immediately. Overdose may lead to extreme drowsiness, agitation, aggression, shortness of breath, weakness, or fainting.
Things and Activities to avoid while taking Levetiracetam
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Levetiracetam as it may increase the likelihood of side effects of this medication. Levetiracetam may impact your thinking capability and reflexes which can make activities like driving difficult and intimidating. Be extra careful while indulging in such activities or keep them to minimum and do it when absolutely necessary while taking this medication.
Side Effects of Levetiracetam
While taking Levetiracetam anti epileptic medication, let your doctor know of any new or deteriorating symptoms like extreme mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, aggressiveness or feeling agitated, hostile, irritable, hyperactivity (mental and physical), or suicidal thoughts. These are some of the common symptoms associate with this medication. Other side effects are hallucinations, muscle weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, appetite loss, stuffy nose. A serious allergic reaction to Levetiracetam is unlikely and rare occurrence but seek emergency medical attention if you get hives, rash, itching swelling in face, nose, lips, tongue or throat, or breathing difficulty.
These are not the only side effects of Levetiracetam epilepsy medication. There may be others. Contact your doctor right away if you experience any serious side effects or if your condition worsens after taking Levetiracetam.
Levetiracetam Dosing Information
Levetiracetam dosage will be fixed by your doctor after examining you properly. Dosage may depend on a range of factors like age, sex, drug allergies, or seriousness of the condition among several other factors. Stick to your doctor’s prescription strictly.
Interaction with other drugs
Certain drugs can interact with Levetiracetam. Let your doctor know if you are using other drowsiness causing drugs like antihistamine drugs like cetrizine, diphenhydramine, or others; drugs for insomnia or anxiety like alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem or others; muscle relaxants, or narcotic pain killers like codeine, methadone or others. The drugs mentioned here are not the only ones that can interact with Levetiracetam. There may be others as well. Share the list of all type of medications and related products which you are using with your doctor and never start a new medication without his or her advice.
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