4 Things You Should Know About Keppra (levetiracetam)

 If you have had epilepsy for a while now, you have most likely heard about a medication called Keppra. Most of the stories and personal experiences are negative. But, there are those who take this medicine successfully with no issues.

Here are some important things everyone should know about Keppra:

  1. The reason it has many negative stories/experiences surrounding it is that a major side-effect that can occur is rage. A common way people describe this is Keppra rage, it’s a lot more common of a side-effect than is let on by most sources. When prescribed this medication your doctor will tell you to contact them if you have any sudden changes in your mood or behavior. While this side-effect occurs with other AEDs the occurrence of mood and behavior changes with Keppra are higher in many. You may not know how you will react until you have taken it, always talk to your doctor about mood changes that can happen before starting a new medicine.
  2. The US FDA has Keppra in category C risk for pregnancy. This means that if you are thinking of becoming pregnant while on this medication, speak with your doctor about the risks. At the moment, there is not enough evidence to conclude that it is completely safe for use while pregnant. Animal reproduction studies showed it had an adverse effect on the fetus. There are also no well-controlled studies done on humans. It can also be excreted into breast milk. It can be used during pregnancy if it the risks are considered necessary by your physician.
  3. You may be someone who reacts differently to generic or brand name medications. With Keppra, like any other drug, your doctor may start you on a low dose generic (levetiracetam) version. If it’s well tolerated and helps you they may keep you on it. For those who can’t, and are maybe having bad reactions the brand name version of Keppra can make a noticeable difference in efficacy. Everyone reacts differently. Your doctor may try to change the brand in order to make it work best for you.
  4. Alcohol can make the side side-effects of Keppra worse. Whether you drink on occasion or more regularly be aware of how you react. Along with the side-effect of rage, many others can manifest themselves. There is a significant chance that it can increase dizziness, drowsiness and decrease concentration. All of these are signs that your nervous system is affected. Speak to your doctor about whether or not you can safely consume alcohol while on this medication.

 

If you are on Keppra and experiencing sudden mood/behavioral changes contact your doctor immediately. You may not know right away about these changes in your mood. Asking friends and family about these changes can help you see what they see. Having open and honest discussions about your condition, medication and mental health can help you determine how you’re affected. Knowing and recognizing any side-effects can be helpful to your treatment.

It is a prescription drug.

Always consult your doctor before starting or stopping any medications.

Resources:

Keppra is an anti-epileptic drug used to treat seizures.

US FDA Category C – Healthline

 

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