levetiracetam (Keppra, Keppra XR, Roweepra, Spritam) Seizure Drug

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

What is levetiracetam (Keppra), and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Levetiracetam (Keppra) is an antiseizure (antiepileptic) drug. Its mechanism of action is unknown, but it inhibits the spread of seizure activity in the brain. In studies, addition of levetiracetam to other antiseizure drugs reduced the frequency of seizures more than placebo.

What brand names are available for levetiracetam?

Keppra, Keppra XR, Roweepra, and Spritam are the brand names available for levetiracetam in the US.

Is levetiracetam available as a generic drug?

Yes, it is available in generic form.

Do I need a prescription for this medication?

Yes, you need a prescription from your doctor or other health care professional for this drug.

What are the side effects of levetiracetam?

Common side effects associated with levetiracetam include:

In some patients Keppra causes behavioral abnormalities such as:

Other side effects include:

  • Steven-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis (severe skin reactions) in children and adults
  • High blood pressure

Like other antiseizure medications, levetiracetam should not be discontinued suddenly because of the risk of increased seizure activity.

Antiepileptic medications have been associated with increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior. Anyone considering the use of antiepileptic drugs must balance this risk of suicide with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts, or unusual changes in behavior.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/10/2017

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