IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
LEVETIRACETAM – ORAL
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Keppra
USES: Levetiracetam is an anticonvulsant used in combination with other medications to treat seizure disorders (epilepsy). Levetiracetam has been shown to decrease the number of seizures in adults and children. It is not known how it works to prevent seizures.
HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using levetiracetam and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Take the liquid and regular-release tablets by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually twice daily with or without food. Crushing or chewing the tablet may cause a bitter taste. If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. If you are using the extended-release tablets, take this medication as directed by your doctor, usually once daily. Do not crush or chew extended-release tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Do not split tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing. Dosage is based on your medical condition, kidney function, and response to treatment. The dosage in children is also based on weight. To reduce your risk of side effects (such as dizziness and drowsiness), your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often than prescribed. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. This drug works best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. To help you remember and to keep a constant level, take it at the same time(s) each day. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Your seizures may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose should be gradually decreased. Tell your doctor if your seizures persist, change, or worsen.
SIDE EFFECTS: Drowsiness, dizziness, and weakness may occur. These side effects are more common during the first 4 weeks and usually lessen as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if any of these serious side effects occur: loss of coordination (such as difficulty walking and controlling muscles), mental/mood changes (such as irritability, aggression, agitation, anger, anxiety). A small number of people who take anticonvulsants for any condition (such as seizures, bipolar disorder, pain) may experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems. Tell your doctor right away if you or your family/caregiver notice any unusual/sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior including signs of depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, thoughts about harming yourself. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease (including dialysis treatment), mental/mood disorders (such as depression). This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy, especially during the first month of treatment. Do not drive, use machinery, ride a bicycle, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Children may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially mental/mood changes (such as irritability, aggression, agitation, anger, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide). During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may harm an unborn baby. However, since untreated seizures are a serious condition that can harm both a pregnant woman and her unborn baby, do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, immediately talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy. This medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine). Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely. This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call the US National Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include slow/shallow breathing, loss of consciousness.
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others. Laboratory tests may be done to measure kidney function.
MISSED DOSE: It is important to take each dose at the scheduled time. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-800-854-1166 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised December 2010. Copyright(c) 2010 First Databank, Inc.