Levetiracetam - oral
Levetiracetam - oral
Levetiracetam is used with other medications to treat seizures (epilepsy). It belongs to a class of drugs known as anticonvulsants. Levetiracetam may decrease the number of seizures you have.
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking levetiracetam and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask 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.
The dosage is based on your medical condition 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.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.
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 lasts, change, or gets worse.
Drowsiness, dizziness, unusual tiredness, or 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 last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, such as:
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.
Levetiracetam can commonly cause a rash that is usually not serious. However, you may not be able to tell it apart from a rare rash that could be a sign of a severe reaction. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any rash.
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, such as:
In the US -
Before taking levetiracetam, 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:
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy, especially during the first month of treatment. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, ride a bicycle, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of the drug, especially mental/mood changes (such as irritability, aggression, agitation, anger, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide). Children younger than 4 years may be at greater risk for increased blood pressure while using this drug (see also Notes section).
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness, dizziness or loss of coordination. These side effects can increase the risk of falling.
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.
A product that may interact with this drug is:
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center 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.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as kidney function, complete blood count) may be done while you are taking this medication. In children younger than 4 years, blood pressure may also be monitored. Consult your doctor for more details.
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. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
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.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised October 2018.
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