Levetiracetam: Uses & Side Effects

Levetiracetam is used to treat partial onset seizures in adults and children who are at least 1 month old. The Spritam brand of levetiracetam is not for use in children younger than 4 years old or children who weigh less than 44 pounds.

Levetiracetam is also used to treat tonic-clonic seizures in people who are at least 6 years old, and myoclonic seizures in people who are at least 12 years old.

Levetiracetam may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Precautions

You should not use levetiracetam if you are allergic to it.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • depression or other mood problems;
  • mental illness or psychosis; or
  • suicidal thoughts or actions.

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking levetiracetam. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Follow your doctor’s instructions about taking seizure medication if you are pregnant. Seizure control is very important during pregnancy, and having a seizure could harm both mother and baby. Do not start or stop taking this medicine without your doctor’s advice, and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of levetiracetam on the baby.

You should not breast-feed while you are using levetiracetam.

Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.

Uses

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Take the medicine at the same time each day, with or without food.

Levetiracetam doses are based on weight in children. Your child’s dose needs may change if the child gains or loses weight.

Your dose needs may change if you switch to a different brand, strength, or form of this medicine. Avoid medication errors by using only the form and strength your doctor prescribes.

Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Swallow the extended-release tablet whole and do not crush, chew, or break it.

To take the Spritam dissolvable tablet:

  • Remove a tablet from the package only when you are ready to take the medicine.
  • Use dry hands to remove the tablet and place it on your tongue. Then take a sip of liquid and hold it in your mouth.
  • Do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth with the sip of liquid.
  • Swallow only after the tablet has completely dissolved, which should take less than 30 seconds.

Do not stop using levetiracetam suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering your dose.

Use all seizure medications as directed and read all medication guides you receive. Do not change your dose or dosing schedule without your doctor’s advice.

In case of emergency, wear or carry medical identification to let others know you use seizure medication.

Your kidney function may need to be tested often.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling).

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel agitated, hostile, irritable, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • unusual changes in mood or behavior (unusual risk-taking behavior, being irritable or talkative);
  • confusion, hallucinations, loss of balance or coordination;
  • extreme drowsiness, feeling very weak or tired;
  • problems with walking or movement;
  • the first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding; or
  • fever, chills, weakness, or other signs of infection.

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness;
  • weakness;
  • feeling aggressive or irritable;
  • loss of appetite;
  • stuffy nose; or
  • infection.

Keywords: levetiracetam.

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