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Levetiracetam

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

By mouth

Levetiracetam is used to help control certain types of seizures in the treatment of epilepsy. This medicine cannot cure epilepsy and will only work to… Read more

Brand names include: Keppra, Keppra XR

By injection

Levetiracetam injection is used to help control partial onset seizures in adults and children 1 month of age and older in the treatment of epilepsy. It… Read more

Brand names include: Keppra, levETIRAcetam Novaplus

Drug classes About this
Anticonvulsant

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Levetiracetam for neuropathic pain in adults

Neuropathic pain can arise from damage to nerves and injury to the central nervous system. It is different from pain messages carried along healthy nerves from damaged tissue (a fall, or cut, or arthritic knee). Neuropathic pain is treated by different medicines than pain from damaged tissue. Medicines like paracetamol or ibuprofen are not usually effective in neuropathic pain, while medicines that are sometimes used to treat depression or epilepsy can be very effective in some people with neuropathic pain.

Levetiracetam add‐on for drug‐resistant focal epilepsy

Levetiracetam is one of a new cohort of antiepileptic drugs currently available. In this review, we summarise the current evidence regarding its effectiveness when used as an add‐on treatment to usual care in people suffering from epilepsy that consists of drug‐resistant focal seizures. At every dose that we analysed, levetiracetam significantly reduced the frequency of seizures as compared to placebo. However, because the size of that positive effect varies somewhat from trial to trial, it is difficult of us to provide a summary estimate of just how large or small an effect levetiracetam will have overall. At a dose of 2000 mg, levetiracetam was roughly four times more effective than placebo and approximately 30% of adults may be expected to have significant reduction in the frequency of their seizures. Children took 60 mg/kg/day of levetiracetam and this was roughly once more effective than placebo. Approximately a quarter of children may have significant reduction in seizures at this dose. The overall finding was that levetiracetam can be effective at reducing focal seizure frequency and it can also be well tolerated in both adults and children. A possibility of changes in behaviour in children on levetiracetam was highlighted and this finding requires validation. This review is an update to a review published in 2001 and we have found seven additional trials to those in the original review. The conclusions are largely unchanged between the two reviews. The most significant contribution of this update is the inclusion of data from children. The results are not relevant to the use of levetiracetam in generalised seizures or to its use as a single agent.

Meta-analysis of adjunctive levetiracetam in refractory partial seizures

Bibliographic details: Zhang Y, Zhang YX, Li D, Lin HH, Song YJ.  Meta-analysis of adjunctive levetiracetam in refractory partial seizures. Chinese Journal of Contemporary Neurology and Neurosurgery 2012; 12(5): 542-551 Available from: http://d.wanfangdata.com.cn/Periodical_xdsjjbzz201205010.aspx

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Summaries for consumers

Levetiracetam for neuropathic pain in adults

Neuropathic pain can arise from damage to nerves and injury to the central nervous system. It is different from pain messages carried along healthy nerves from damaged tissue (a fall, or cut, or arthritic knee). Neuropathic pain is treated by different medicines than pain from damaged tissue. Medicines like paracetamol or ibuprofen are not usually effective in neuropathic pain, while medicines that are sometimes used to treat depression or epilepsy can be very effective in some people with neuropathic pain.

Levetiracetam add‐on for drug‐resistant focal epilepsy

Levetiracetam is one of a new cohort of antiepileptic drugs currently available. In this review, we summarise the current evidence regarding its effectiveness when used as an add‐on treatment to usual care in people suffering from epilepsy that consists of drug‐resistant focal seizures. At every dose that we analysed, levetiracetam significantly reduced the frequency of seizures as compared to placebo. However, because the size of that positive effect varies somewhat from trial to trial, it is difficult of us to provide a summary estimate of just how large or small an effect levetiracetam will have overall. At a dose of 2000 mg, levetiracetam was roughly four times more effective than placebo and approximately 30% of adults may be expected to have significant reduction in the frequency of their seizures. Children took 60 mg/kg/day of levetiracetam and this was roughly once more effective than placebo. Approximately a quarter of children may have significant reduction in seizures at this dose. The overall finding was that levetiracetam can be effective at reducing focal seizure frequency and it can also be well tolerated in both adults and children. A possibility of changes in behaviour in children on levetiracetam was highlighted and this finding requires validation. This review is an update to a review published in 2001 and we have found seven additional trials to those in the original review. The conclusions are largely unchanged between the two reviews. The most significant contribution of this update is the inclusion of data from children. The results are not relevant to the use of levetiracetam in generalised seizures or to its use as a single agent.

Antiepileptic drugs for treating seizures in adults with brain tumours

Seizures are a common symptom of both primary and secondary brain tumours and can cause significant morbidity. The mainstay of treatment for seizures in adults with brain tumours is medical therapy with antiepileptic drugs. This review appraises the evidence for a range of commonly used antiepileptic drugs for the treatment of seizures in adults with brain tumours.

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