Levetiracetam may also be used alone or in combination with other
epilepsy drugs to treat seizures that affect the entire brain (generalized) in
adults. Or it may be used alone or in combination with other epilepsy medicines
in children who have
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or absence seizures.
How Well It Works
Levetiracetam may help control seizures in children who have Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and absence seizures.1
Levetiracetam, when taken alone, may also work to control partial and generalized seizures.1
Levetiracetam usually causes only mild side effects. The most
common ones are:
Mild agitation, anxiety, or
Unlike many of the antiepileptic medicines, levetiracetam is not
likely to cause an adverse reaction when used at the same time as other
In rare cases, levetiracetam may cause a serious skin rash. Contact your doctor if you develop a rash while taking
FDA Advisory. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has
issued an advisory on antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and the risk of suicide. Talk
to your doctor about these possible side effects and the warning signs of suicide in adults and in children and teens.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
It may take time and careful, controlled adjustments by you and
your doctor to find the combination, schedule, and dosing of medicine to best
manage your epilepsy. The goal is to prevent seizures while causing as few
side effects as possible. After you and your doctor figure out the
program that works best for you, make sure to follow your
program exactly as prescribed.
Drug interactions. Levetiracetam may be a good choice
if you are taking medicines for other conditions, because it does not interact
with other medicines. It is also a good choice if you take birth control pills,
because it will not make the pills any less effective.
Risk of birth defects. All medicines for epilepsy
have some risk of birth defects. But the risk of birth defects needs to be
carefully compared to other risks to the baby if the mother stops taking her
epilepsy medicine. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, be sure
to plan ahead and talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking
epilepsy medicine during your pregnancy. It you are already pregnant, it is not
too late. The best thing to do is talk to your doctor about your pregnancy
before you make any changes to the medicines you are taking.
Other concerns. For some people, levetiracetam may produce side effects or carry
risks that are not yet fully known. Report any unexpected side effects or
problems to your doctor.
Drugs for epilepsy (2008). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 6(70): 37–46.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.