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Mar 16, 2023


Anti-seizure Drug

What Do I Need to Know About Levetiracetam?

What is Levetiracetam?

Levetiracetam is a type of medication known as an anticonvulsant or “anti-seizure” drug. This kind of medication is used to prevent seizures from occurring in individuals who may be predisposed to these events. Levetiracetam in particular is indicated by the FDA to treat epilepsy under three specific conditions. These situations include: 

  • Use as an additional medication for treatment of partial onset seizures in any individual with epilepsy aged 4 years or older, or 
  • Use as an additional medication for treatment of myoclonic seizures in individuals with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy aged 12 years or older, or 
  • Use as an adjunctive medication for treatment of primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures in individuals with idiopathic (unknown cause) generalized epilepsy in individuals aged 6 years or older. 

What are Seizures?

Seizures are episodes of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. They can present in a number of different ways. For example, an absence seizure is characterized by becoming unresponsive and “staring off into space”, almost as if you are daydreaming. Very differently, tonic-clonic seizures (otherwise known as grand-mal seizures) present more noticeably as uncontrollable muscle movements as well as possible drooling, biting your tongue, and/or loss of bladder/bowel control.

Seizures can be very dangerous when left uncontrolled, and therefore medication management is essentially always necessary when someone has been diagnosed with a seizure disorder.

Types of seizures

Side Effects

Typical Side Effects of Levetiracetam

As with most medications, there is a potential to experience side effects when taking levetiracetam. These side effects are typically mild, though it is important to be aware of the changes to your body when taking a new medication. The most common side effects experienced when taking levetiracetam are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Increased risk of infection

These side effects are most likely to occur during the first four weeks of taking this medication, and often resolve thereafter. However, if these effects continue and/or are intolerable, speak with your healthcare provider about what might be the best next step for you.

Serious (Rare) Dangers of Taking Levetiracetam

While anti-seizure medications like levetiracetam are essential for preventing dangerous seizures from occurring, there are some rare, though serious, possible risks.

One of these possible dangers is skin conditions, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) or toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). These skin conditions usually appear as a rash with flu-like symptoms such as a fever. SJS and TEN are serious and can be fatal if not caught and treated quickly. At any sign of a fever or rash when taking this medication, seek immediate medical attention.

There is also the possibility of reduced white and/or red blood cell production while taking levetiracetam. This can be detected with blood tests, which is why it is important to get frequent bloodwork during the first few weeks of taking this medication and regularly thereafter.

There have also been reported cases of severe allergic reactions occurring in response to levetiracetam. The reactions can be as severe as anaphylaxis so it is imperative to monitor yourself for hives, breathing difficulties, swelling, and/or other signs of allergic reaction while you are taking this medication, and seek immediate medical attention.

Read about Long-term risks of seizure medication

Medications That Interact with Levetiracetam

Interestingly, due to the way that levetiracetam is metabolized and distributed in the body, there are not many drug interactions for this medication. The most serious interactions include antihistamine and anticholinergic nasal sprays and oral medications (most commonly used to treat allergic symptoms). These medications include:

  • Azelastine
  • Olopatadine
  • Orphenadrine
  • Oxomemazine

These medications should be avoided during the duration of levetiracetam therapy, as the combination may result in sedation that is increased enough to be dangerous.

Can I Take Levetiracetam if I Am Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

There are potential dangers of taking levetiracetam while pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Not many well controlled studies were done, thoroughly identifying the particular risks of levetiracetam. That being said, based on the studies in animals, it seems likely that taking this medication during pregnancy increases the risk of skeletal and growth abnormalities as well as premature death of your fetus. This must be weighed against the risk to the mother being taken off effective medication management for their epilepsy.

It is extremely important not to stop taking this or any other anti-seizure medication without consulting a healthcare professional, as it can be very dangerous to do so.

Get Your Levetiracetam for Less When you Buy Longer Supply

At Marley Drug, you can save money by buying your levetiracetam prescription in a longer supply. A 6-month supply costs you $37, or a full 12-month supply only $70. This adds up to less than $6 per month!

Since levetiracetam is typically taken long-term, it is both convenient and cost-effective to buy your medication in longer supply. You are not only able to reduce your frequency of trips to the pharmacy, but you also then avoid paying multiple pharmacy dispensing fees from multiple prescription pickups throughout the year.

We are able to price our prescriptions this way because we buy our medications from accredited wholesalers rather than insurance companies. This way, we are able to bypass the step that is usually responsible for hiking up drug costs for consumers. You are therefore able to get your medications from Marley Drug at prices competitive with even the best insurance plans.

To learn more about how you can get your levetiracetam prescription from Marley Drug, just call us at 1-800-810-7790.

Prices mentioned in this article are based on average retail price at major box chain pharmacy in the U.S. as of December 22, 2022.

  1. Auro-levetiracetam – Access data FDA-Approved Drugs [Internet]. [Amended 11/2017; accessed 12/2022].

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