July 24, 2014
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Drug Factsheets

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Keppra

(levetiracetam)

DIN (Drug Identification Number)

02247027 KEPPRA 250MG TABLET
02247028 KEPPRA 500MG TABLET
02247029 KEPPRA 750MG TABLET

What side effects are possible with Keppra?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • feeling weak
  • infection such as the common cold
  • loss of strength or energy
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • rash
  • weight loss

Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abnormal thoughts
  • cough or hoarseness
  • depersonalization (feeling of detachment from self)
  • depression
  • difficulty swallowing
  • dry throat
  • feeling anxious or nervous
  • fever or chills
  • headache
  • hoarseness
  • irritability
  • loss of memory or problems with memory
  • lower back or side pain
  • mood or behaviour changes
  • outbursts of anger or hostility
  • pain or tenderness around eyes and cheekbones
  • painful or difficult urination
  • paranoia
  • problems with muscle control or coordination
  • rapidly changing moods
  • runny nose
  • sensation of spinning
  • shortness of breath or troubled breathing
  • signs of liver problems (yellowing of the skin and eye whites)
  • sore throat
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • suicidal feelings
  • tender, swollen glands in neck
  • tightness of chest or wheezing
  • toothache
  • unexplained crying

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • symptoms of an allergic reaction (e.g., difficulty breathing, hives, itchy skin rash, or swelling of the mouth or throat)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.





Are there any other precautions or warnings for Keppra?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Behaviour problems: Levetiracetam can cause behaviour and mood problems such as agitation, anxiety, nervousness, depression, hostility, and mood swings in people with or without a history of having these problems. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you experience these feelings or behaviours.

Blood problems: Levetiracetam can cause low red and white blood cell levels. If you experience fever, sore throat, fatigue, weakness, or generally feel unwell while taking levetiracetam, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: People with uncontrolled epilepsy should not drive or handle potentially dangerous machinery. Levetiracetam may cause drowsiness or problems with muscle control. If you are taking this medication, do not participate in activities requiring mental alertness or physical coordination until you have determined how this medication affects you.

Kidney disease: People with kidney disease or reduced kidney function should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. People with poor kidney function may need a lower dose of levetiracetam.

Stopping the medication: As with other medications used to control seizures, stopping this medication suddenly is not recommended because of the possibility of increased seizure frequency. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviour: Occasionally, people taking this medication may experience thoughts of suicide. If you experience these symptoms or any other behaviour change while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. Family members or caregivers of people who are taking this medication should contact the person's doctor immediately if they notice unusual behaviour changes.

Pregnancy: This medication should only be used during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking levetiracetam, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children and adolescents: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for use by children and adolescents under 18 years of age.

Seniors: Seniors may need a lower dose of levetiracetam.

What other drugs could interact with Keppra?

Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. In many cases, interactions are intended or are managed by close monitoring. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

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