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In some patients KEPPRA causes behavioral abnormalities. The incidences of behavioral abnormalities in the myoclonic and primary generalized tonic-clonic seizure studies were comparable to those of the adult partial onset seizure studies.
A total of 13.3% of adult KEPPRA-treated patients compared to 6.2% of placebo patients experienced non-psychotic behavioral symptoms (reported as aggression, agitation, anger, anxiety, apathy, depersonalization, depression, emotional lability, hostility, irritability, and nervousness).
A total of 1.7% of adult KEPPRA-treated patients discontinued treatment due to behavioral adverse events, compared to 0.2% of placebo patients. The treatment dose was reduced in 0.8% of adult KEPPRA-treated patients and in 0.5% of placebo patients.
One percent of adult KEPPRA-treated patients experienced psychotic symptoms compared to 0.2% of placebo patients.
Two (0.3%) adult KEPPRA-treated patients were hospitalized and their treatment was discontinued due to psychosis. Both events, reported as psychosis, developed within the first week of treatment and resolved within 1 to 2 weeks following treatment discontinuation.
The above psychiatric signs and symptoms should be monitored.
Somnolence and Fatigue
In some patients, KEPPRA causes somnolence and fatigue. The incidences of somnolence and fatigue provided below are from controlled adult partial onset seizure studies. In general, the incidences of somnolence and fatigue in the myoclonic and primary generalized tonic-clonic studies were comparable to those of the adult partial onset seizure studies.
In controlled trials of adult patients with epilepsy experiencing partial onset seizures, 14.8% of KEPPRA-treated patients reported somnolence, compared to 8.4% of placebo patients. There was no clear dose response up to 3000 mg/day. In a study where there was no titration, about 45% of patients receiving 4000 mg/day reported somnolence. The somnolence was considered serious in 0.3% of the treated patients, compared to 0% in the placebo group. About 3% of KEPPRA-treated patients discontinued treatment due to somnolence, compared to 0.7% of placebo patients. In 1.4% of treated patients and in 0.9% of placebo patients the dose was reduced, while 0.3% of the treated patients were hospitalized due to somnolence.
In controlled trials of adult patients with epilepsy experiencing partial onset seizures, 14.7% of KEPPRA-treated patients reported asthenia, compared to 9.1% of placebo patients. Treatment was discontinued due to asthenia in 0.8% of treated patients as compared to 0.5% of placebo patients. In 0.5% of treated patients and in 0.2% of placebo patients the dose was reduced due to asthenia.
Somnolence and asthenia occurred most frequently within the first 4 weeks of treatment.
Patients should be monitored for these signs and symptoms and advised not to drive or operate machinery until they have gained sufficient experience on KEPPRA to gauge whether it adversely affects their ability to drive or operate machinery.
Serious Dermatological Reactions
Serious dermatological reactions, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), have been reported in patients treated with levetiracetam. The median time of onset is reported to be 14 to 17 days, but cases have been reported at least four months after initiation of treatment. Recurrence of the serious skin reactions following rechallenge with levetiracetam has also been reported. Keppra should be discontinued at the first sign of a rash, unless the rash is clearly not drug-related. If signs or symptoms suggest SJS/TEN, use of this drug should not be resumed and alternative therapy should be considered.
Coordination difficulties were only observed in the adult partial onset seizure studies. A total of 3.4% of adult KEPPRA-treated patients experienced coordination difficulties, (reported as either ataxia, abnormal gait, or incoordination) compared to 1.6% of placebo patients. A total of 0.4% of patients in controlled trials discontinued KEPPRA treatment due to ataxia, compared to 0% of placebo patients. In 0.7% of treated patients and in 0.2% of placebo patients the dose was reduced due to coordination difficulties, while one of the treated patients was hospitalized due to worsening of pre-existing ataxia. These events occurred most frequently within the first 4 weeks of treatment.
Patients should be monitored for these signs and symptoms and advised not to drive or operate machinery until they have gained sufficient experience on KEPPRA to gauge whether it could adversely affect their ability to drive or operate machinery.
Antiepileptic drugs, including KEPPRA, should be withdrawn gradually to minimize the potential of increased seizure frequency.
Partial Onset Seizures
Minor, but statistically significant, decreases compared to placebo in total mean RBC count (0.03 x 106/mm³), mean hemoglobin (0.09 g/dL), and mean hematocrit (0.38%), were seen in KEPPRA-treated patients in controlled trials.
A total of 3.2% of treated and 1.8% of placebo patients had at least one possibly significant ( ≤ 2.8 x 109/L) decreased WBC, and 2.4% of treated and 1.4% of placebo patients had at least one possibly significant ( ≤ 1.0 x 109/L) decreased neutrophil count. Of the treated patients with a low neutrophil count, all but one rose towards or to baseline with continued treatment. No patient was discontinued secondary to low neutrophil counts.
Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy
Although there were no obvious hematologic abnormalities observed in patients with JME, the limited number of patients makes any conclusion tentative. The data from the partial seizure patients should be considered to be relevant for JME patients.
Seizure Control During Pregnancy
Physiological changes may gradually decrease plasma levels of levetiracetam throughout pregnancy. This decrease is more pronounced during the third trimester. It is recommended that patients be monitored carefully during pregnancy. Close monitoring should continue through the postpartum period especially if the dose was changed during pregnancy.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Rats were dosed with levetiracetam in the diet for 104 weeks at doses of 50, 300 and 1800 mg/kg/day. The highest dose is 6 times the maximum recommended daily human dose (MRHD) of 3000 mg on a mg/m² basis and it also provided systemic exposure (AUC) approximately 6 times that achieved in humans receiving the MRHD. There was no evidence of carcinogenicity. In mice, oral administration of levetiracetam for 80 weeks (doses up to 960 mg/kg/day) or 2 years (doses up to 4000 mg/kg/day, lowered to 3000 mg/kg/day after 45 weeks due to intolerability) was not associated with an increase in tumors. The highest dose tested in mice for 2 years (3000 mg/kg/day) is approximately 5 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis.
Levetiracetam was not mutagenic in the Ames test or in mammalian cells in vitro in the Chinese hamster ovary/HGPRT locus assay. It was not clastogenic in an in vitro analysis of metaphase chromosomes obtained from Chinese hamster ovary cells or in an in vivo mouse micronucleus assay. The hydrolysis product and major human metabolite of levetiracetam (ucb L057) was not mutagenic in the Ames test or the in vitro mouse lymphoma assay.
Impairment of Fertility
No adverse effects on male or female fertility or reproductive performance were observed in rats at oral doses up to 1800 mg/kg/day (6 times the maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m² or systemic exposure [AUC] basis).
Use In Specific Populations
Keppra levels may decrease during pregnancy [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. In animal studies, levetiracetam produced evidence of developmental toxicity, including teratogenic effects, at doses similar to or greater than human therapeutic doses. KEPPRA should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Oral administration of levetiracetam to female rats throughout pregnancy and lactation led to increased incidences of minor fetal skeletal abnormalities and retarded offspring growth pre- and/or postnatally at doses ≥ 350 mg/kg/day (equivalent to the maximum recommended human dose of 3000 mg [MRHD] on a mg/m² basis) and with increased pup mortality and offspring behavioral alterations at a dose of 1800 mg/kg/day (6 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis). The developmental no effect dose was 70 mg/kg/day (0.2 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis). There was no overt maternal toxicity at the doses used in this study.
Oral administration of levetiracetam to pregnant rabbits during the period of organogenesis resulted in increased embryofetal mortality and increased incidences of minor fetal skeletal abnormalities at doses ≥ 600 mg/kg/day (4 times MRHD on a mg/m² basis) and in decreased fetal weights and increased incidences of fetal malformations at a dose of 1800 mg/kg/day (12 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis). The developmental no effect dose was 200 mg/kg/day (equivalent to the MRHD on a mg/m² basis). Maternal toxicity was also observed at 1800 mg/kg/day.
When levetiracetam was administered orally to pregnant rats during the period of organogenesis, fetal weights were decreased and the incidence of fetal skeletal variations was increased at a dose of 3600 mg/kg/day (12 times the MRHD). 1200 mg/kg/day (4 times the MRHD) was a developmental no effect dose. There was no evidence of maternal toxicity in this study.
Treatment of rats during the last third of gestation and throughout lactation produced no adverse developmental or maternal effects at doses of up to 1800 mg/kg/day (6 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis).
To provide information regarding the effects of in utero exposure to KEPPRA, physicians are advised to recommend that pregnant patients taking KEPPRA enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) pregnancy registry. This can be done by calling the toll free number 1-888-233-2334, and must be done by the patients themselves. Information on the registry can also be found at the website http://www.aedpregnancyregistry.org/.
UCB, Inc. has established the UCB AED Pregnancy Registry to advance scientific knowledge about safety and outcomes associated with pregnant women being treated with all UCB antiepileptic drugs, including KEPPRA. To ensure broad program access and reach, either a healthcare provider or the patient can initiate enrollment in the UCB AED Pregnancy Registry by calling 1-888-537-7734 (toll free).
Labor and Delivery
The effect of KEPPRA on labor and delivery in humans is unknown.
Levetiracetam is excreted in human milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from KEPPRA, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
Safety and effectiveness of KEPPRA injection in patients below the age of 16 years have not been established.
There were 347 subjects in clinical studies of levetiracetam that were 65 and over. No overall differences in safety were observed between these subjects and younger subjects. There were insufficient numbers of elderly subjects in controlled trials of epilepsy to adequately assess the effectiveness of KEPPRA in these patients.
Levetiracetam is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of adverse reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Use in Patients with Impaired Renal Function
Clearance of levetiracetam is decreased in patients with renal impairment and is correlated with creatinine clearance [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Dosage adjustment is recommended for patients with impaired renal function and supplemental doses should be given to patients after dialysis [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/8/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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