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Keppra XR

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Keppra XR

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Mechanism Of Action

The precise mechanism(s) by which levetiracetam exerts its antiepileptic effect is unknown. The antiepileptic activity of levetiracetam was assessed in a number of animal models of epileptic seizures. Levetiracetam did not inhibit single seizures induced by maximal stimulation with electrical current or different chemoconvulsants and showed only minimal activity in submaximal stimulation and in threshold tests. Protection was observed, however, against secondarily generalized activity from focal seizures induced by pilocarpine and kainic acid, two chemoconvulsants that induce seizures that mimic some features of human complex partial seizures with secondary generalization. Levetiracetam also displayed inhibitory properties in the kindling model in rats, another model of human complex partial seizures, both during kindling development and in the fully kindled state. The predictive value of these animal models for specific types of human epilepsy is uncertain.

In vitro and in vivo recordings of epileptiform activity from the hippocampus have shown that levetiracetam inhibits burst firing without affecting normal neuronal excitability, suggesting that levetiracetam may selectively prevent hypersynchronization of epileptiform burst firing and propagation of seizure activity.

Levetiracetam at concentrations of up to 10 μM did not demonstrate binding affinity for a variety of known receptors, such as those associated with benzodiazepines, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), glycine, NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate), re-uptake sites, and second messenger systems. Furthermore, in vitro studies have failed to find an effect of levetiracetam on neuronal voltage-gated sodium or T-type calcium currents and levetiracetam does not appear to directly facilitate GABAergic neurotransmission. However, in vitro studies have demonstrated that levetiracetam opposes the activity of negative modulators of GABA-and glycine-gated currents and partially inhibits N-type calcium currents in neuronal cells.

A saturable and stereoselective neuronal binding site in rat brain tissue has been described for levetiracetam. Experimental data indicate that this binding site is the synaptic vesicle protein SV2A, thought to be involved in the regulation of vesicle exocytosis. Although the molecular significance of levetiracetam binding to synaptic vesicle protein SV2A is not understood, levetiracetam and related analogs showed a rank order of affinity for SV2A which correlated with the potency of their antiseizure activity in audiogenic seizure-prone mice. These findings suggest that the interaction of levetiracetam with the SV2A protein may contribute to the antiepileptic mechanism of action of the drug.

Pharmacodynamics

Effects on QTc Interval

The effects of KEPPRA XR on QTc prolongation is expected to be the same as that of immediate-release KEPPRA. The effect of immediate-release KEPPRA on QTc prolongation was evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, positive-controlled (moxifloxacin 400 mg) and placebo-controlled crossover study of immediate-release KEPPRA (1000 mg or 5000 mg) in 52 healthy subjects. The upper bound of the 90% confidence interval for the largest placebo-adjusted, baseline-corrected QTc was below 10 milliseconds. Therefore, there was no evidence of significant QTc prolongation in this study.

Pharmacokinetics

Overview

Bioavailability of KEPPRA XR tablets is similar to that of the immediate-release KEPPRA Tablets. The pharmacokinetics (AUC and C max ) were shown to be dose proportional after single dose administration of 1000 mg, 2000 mg, and 3000 mg extended-release levetiracetam. Plasma half-life of extended-release levetiracetam is approximately 7 hours.

Levetiracetam is almost completely absorbed after oral administration. The pharmacokinetics of levetiracetam are linear and time-invariant, with low intra-and inter-subject variability. Levetiracetam is not significantly protein-bound ( < 10% bound) and its volume of distribution is close to the volume of intracellular and extracellular water. Sixty-six percent (66%) of the dose is renally excreted unchanged. The major metabolic pathway of levetiracetam (24% of dose) is an enzymatic hydrolysis of the acetamide group. It is not liver cytochrome P450 dependent. The metabolites have no known pharmacological activity and are renally excreted. Plasma half-life of levetiracetam across studies is approximately 6-8 hours. The half-life is increased in the elderly (primarily due to impaired renal clearance) and in subjects with renal impairment.

Absorption and Distribution

Extended-release levetiracetam peak plasma concentrations occur in about 4 hours. The time to peak plasma concentrations is about 3 hours longer with extended-release levetiracetam than with immediate-release tablets.

Single administration of two 500 mg extended-release levetiracetam tablets once daily produced comparable maximal plasma concentrations and area under the plasma concentration versus time as did the administration of one 500 mg immediate-release tablet twice daily in fasting conditions. After multiple dose extended-release levetiracetam tablets intake, extent of exposure (AUC 0-24 ) was similar to extent of exposure after multiple dose immediate-release tablets intake. Cmax and C min were lower by 17% and 26% after multiple dose extended-release levetiracetam tablets intake in comparison to multiple dose immediate-release tablets intake. Intake of a high fat, high calorie breakfast before the administration of extended-release levetiracetam tablets resulted in a higher peak concentration, and longer median time to peak. The median time to peak (T max ) was 2 hours longer in the fed state.

Two 750 mg extended-release levetiracetam tablets were bioequivalent to a single administration of three 500 mg extended-release levetiracetam tablets.

Metabolism

Levetiracetam is not extensively metabolized in humans. The major metabolic pathway is the enzymatic hydrolysis of the acetamide group, which produces the carboxylic acid metabolite, ucb L057 (24% of dose) and is not dependent on any liver cytochrome P450 isoenzymes. The major metabolite is inactive in animal seizure models. Two minor metabolites were identified as the product of hydroxylation of the 2-oxo-pyrrolidine ring (2% of dose) and opening of the 2-oxo-pyrrolidine ring in position 5 (1% of dose). There is no enantiomeric interconversion of levetiracetam or its major metabolite.

Elimination

Levetiracetam plasma half-life in adults is 7 ± 1 hour and is unaffected by either dose or repeated administration. Levetiracetam is eliminated from the systemic circulation by renal excretion as unchanged drug which represents 66% of administered dose. The total body clearance is 0.96 mL/min/kg and the renal clearance is 0.6 mL/min/kg. The mechanism of excretion is glomerular filtration with subsequent partial tubular reabsorption. The metabolite ucb L057 is excreted by glomerular filtration and active tubular secretion with a renal clearance of 4 mL/min/kg. Levetiracetam elimination is correlated to creatinine clearance. Levetiracetam clearance is reduced in patients with impaired renal function [see Use In Specific Populations and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Special Populations

Elderly

There are insufficient pharmacokinetic data to specifically address the use of extended-release levetiracetam in the elderly population.

Pharmacokinetics of immediate-release levetiracetam were evaluated in 16 elderly subjects (age 61-88 years) with creatinine clearance ranging from 30 to 74 mL/min. Following oral administration of twice-daily dosing for 10 days, total body clearance decreased by 38% and the half-life was 2.5 hours longer in the elderly compared to healthy adults. This is most likely due to the decrease in renal function in these subjects.

Pediatric Patients

An open label, multicenter, parallel-group, two-arm study was conducted to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of KEPPRA XR in pediatric patients (13 to 16 years old) and in adults (18 to 55 years old) with epilepsy. KEPPRA XR oral tablets (1000 mg to 3000 mg) were administered once daily with a minimum of 4 days and a maximum of 7 days of treatment to 12 pediatric patients and 13 adults in the study. Dose-normalized steady-state exposure parameters, C max and AUC, were comparable between pediatric and adult patients.

Pregnancy

KEPPRA XR levels may decrease during pregnancy.

Gender

Extended-release levetiracetam C max was 21-30% higher and AUC was 8-18% higher in women (N=12) compared to men (N=12). However, clearances adjusted for body weight were comparable.

Race

Formal pharmacokinetic studies of the effects of race have not been conducted with extended-release or immediate-release levetiracetam. Cross study comparisons involving Caucasians (N=12) and Asians (N=12), however, show that pharmacokinetics of immediate-release levetiracetam were comparable between the two races. Because levetiracetam is primarily renally excreted and there are no important racial differences in creatinine clearance, pharmacokinetic differences due to race are not expected.

Renal Impairment

The effect of KEPPRA XR on renally impaired patients was not assessed in the controlled study. However, it is expected that the effect on KEPPRA XR-treated patients would be similar to that seen in controlled studies of immediate-release KEPPRA tablets. In patients with end stage renal disease on dialysis, it is recommended that immediate-release KEPPRA be used instead of KEPPRA XR.

The disposition of immediate-release levetiracetam was studied in adult subjects with varying degrees of renal function. Total body clearance of levetiracetam is reduced in patients with impaired renal function by 40% in the mild group (CLcr = 50-80 mL/min), 50% in the moderate group (CLcr = 30-50 mL/min) and 60% in the severe renal impairment group (CLcr < 30 mL/min). Clearance of levetiracetam is correlated with creatinine clearance.

In anuric (end stage renal disease) patients, the total body clearance decreased 70% compared to normal subjects (CLcr > 80mL/min). Approximately 50% of the pool of levetiracetam in the body is removed during a standard 4-hour hemodialysis procedure.

Dosage should be reduced in patients with impaired renal function receiving levetiracetam; immediate-release levetiracetam should be given to patients on dialysis [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Hepatic Impairment

In subjects with mild (Child-Pugh A) to moderate (Child-Pugh B) hepatic impairment, the pharmacokinetics of levetiracetam were unchanged. In patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh C), total body clearance was 50% that of normal subjects, but decreased renal clearance accounted for most of the decrease. No dose adjustment is needed for patients with hepatic impairment.

Drug Interactions

In vitro data on metabolic interactions indicate that levetiracetam is unlikely to produce, or be subject to, pharmacokinetic interactions. Levetiracetam and its major metabolite, at concentrations well above C max levels achieved within the therapeutic dose range, are neither inhibitors of, nor high affinity substrates for, human liver cytochrome P450 isoforms, epoxide hydrolase or UDP-glucuronidation enzymes. In addition, levetiracetam does not affect the in vitro glucuronidation of valproic acid.

Potential pharmacokinetic interactions of or with levetiracetam were assessed in clinical pharmacokinetic studies (phenytoin, valproate, warfarin, digoxin, oral contraceptive, probenecid) and through pharmacokinetic screening with immediate-release KEPPRA tablets in the placebo-controlled clinical studies in epilepsy patients. The potential for drug interactions for KEPPRA XR is expected to be essentially the same as that with immediate-release KEPPRA tablets.

Phenytoin

Immediate-release KEPPRA tablets (3000 mg daily) had no effect on the pharmacokinetic disposition of phenytoin in patients with refractory epilepsy. Pharmacokinetics of levetiracetam were also not affected by phenytoin.

Valproate

Immediate-release KEPPRA tablets (1500 mg twice daily) did not alter the pharmacokinetics of valproate in healthy volunteers. Valproate 500 mg twice daily did not modify the rate or extent of levetiracetam absorption or its plasma clearance or urinary excretion. There also was no effect on exposure to and the excretion of the primary metabolite, ucb L057.

Other Antiepileptic Drugs

Potential drug interactions between immediate-release KEPPRA tablets and other AEDs (carbamazepine, gabapentin, lamotrigine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone and valproate) were also assessed by evaluating the serum concentrations of levetiracetam and these AEDs during placebo-controlled clinical studies. These data indicate that levetiracetam does not influence the plasma concentration of other AEDs and that these AEDs do not influence the pharmacokinetics of levetiracetam.

Oral Contraceptives

Immediate-release KEPPRA tablets (500 mg twice daily) did not influence the pharmacokinetics of an oral contraceptive containing 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg levonorgestrel, or of the luteinizing hormone and progesterone levels, indicating that impairment of contraceptive efficacy is unlikely. Coadministration of this oral contraceptive did not influence the pharmacokinetics of levetiracetam.

Digoxin

Immediate-release KEPPRA tablets (1000 mg twice daily) did not influence the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (ECG) of digoxin given as a 0.25 mg dose every day. Coadministration of digoxin did not influence the pharmacokinetics of levetiracetam.

Warfarin

Immediate-release KEPPRA tablets (1000 mg twice daily) did not influence the pharmacokinetics of R and S warfarin. Prothrombin time was not affected by levetiracetam. Coadministration of warfarin did not affect the pharmacokinetics of levetiracetam.

Probenecid

Probenecid, a renal tubular secretion blocking agent, administered at a dose of 500 mg four times a day, did not change the pharmacokinetics of levetiracetam 1000 mg twice daily. Cssmax of the metabolite, ucb L057, was approximately doubled in the presence of probenecid while the fraction of drug excreted unchanged in the urine remained the same. Renal clearance of ucb L057 in the presence of probenecid decreased 60%, probably related to competitive inhibition of tubular secretion of ucb L057. The effect of immediate-release KEPPRA tablets on probenecid was not studied.

Clinical Studies

The effectiveness of KEPPRA XR as adjunctive therapy in partial onset seizures in adults was established in one multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study in patients who had refractory partial onset seizures with or without secondary generalization. This was supported by the demonstration of efficacy of immediate-release KEPPRA tablets (see below) in partial seizures in three multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies in adults, as well as a demonstration of comparable bioavailability between the XR and immediate-release formulations [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY] in adults. The effectiveness for KEPPRA XR as adjunctive therapy in partial onset seizures in pediatric patients, 12 years of age and older, was based upon a single pharmacokinetic study showing comparable pharmacokinetics of KEPPRA XR in adults and adolescents [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. All studies are described below.

KEPPRA XR In Adults

The effectiveness of KEPPRA XR as adjunctive therapy (added to other antiepileptic drugs) was established in one multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study across 7 countries in patients who had refractory partial onset seizures with or without secondary generalization (Study 1).

Study 1

Patients enrolled in Study 1 had at least eight partial seizures with or without secondary generalization during the 8-week baseline period and at least two partial seizures in each 4-week interval of the baseline period. Patients were taking a stable dose regimen of at least one AED, and could take a maximum of three AEDs. After a prospective baseline period of 8 weeks, 158 patients were randomized to placebo (N=79) or 1000 mg (two 500 mg tablets) of KEPPRA XR (N=79), given once daily over a 12-week treatment period.

The primary efficacy endpoint in Study 1 was the percent reduction over placebo in mean weekly frequency of partial onset seizures. The median percent reduction in weekly partial onset seizure frequency from baseline over the treatment period was 46.1% in the KEPPRA XR 1000 mg treatment group (N=74) and 33.4% in the placebo group (N=78). The estimated percent reduction over placebo in weekly partial onset seizure frequency over the treatment period was 14.4% (statistically significant).

The relationship between the effectiveness of the same daily dose of KEPPRA XR and immediate-release KEPPRA has not been studied and is unknown.

Immediate-release KEPPRA In Adults

The effectiveness of immediate-release KEPPRA as adjunctive therapy (added to other antiepileptic drugs) in adults was established in three multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies in patients who had refractory partial onset seizures with or without secondary generalization (Studies 2, 3, and 4). The tablet formulation was used in all three studies. In these studies, 904 patients were randomized to placebo, KEPPRA 1000 mg, KEPPRA 2000 mg, or KEPPRA 3000 mg/day. Patients enrolled in Study 2 or Study 3 had refractory partial onset seizures for at least two years, and had taken two or more AEDs. Patients enrolled in Study 4 had refractory partial onset seizures for at least 1 year and had taken one AED. At the time of the study, patients were taking a stable dose regimen of at least one AED, and could take a maximum of two AEDs. During the baseline period, patients had to have experienced at least two partial onset seizures during each 4-week period.

Study 2

Study 2 was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study conducted at 41 sites in the United States, comparing immediate-release KEPPRA 1000 mg/day (N=97), immediate-release KEPPRA 3000 mg/day (N=101), and placebo (N=95), given in equally divided doses twice daily. After a prospective baseline period of 12 weeks, patients in Study 2 were randomized to one of the three treatment groups described above. The 18-week treatment period consisted of a 6-week titration period, followed by a 12-week fixed dose evaluation period, during which concomitant AED regimens were held constant. The primary measure of effectiveness in Study 2 was a between-group comparison of the percent reduction in weekly partial seizure frequency relative to placebo over the entire randomized treatment period (titration + evaluation period). Secondary outcome variables included the responder rate (incidence of patients with ≥ 50% reduction from baseline in partial onset seizure frequency). The results of Study 2 are displayed in Table 6.

Table 6: Reduction In Mean Over Placebo In Weekly Frequency Of Partial Onset Seizures In Study 2

  Placebo
(N=95)
Immediate-release KEPPRA 1000 mg/day
(N=97)
Immediate-release KEPPRA 3000 mg/day
(N=101)
Percent reduction in partial seizure frequency over placebo - 26.1%* 30.1%*
* statistically significant versus placebo

The percentage of patients (y-axis) who achieved ≥ 50% reduction from baseline in weekly partial onset seizure frequency over the entire randomized treatment period (titration + evaluation period) within the three treatment groups (x-axis) in Study 2 is presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Responder Rate ( ≥ 50% Reduction From Baseline) In Study 2

Responder Rate ( ≥ 50% Reduction From Baseline) In Study 2 - Illustration

Study 3

Study 3 was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study conducted at 62 centers in Europe, comparing immediate-release KEPPRA 1000 mg/day (N=106), immediate-release KEPPRA 2000 mg/day (N=105), and placebo (N=111), given in equally divided doses twice daily.

The first period of the study (Period A) was designed to be analyzed as a parallel-group study. After a prospective baseline period of up to 12 weeks, patients in Study 3 were randomized to one of the three treatment groups described above. The 16-week treatment period consisted of the 4-week titration period followed by a 12-week fixed dose evaluation period, during which concomitant AED regimens were held constant. The primary measure of effectiveness in Study 3 was a between group comparison of the percent reduction in weekly partial seizure frequency relative to placebo over the entire randomized treatment period (titration + evaluation period). Secondary outcome variables included the responder rate (incidence of patients with ≥ 50% reduction from baseline in partial onset seizure frequency). The results of the analysis of Period A are displayed in Table 7.

Table 7: Reduction In Mean Over Placebo In Weekly Frequency Of Partial Onset Seizures In Study 3: Period A

  Placebo
(N=111)
Immediate-release KEPPRA 1000 mg/day
(N=106)
Immediate-release KEPPRA 2000 mg/day
(N=105)
Percent reduction in partial seizure frequency over placebo - 17.1%* 21.4%*
* statistically significant versus placebo

The percentage of patients (y-axis) who achieved ≥ 50% reduction from baseline in weekly partial onset seizure frequency over the entire randomized treatment period (titration + evaluation period) within the three treatment groups (x-axis) in Study 3 is presented in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Responder Rate ( ≥ 50% Reduction From Baseline) In Study 3: Period A

Responder Rate ( ≥ 50% Reduction From Baseline) In Study 3 - Illustration

The comparison of immediate-release KEPPRA 2000 mg/day to immediate-release KEPPRA 1000 mg/day for responder rate in Study 3 was statistically significant (P=0.02). Analysis of the trial as a cross-over study yielded similar results.

Study 4

Study 4 was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study conducted at 47 centers in Europe comparing immediate-release KEPPRA 3000 mg/day (N=180) and placebo (N=104) in patients with refractory partial onset seizures, with or without secondary generalization, receiving only one concomitant AED. Study drug was given in two divided doses. After a prospective baseline period of 12 weeks, patients in Study 4 were randomized to one of two treatment groups described above. The 16-week treatment period consisted of a 4-week titration period, followed by a 12-week fixed dose evaluation period, during which concomitant AED doses were held constant. The primary measure of effectiveness in Study 4 was a between group comparison of the percent reduction in weekly seizure frequency relative to placebo over the entire randomized treatment period (titration + evaluation period). Secondary outcome variables included the responder rate (incidence of patients with ≥ 50% reduction from baseline in partial onset seizure frequency). Table 8 displays the results of Study 4.

Table 8: Reduction In Mean Over Placebo In Weekly Frequency Of Partial Onset Seizures In Study 4

  Placebo
(N=104)
Immediate-release KEPPRA 3000 mg/day
(N=180)
Percent reduction in partial seizure frequency over placebo - 23.0%*
* statistically significant versus placebo

The percentage of patients (y-axis) who achieved ≥ 50% reduction from baseline in weekly partial onset seizure frequency over the entire randomized treatment period (titration + evaluation period) within the two treatment groups (x-axis) in Study 4 is presented in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Responder Rate ( ≥ 50% Reduction From Baseline) In Study 4

Responder Rate ( ≥ 50% Reduction From Baseline) In Study 4 - Illustration

Immediate-release KEPPRA In Pediatric Patients 4 Years To 16 Years

The use of KEPPRA XR in pediatric patients 12 years of age and older is supported by Study 5, which was conducted using immediate-release KEPPRA. KEPPRA XR is not indicated in children below 12 years of age.

Study 5

The effectiveness of immediate-release KEPPRA as adjunctive therapy in pediatric patients was established in a multicenter, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study, conducted at 60 sites in North America, in children 4 to 16 years of age with partial seizures uncontrolled by standard antiepileptic drugs (Study 5). Eligible patients on a stable dose of 1-2 AEDs, who still experienced at least 4 partial onset seizures during the 4 weeks prior to screening, as well as at least 4 partial onset seizures in each of the two 4-week baseline periods, were randomized to receive either immediate-release KEPPRA or placebo. The enrolled population included 198 patients (KEPPRA N=101; placebo N=97) with refractory partial onset seizures, with or without secondarily generalization. Study 5 consisted of an 8-week baseline period and 4-week titration period followed by a 10-week evaluation period. Dosing was initiated at a dose of 20 mg/kg/day in two divided doses. During the treatment period, the immediate-release KEPPRA doses were adjusted in 20 mg/kg/day increments, at 2-week intervals to the target dose of 60 mg/kg/day. The primary measure of effectiveness in Study 5 was a between group comparison of the percent reduction in weekly partial seizure frequency relative to placebo over the entire 14-week randomized treatment period (titration + evaluation period). Secondary outcome variables included the responder rate (incidence of patients with ≥ 50% reduction from baseline in partial onset seizure frequency per week). Table 9 displays the results of this study.

Table 9: Reduction In Mean Over Placebo In Weekly Frequency Of Partial Onset Seizures in Study 5

  Placebo
(N=97)
Immediate- release KEPPRA
(N=101)
Percent reduction in partial seizure frequency over placebo - 26.8%*
*statistically significant versus placebo

The percentage of patients (y-axis) who achieved ≥ 50% reduction in weekly partial onset seizure frequency over the entire randomized treatment period (titration + evaluation period) within the two treatment groups (x-axis) in Study 5 is presented in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Responder Rate ( ≥ 50% Reduction From Baseline) in Study 5

Responder Rate ( ≥ 50% Reduction From Baseline) in Study 5 - Illustration

Last reviewed on RxList: 8/15/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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