Keppra: Uses, Side Effects, and Warnings

Keppra is a brand name for Levetiracetam, a prescription medication used to treat seizures in adults and children. It is one of the most commonly prescribed anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), designed to help reduce seizure activity in individuals with a history of epilepsy. This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the uses, benefits, side effects, and warnings of Keppra.

Uses

Keppra is primarily prescribed to treat various types of seizures, including:

  • Partial-onset seizures
  • Generalized tonic-clonic seizures
  • Myoclonic seizures
  • Absence seizures

Keppra works by reducing abnormal electrical activity in the brain, which helps to prevent seizures. It is believed that this drug acts by binding to a protein in the brain that regulates the release of neurotransmitters, chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells.

Benefits

Keppra has several notable benefits, including:

  • Effective in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures
  • May be used in combination with other AEDs to improve seizure control
  • Low likelihood of causing drug interactions with other medications
  • Quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, making it a convenient option for those with seizure emergencies
  • Available in different forms, including oral solution and tablets, to accommodate different patient needs

Side Effects

Like any medication, Keppra can cause side effects, although not everyone experiences them. Some of the most common side effects associated with this drug include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Infection (particularly in children)
  • Behavioral changes (such as aggression, agitation, and depression)
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea or vomiting

Most side effects associated with Keppra are mild and usually disappear after a few days. However, if they persist or worsen, you should contact your doctor. In rare cases, Keppra can cause more serious side effects, such as suicidal thoughts, allergic reactions, and kidney problems. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Warnings

While Keppra is generally considered to be a safe and effective medication, there are some precautions you should take before and during treatment:

  • Inform your doctor of any medical conditions you have, including kidney problems and mental health conditions
  • Inform your doctor of any other medications or supplements you are taking, as some drugs can interact with Keppra
  • Avoid alcohol while taking Keppra, as it can increase the risk of side effects such as dizziness and drowsiness
  • If you are pregnant or nursing, talk with your doctor before taking Keppra, as it can pass into breast milk and may harm the baby
  • Do not stop taking Keppra suddenly without your doctor’s approval, as this can increase the risk of seizures
  • Inform your doctor immediately if you experience any suicidal thoughts or behaviors while taking Keppra

Conclusion

Keppra is an effective medication used to manage seizures in individuals with epilepsy. While it can cause side effects, they are typically mild and go away within a few days. As with any medication, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and guidelines to ensure it is used safely and effectively. If you have any questions or concerns about Keppra, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about Keppra:

How long does it take for Keppra to work?

Keppra typically starts working within a few hours of taking the medication. However, it may take several weeks for full therapeutic effects to be observed.

How long does Keppra stay in your system?

The half-life of Keppra is around 6-8 hours in adults and 5-7 hours in children. This means that it takes about a day for Keppra to be completely cleared from your system.

Can Keppra cause weight gain?

Weight gain is not a common side effect of Keppra, although it has been reported in some individuals. If you experience unexplained weight gain while taking Keppra, talk with your doctor.

Can Keppra be taken with food?

Yes, Keppra can be taken with or without food. However, taking it with food may help reduce the risk of nausea or stomach upset.

Can Keppra be abused as a recreational drug?

Keppra is not generally considered to be a recreational drug, as it does not produce a high or euphoric effect. Additionally, using Keppra for non-medical purposes can be dangerous and may result in serious side effects or overdose.

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