from the common to the rare; how long they last & how to deal with them

> Keppra Side Effects


Pros & Cons, Interesting Stuff Your Doctor Didn’t Tell You | Keppra Index | Blackbox Warning & Noted Traits
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About Side Effects

Potential side effects (adverse events in fancy pharmaceutical talk) are often used as a rationalization to not take Keppra (levetiracetam). Many people will stop taking an otherwise working drug because of one or more side effects that are relatively minor and/or often temporary. There may even be ways to counter or mitigate the problematic effects.

It all comes down to a very simple equation: which sucks less?

There is no perfect drug. If you keep switching meds in the hopes of finding something with no side effect, or irrelevant side effects that don’t bug you as much, you could wind up treatment-resistant, and a med that worked before may work not as well as it did the first time, if at all.

Side Effects All Crazymeds Have

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No matter which neurological and/or psychiatric drug you take, you’ll probably get one or more of these side effects. These will usually be gone, or at least will diminish to the point where you barely notice it most of the time, within a week or two.

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness / fatigue - even when taking stimulants in some circumstances.
  • Insomnia, instead of or alternating with the drowsiness.
  • Nausea
  • Assorted other minor GI complaints (constipation, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Generally feeling spacey / out of it
    • Which can all add up to the ever-helpful ”flu-like symptoms” listed as an adverse event on the PI sheet of practically every medication on the planet used to treat almost any condition humans and other animals could have.
  • All crazy meds can, and probably will affect your dreams as well. There is no way of telling if that will be good or bad, let alone if this side effect is permanent or temporary.

So don’t operate any heavy machinery and try to avoid driving the first couple of days. We always recommend1 starting a new med Friday night / Saturday morning (or whenever your day off is) so you have an idea of how it will affect you for the first week or two. Keep in mind: most side effects are usually temporary in nature.

Keppra (levetiracetam) Typical Side Effects

Most everyone gets at least one or two of these
* Like most AEDs: sleepiness, headache, and dizziness/vertigo.
  • What most crazy meds have as uncommon-to-rare, but are common side effects for Keppra:
    • Muscle weakness
    • Various kinds of infections-rhinitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, and assorted nose problems.
  • Another nice thing about Keppra - its side effects are almost always dosage-dependent. So the more you take, the more likely and/or more severe the side effects will be. Why is that nice? Because it’s predictable. Few things about epilepsy and AEDs are predictable.
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Keppra (levetiracetam) Uncommon Side Effects

You may or may not get one or more of these, so don’t be surprised either way
* The mood problems-depression, psychosis, hostility, anxiety in various forms (I know, it’s supposed to be good for anxiety. But yet…drugs are weird…).
  • Appetite changes one way or another.
  • Paresthesia, aka that fun tingling in your extremities like Topamax does.

Potentially Dangerous Side Effects of Keppra (levetiracetam)

If you have one or more of these, call your doctor ASAP. Or now. Or get the hell off of the Internet and go to the ER NOW!
The only potentially dangerous side effects Keppra has are the same as every AED on the planet. They’re just even less likely to happen than with any of the others.
  • Like all AEDs it can eat your blood. I.e. it can cause various blood dyscrasia (bad stuff), including
    • leukopenia and neutropenia (low white cell count)
    • thrombocytopenia (low platelets count)
    • pancytopenia (low everything count, you might as well have water in your veins)
  • Like all AEDs it can eat your skin. I.e. it can cause potentially deadly skin disorders:
    • Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS better known as the Lamictal Rash)
    • toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN)
    • erythema multiforme (similar to SJS, usually not as bad)

Keppra Freaky Rare Side Effects

You won’t get these. Unless you already have and that’s why you’re here
* Peace-Love-and-Fluffy-Bunnies-Not-Manic-Just-Happy! Ok, so Kassiane is the only one who got that for very long.
  • Status gelasticus. An AED exacerbating, or even causing seizures is neither freaky nor rare. Status gelasticus though is a freaky rare type of seizure. In this poor girl’s case she had eight straight hours of bursts of laughter every 15–20 seconds.

For all known side effects, see the Keppra (levetiracetam) full US prescribing information. Or really indulge your paranoia by reading every PI sheet in the world we can find.

Be very careful. Reading the PI sheet for a drug you haven’t been prescribed, or even discussed with your doctor, can often be an exercise in the fear of medications (pharmacophobia).


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Ways to Counter/Minimize/Deal with Some Side Effects of Keppra (levetiracetam)

Be sure to read the page on how to deal with side effects common to all crazy meds
  • Reduce the dosage.
  • We’ve found that the psychiatric side effects like depression, psychosis, and especially rage can sometimes be mitigated by taking the immediate release form three times a day instead of twice a day. It doesn’t always work, but the track record is pretty good, so it’s worth a shot.

We don’t have any data at all on if that works with Keppra XR form.

  • Another way to deal with psychiatric side effects: Take Lamictal.

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References

  1. Keppra’s Full US Prescribing Information

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Pros & Cons, Interesting Stuff Your Doctor Didn’t Tell You | Keppra Index | Blackbox Warning & Noted Traits


1 If you have the luxury of both a job and being able to cope with your symptoms not being dealt with for however many days you need to wait in order to do this. Read enough of this site and you can tell I live in a fantasy world.


If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Keppra discussion board. We welcome criticisms of the articles, notifications of bad links, site problems, consumer experiences with medications, etc. I’m not always able to write back. Hence I never answer questions about meds via e-mail that are answered by this or other articles. Especially if they have been repeatedly asked on the forum. That’s why we write these damn things. Questions about which meds are best for your condition should also be asked on the forum; because this is a free site, so the price of admission is making things easier for somebody else searching for the same answer. We don’t deal with children on the forum or in private because after doing this for ten years I don’t have the emotional stamina to deal with kids who have brain cooties. How to contact Crazymeds. — Jerod Poore, CME, Publisher crazymeds.us


Last modified on Sunday, 23 February, 2014 at 16:22:09 by JerodPoorePage Authors , Jerod PooreDate created Tuesday, 04 October 2011 at 11:12:28
“Keppra Side Effects” by Kassiane S is copyright © 2011 Kassiane SPublished online 2011/10/04
Citation options to copy & paste into your article:
Plain text:Kassiane S and Jerod Poore. “Keppra Side Effects.” crazymeds.us. (2011 ).
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Linked: <a href="http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Profiles/Kassiane S">Kassiane S</a> and <a href="http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=5rkux7sAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=sra">Jerod Poore</a>. <a href='http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Meds/KeppraSideEffects'>"Keppra Side Effects"</a>. <a href= "http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage"> <em>crazymeds.us</em></a>. (2011 ).
with Microdata: <span itemprop='citation'> <a href="http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Profiles/Kassiane S">Kassiane S</a> and <a href="http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=5rkux7sAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=sra">Jerod Poore</a>. <a href= 'http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Meds/KeppraSideEffects'> "Keppra Side Effects" </a>. <a href=" http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage "> <em>crazymeds.us</em></a>. (2011 ).</span>

Keppra, and all other drug names on this page and used throughout the site, are a trademark of someone else.

will probably have the name of the manufacturer and trademark owner (they’re not always the same company) at or near the very bottom. Or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing. It may of changed hands by the time you finished reading this article.




Page design and explanatory material by Jerod Poore, copyright © 2004 - 2014. All rights reserved.
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Almost all of the material on this site is by Jerod Poore and is copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Jerod Poore. Except, of course, the PI sheets - those are the property of the drug companies who developed the drugs the sheets are about - and any documents that are written by other people which may be posted to this site will remain the property of the original authors. You cannot reproduce this page or any other material on this site outside of the boundaries of fair use copying without the express permission of the copyright holder. That’s usually me, so just ask first. That means if want to print out a few pages to take to your doctor, therapist, counselor, support group, non-understanding family members or something like that - then that’s OK to just do. Go for it! Please. As long as you include this copyright notice and something along the lines of following disclaimer, I’m usually cool with it.



All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on Crazy Talk: the Crazymeds Forum.
The information on Crazymeds pertains to and is intended for adults. While some information about children and adolescents is occasionally presented (e.g. US FDA approvals), pediatric-specific data such as dosages, side effects, off-label applications, etc. are rarely included in the articles on drugs or discussed on the forum. If you are looking for information regarding meds for children you’ll have to go somewhere else. Plus we are big pottymouths and talk about S-E-X a lot.
Know your sources!
Nobody on this site is a doctor, a therapist, or a pharmacist. We don’t portray them either here or on TV. Only doctors can diagnose and treat an illness. While it’s not as bad as it used to be, some doctors still get pissed off by patients who know too much about medications, so tread lightly when and where appropriate. Diagnosing yourself from a website is like defending yourself in court, you suddenly have a fool for a doctor. Don’t be a cyberchondriac, thinking you have every disease you see a website about, or that you’ll get every side effect from every medication1. Self-prescribing is as dangerous as buying meds from fraudulent online pharmacies that promise you medications without prescriptions.
All information on this site has been obtained through our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles, the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets, and from sources that are referenced throughout the site. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away. OK, you can throw away duplicate copies, but keep at least one, as that’s your proof of purchase of having taken a med in case a doctor doubts your medical history. Plus they take up less space than a bottle, although keeping one inside of a pill bottle is even better.
Crazymeds is not responsible for the content of sites we provide links to. We like them, or they’re paid advertisements, or they’re something else we think you should read to help you make an informed decision about a particular med. Sometimes they’re more than one of those things. But what’s on those sites is their business, not ours.
Very little information about visitors to this site is collected or saved. From time to time I look at search terms used and which pages they bring up in an effort to make the information I present more relevant. And the country of origin, just because I’m geeky like that. That’s about it. Depending on how you feel about Schrodinger, our privacy policy should either assuage or exacerbate your paranoia.
Crazymeds is optimized for the browser you’re not using on the platform you wish you had. Between you and me, it all looks a lot cleaner using Safari or Chrome, although more than half of the visitors to this site use either Safari or Internet Explorer, so I’m doing my best to make things look nice for IE as well. I’m using Firefox and running Windows 72. On a computer that sits on top of my desk. With a 23 inch monitor. Hey, at least you can make the text larger or smaller by clicking on the + or - buttons in the upper right hand corner. If you have Java enabled. Like 99% of the websites on the planet, Crazymeds is hosted on domain running an open source operating system with a variety of open source applications, including the software used to display what you’ve been reading. As such Crazymeds is not responsible for whatever weird shit your browser does or does not do when you read this site3.
No neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists or pharmacists were harmed in the production of this website. Use only as directed. Void where prohibited. Contains nuts. Certain restrictions may apply. All data are subject to availability. Not available on all mobile devices, in the 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a Zegnatronic Rocket Society, or in all dimensions of reality. Hail Xenu!

‘Everything is true, nothing is permitted.’ - Jerod Poore


1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.

2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.

3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas? I don’t even need my big-ass rant any more. Heartbleed has made my case for me. And that’s just the one that got all the media attention. The very nature of an open source operating system makes security as much of an illusion of anonymity. Before you flip out too much: the domain Crazymeds is hosted on uses a version of SSL that is not affected by the Heartbleed bug. That’s one of the many reasons why I pay a lot of money and keep this site on Lunarpages.

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