|Systematic (IUPAC) name|
|Pregnancy cat.||B3 (AU) C (US)|
|Legal status||Prescription Only (S4) (AU) ℞ Prescription only|
|Metabolism||Enzymatic hydrolysis of acetamide group|
|Half-life||6 - 8 hr|
|Mol. mass||170.209 g/mol|
|(what is this?)|
Levetiracetam has been approved in the European Union as a monotherapy treatment for epilepsy in the case of partial seizures, or as an adjunctive therapy for partial, myoclonic and tonic-clonic seizures. It is also used in veterinary medicine for similar purposes.
Levetiracetam has potential benefits for other psychiatric and neurologic conditions such as Tourette syndrome, autism, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder, as well as Alzheimer's disease. However, its most serious adverse effects are behavioral, and its benefit-risk ratio in these conditions is not well understood.
Levetiracetam is generally well tolerated, but may cause drowsiness, weakness, unsteady gait, fatigue, coordination problems, headache, pain, forgetfulness, anxiety, irritability or agitation, dizziness, mood changes, nervousness, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, throat pain, constipation, and changes in skin pigmentation.
Serious side effects may include depression, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, seizures that are worse or different, fever, sore throat, signs of infection, double vision, itching, rash, swelling of the face. A study published in 2005 suggests that the addition of pyridoxine (vitamin B6) may curtail some of the psychiatric symptoms.
A rare side effect of levetiracitam is a pins and needles sensation in the patient's legs, similar to neuropathy.
Levetiracetam was also found to have a variety of adverse effects on 2% of patients (particularly those predisposed to psychological symptoms); ranging from psychotic depression to fully realised psychosis, requiring hospitalisation.
Measurement in bodily fluids
There are only a few papers published reporting therapeutic drug monitoring methods of levetiracetam. Three of them employed HPLC with UV-detection, and two methods were using GC with NPD-detection,. Microemulsion electrokinetic chromatography with UV-detection was utilized in one method. Two methods facilitating chiral separation of the S- and R- enantiomer of levetiracetam, one utilizing GC–MS and the other HPLC–UV, were published,. These methods were designed to investigate in dogs the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of the two enantiomers separately. For routine therapeutic drug monitoring in men, these methods were not appropriate. In all but one of the methods, sample preparation with SPE or liquid–liquid extraction is necessary. Pucci et al. evaluated the feasibility of protein precipitation as the only sample preparation step in comparison to SPE. They concluded, that protein precipitation is a suitable and fast sample preparation for measuring routine patient samples. Mecarelli et al.  studied the concentration of levetiracetam in both serum and saliva of patients with epilepsy.
Mechanism of action
The exact mechanism by which levetiracetam acts to treat epilepsy is unknown. However, the drug binds to a synaptic vesicle glycoprotein, SV2A, and inhibits presynaptic calcium channels  reducing neurotransmitter release and acting as a neuromodulator. This is believed to impede impulse conduction across synapses. 
- Ready-to-administer bags of Sodium Chloride Injection, at concentrations of 500 mg/100 mL, 1000 mg/100 mL and 1500 mg/100 mL
- 250 mg tablets
- 500 mg tablets
- 750 mg tablets
- 1000 mg tablets
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- Lynch BA, Lambeng N, Nocka K, et al. (June 2004). "The synaptic vesicle protein SV2A is the binding site for the antiepileptic drug levetiracetam". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 101 (26): 9861–6. doi:10.1073/pnas.0308208101. PMC 470764. PMID 15210974.
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- Keppra UCB (manufacturer's website)
- NIH MedLine drug information