Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Anemia: Levetiracetam may cause low levels of red blood cells. If you experience symptoms of reduced red blood cell count (anemia) such as shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired or pale skin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells, including red blood cells, in your blood.
Behaviour problems: Some people have reported changes in behaviour associated with taking levetiracetam. There have been occasional reports of aggressive behaviour, anxiety, hostility, and mood swings in people with or without a history of having these problems. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you experience these feelings or behaviours.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: People with uncontrolled epilepsy should not drive or handle potentially dangerous machinery. Levetiracetam may cause drowsiness or problems with muscle control. If you are taking this medication, do not participate in activities requiring mental alertness or physical coordination until you have determined how this medication affects you.
Hypersensitivity syndrome: A severe allergic reaction called hypersensitivity syndrome has occurred for some people with the use of levetiracetam. Stop taking the medication and get immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, including fever, swollen glands, yellowing of the skin or eyes, or flu-like symptoms with skin rash or blistering.
Infection: Levetiracetam can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). If you experience fever, sore throat, fatigue, weakness, or generally feel unwell while taking levetiracetam, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells in your blood.
Kidney disease: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have kidney disease or reduced kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. People with poor kidney function may need a lower dose of levetiracetam.
Skin rash: Rarely, people taking levetiracetam experience a severe skin reaction that can be life-threatening. If you experience a rash that gets worse, or develops into blisters, sores on the lips or eyes or covers a large area of the body, contact your doctor immediately.
Stopping the medication: As with other medications used to control seizures, stopping this medication suddenly is not recommended because of the possibility of increased seizure frequency. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Suicidal thoughts and behaviour: Occasionally, people taking this medication may experience thoughts of suicide. If you experience these symptoms or any other behaviour change while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. Family members or caregivers of people who are taking this medication should contact the person's doctor immediately if they notice unusual behaviour changes.
Pregnancy: Levetiracetam may cause harm to the developing baby if the mother takes it when she is pregnant. This medication should only be used during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking levetiracetam, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children and adolescents: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for use by children and adolescents less than 18 years of age.
Seniors: Seniors may need a lower dose of levetiracetam.