Levetiracetam (Page 5 of 8)


10.1 Signs, Symptoms and Laboratory Findings of Acute Overdosage in Humans

The signs and symptoms for levetiracetam extended-release tablets overdose are expected to be similar to those seen with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets.The highest known dose of oral immediate-release levetiracetam tablets received in the clinical development program was 6,000 mg/day. Other than drowsiness, there were no adverse reactions in the few known cases of overdose in clinical trials. Cases of somnolence, agitation, aggression, depressed level of consciousness, respiratory depression and coma were observed with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets overdoses in postmarketing use.

10.2 Management of Overdose

There is no specific antidote for overdose with levetiracetam extended-release tablets. If indicated, elimination of unabsorbed drug should be attempted by emesis or gastric lavage; usual precautions should be observed to maintain airway. General supportive care of the patient is indicated including monitoring of vital signs and observation of the patient’s clinical status. A Certified Poison Control Center should be contacted for up to date information on the management of overdose with levetiracetam extended-release tablets.

10.3 Hemodialysis

Standard hemodialysis procedures result in significant clearance of levetiracetam (approximately 50% in 4 hours) and should be considered in cases of overdose. Although hemodialysis has not been performed in the few known cases of overdose, it may be indicated by the patient’s clinical state or in patients with significant renal impairment.


Levetiracetam is an antiepileptic drug available as 500 mg and 750 mg (blue and white to off-white) extended-release tablets for oral administration.The chemical name of levetiracetam, a single enantiomer, is (-)-(S)-α-ethyl-2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide, its molecular formula is C8 H14 N2 O2 and its molecular weight is 170.21. Levetiracetam is chemically unrelated to existing antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). It has the following structural formula:

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Levetiracetam, USP is a white to off-white crystalline powder with a faint odor and a bitter taste. It is very soluble in water (104 g/100 mL). It is freely soluble in chloroform (65.3 g/100 mL) and in methanol (53.6 g/100 mL), soluble in ethanol (16.5 g/100 mL), sparingly soluble in acetonitrile (5.7 g/100 mL) and practically insoluble in n-hexane. (Solubility limits are expressed as g/100 mL solvent.)
Levetiracetam extended-release tablets contain the labeled amount of levetiracetam. Inactive ingredients: povidone, hypromellose, amino methacrylate copolymer, colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, talc, silicified microcrystalline cellulose, crospovidone, sodium lauryl sulfate, FD&C Blue #1 aluminum lake, ethyl cellulose aqueous dispersion, dibutyl sebacate, triethyl citrate, polysorbate 20, polyvinyl alcohol, polyethylene glycol, and polysorbate 80. The imprinting ink contains shellac glaze, iron oxide black, N-butyl alcohol, propylene glycol, and ammonium hydroxide. Levetiracetam extended-release tablet is a bilayer coated tablet. The medication is present in core of tablet and release controlling polymers are present in core and coating of tablet. The biologically inert components of core tablet and/or coating may occasionally remain intact during GI transit and may be eliminated in feces as inert fragments of coating and/ or soft, hydrated mass.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

The precise mechanism(s) by which levetiracetam exerts its antiepileptic effect is unknown.
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.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Effects on QTc Interval

The effects of levetiracetam extended-release tablets on QTc prolongation is expected to be the same as that of immediate-release levetiracetam tablets. The effect of immediate-release levetiracetam tablets on QTc prolongation was evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, positive-controlled (moxifloxacin 400 mg) and placebo-controlled crossover study of levetiracetam tablets (1,000 mg or 5,000 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.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics


Bioavailability of levetiracetam extended-release tablets is similar to that of the immediate-release levetiracetam tablets. The pharmacokinetics (AUC and Cmax ) were shown to be dose proportional after single dose administration of 1,000 mg, 2,000 mg, and 3,000 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 to 8 hours. The half-life is increased in the elderly (primarily due to impaired renal clearance) and in subjects with renal impairment.

The pharmacokinetics of levetiracetam are similar when used as monotherapy or as adjunctive therapy for the treatment of partial-onset seizures.

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 (AUC0-24) was similar to extent of exposure after multiple dose immediate-release tablets intake. Cmax and Cmin 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 (Tmax) 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.


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.


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 Dosage and Administration (2.2) and Use in Specific Populations (8.6)].

Specific Populations


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 to 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 levetiracetam extended-release tablets in pediatric patients (13 to 16 years old) and in adults (18 to 55 years old) with epilepsy. Levetiracetam extended-release tablets (1,000 mg to 3,000 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, Cmax and AUC, were comparable between pediatric and adult patients.


Levetiracetam extended-release tablets levels may decrease during pregnancy [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9) and Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].


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


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

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 to 80 mL/min), 50% in the moderate group (CLcr = 30 to 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 >80 mL/min). Approximately 50% of the pool of levetiracetam in the body is removed during a standard 4- hour hemodialysis procedure [see Dosage and Administration (2.2) ].

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 Cmax 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 levetiracetam tablets in the placebo-controlled clinical studies in epilepsy patients. The potential for drug interactions for levetiracetam extended-release tablets is expected to be essentially the same as that with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets.


Immediate-release levetiracetam tablets (3,000 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.


Immediate-release levetiracetam tablets (1,500 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 levetiracetam 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 levetiracetam 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.


Immediate-release levetiracetam tablets (1,000 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.


Immediate-release levetiracetam tablets (1,000 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 1,000 mg twice daily. Css max 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 levetiracetam tablets on probenecid was not studied.

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