LEVETIRACETAM (Page 2 of 10)


100 mg/mL solution (3)

Levetiracetam Oral Solution 100mg/mL is a clear, colorless to faintly yellow liquid having a characteristic cherry odor.


  • None (4)



  • Behavioral abnormalities including psychotic symptoms, suicidal ideation, irritability, and aggressive behavior have been observed; monitor patients for psychiatric signs and symptoms (5.1)
  • Suicidal Behavior and Ideation: Monitor patients for new or worsening depression, suicidal thoughts/behavior, and/or unusual changes in mood or behavior (5.2)
  • Monitor for somnolence and fatigue and advise patients not to drive or operate machinery until they have gained sufficient experience on levetiracetam (5.3)
  • Withdrawal Seizures: levetiracetam must be gradually withdrawn (5.6)

5.1 Behavioral Abnormalities and Psychotic Symptoms

Levetiracetam may cause behavioral abnormalities and psychotic symptoms. Patients treated with levetiracetam should be monitored for psychiatric signs and symptoms.

Behavioral abnormalities

In clinical studies, 13% of adult levetiracetam-treated patients and 38% of pediatric levetiracetam-treated patients (4 to 16 years of age) compared to 6% and 19% of adult and pediatric placebo-treated patients, experienced non-psychotic behavioral symptoms (reported as aggression, agitation, anger, anxiety, apathy, depersonalization, depression, emotional lability, hostility, hyperkinesias, irritability, nervousness, neurosis, and personality disorder).

A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study was performed to assess the neurocognitive and behavioral effects of levetiracetam as adjunctive therapy in pediatric patients (4 to 16 years of age). The results from an exploratory analysis indicated a worsening in levetiracetam-treated patients on aggressive behavior (one of eight behavior dimensions) as measured in a standardized and systematic way using a validated instrument, the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL/6-18).

In clinical studies in pediatric patients 1 month to < 4 years of age, irritability was reported in 12% of the levetiracetam-treated patients compared to 0% of placebo-treated patients.

In clinical studies, 1.7% of adult levetiracetam-treated patients discontinued treatment due to behavioral adverse reactions, compared to 0.2% of placebo-treated patients. The treatment dose was reduced in 0.8% of adult levetiracetam-treated patients and in 0.5% of placebo-treated patients. Overall, 11% of levetiracetam-treated pediatric patients experienced behavioral symptoms associated with discontinuation or dose reduction, compared to 6% of placebo-treated patients.

Psychotic symptoms

In clinical studies, 1% of levetiracetam-treated adult patients, 2% of levetiracetam-treated pediatric patients 4 to 16 years of age, and 17% of levetiracetam-treated pediatric patients 1 month to <4 years of age experienced psychotic symptoms, compared to 0.2%, 2%, and 5% in the corresponding age groups treated with placebo. In a controlled study that assessed the neurocognitive and behavioral effects of levetiracetam in pediatric patients 4 to 16 years of age, 1.6% of levetiracetam-treated patient experienced paranoia, compared to 0% of placebo-treated patients. In the same study, 3.1% of levetiracetam-treated patients that experienced confusional state, compared to 0% of placebo-treated patients [see Use in Specific Populations ( 8.4) ].

In clinical studies, two (0.3%) levetiracetam-treated adult patients were hospitalized and their treatment was discontinued due to psychosis. Both events, reported as psychosis, developed within the first week of treatment and resolved within 1 to 2 weeks following treatment discontinuation. There was no difference between drug and placebo-treated patients in the incidence of the pediatric patients who discontinued treatment due to psychotic and non-psychotic adverse reactions.

5.2 Suicidal Behavior and Ideation

Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including levetiracetam, increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in patients taking these drugs for any indication. Patients treated with any AED for any indication should be monitored for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and/or any unusual changes in mood or behavior.

Pooled analyses of 199 placebo-controlled clinical trials (mono- and adjunctive therapy) of 11 different AEDs showed that patients randomized to one of the AEDs had approximately twice the risk (adjusted Relative Risk 1.8, 95% CI:1.2, 2.7) of suicidal thinking or behavior compared to patients randomized to placebo. In these trials, which had a median treatment duration of 12 weeks, the estimated incidence rate of suicidal behavior or ideation among 27,863 AED-treated patients was 0.43%, compared to 0.24% among 16,029 placebo-treated patients, representing an increase of approximately one case of suicidal thinking or behavior for every 530 patients treated. There were four suicides in drug-treated patients in the trials and none in placebo-treated patients, but the number is too small to allow any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.

The increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior with AEDs was observed as early as one week after starting drug treatment with AEDs and persisted for the duration of treatment assessed. Because most trials included in the analysis did not extend beyond 24 weeks, the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior beyond 24 weeks could not be assessed.

The risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior was generally consistent among drugs in the data analyzed. The finding of increased risk with AEDs of varying mechanisms of action and across a range of indications suggests that the risk applies to all AEDs used for any indication. The risk did not vary substantially by age (5 to 100 years) in the clinical trials analyzed. Table 2 shows absolute and relative risk by indication for all evaluated AEDs.

Table 2: Risk b y Indication f or Antiepileptic Drugs in t he Pooled Analysis

Indication Indication Placebo Patients with Events Per 1000 Patients Drug Patients with Events Per 1000 Patients Relative Risk: Incidence of Events in Drug Patients/Incidence in Placebo Patients Risk Difference: Additional Drug Patients with Events Per 1000 Patients
Epilepsy 1 3.4 3.5 2.4
Psychiatric 5.7 8.5 1.5 2.9
Other 1 1.8 1.9 0.9
Total 2.4 4.3 1.8 1.9

The relative risk for suicidal thoughts or behavior was higher in clinical trials for epilepsy than in clinical trials for psychiatric or other conditions, but the absolute risk differences were similar for the epilepsy and psychiatric indications.

Anyone considering prescribing levetiracetam or any other AED must balance the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors with the risk of untreated illness. Epilepsy and many other illnesses for which AEDs are prescribed are themselves associated with morbidity and mortality and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Should suicidal thoughts and behavior emerge during treatment, the prescriber needs to consider whether the emergence of these symptoms in any given patient may be related to the illness being treated.

Patients, their caregivers, and families should be informed that AEDs increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior and should be advised of the need to be alert for the emergence or worsening of the signs and symptoms of depression, any unusual changes in mood or behavior, or the emergence of suicidal thoughts, behavior, or thoughts about self-harm. Behaviors of concern should be reported immediately to healthcare providers.

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