Levetiracetam (Page 4 of 10)

CONTRAINDICATIONS

This product should not be administered to patients who have previously exhibited hypersensitivity to levetiracetam or any of the inactive ingredients in levetiracetam tablets.

WARNINGS

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 7 shows absolute and relative risk by indication for all evaluated AEDs.

Table 7 Risk by indication for antiepileptic drugs in the pooled analysis
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.

Neuropsychiatric Adverse Events

Partial Onset Seizures

Adults

In adults experiencing partial onset seizures, levetiracetam use is associated with the occurrence of central nervous system adverse events that can be classified into the following categories: 1) somnolence and fatigue, 2) coordination difficulties, and 3) behavioral abnormalities.

In controlled trials of adult patients with epilepsy experiencing partial onset seizures, 14.8% of levetiracetam-treated patients reported somnolence, compared to 8.4% of placebo patients. There was no clear dose response up to 3000 mg/day. In a study where there was no titration, about 45% of patients receiving 4000 mg/day reported somnolence. The somnolence was considered serious in 0.3% of the treated patients, compared to 0% in the placebo group. About 3% of levetiracetam-treated patients discontinued treatment due to somnolence, compared to 0.7% of placebo patients. In 1.4% of treated patients and in 0.9% of placebo patients the dose was reduced, while 0.3% of the treated patients were hospitalized due to somnolence.

In controlled trials of adult patients with epilepsy experiencing partial onset seizures, 14.7% of treated patients reported asthenia, compared to 9.1% of placebo patients. Treatment was discontinued in 0.8% of treated patients as compared to 0.5% of placebo patients. In 0.5% of treated patients and in 0.2% of placebo patients the dose was reduced.

A total of 3.4% of levetiracetam-treated patients experienced coordination difficulties, (reported as either ataxia, abnormal gait, or incoordination) compared to 1.6% of placebo patients. A total of 0.4% of patients in controlled trials discontinued levetiracetam treatment due to ataxia, compared to 0% of placebo patients. In 0.7% of treated patients and in 0.2% of placebo patients the dose was reduced due to coordination difficulties, while one of the treated patients was hospitalized due to worsening of pre-existing ataxia.

Somnolence, asthenia and coordination difficulties occurred most frequently within the first 4 weeks of treatment.

In controlled trials of patients with epilepsy experiencing partial onset seizures, 5 (0.7%) of levetiracetam-treated patients experienced psychotic symptoms compared to 1 (0.2%) placebo patient. Two (0.3%) levetiracetam-treated patients were hospitalized and their treatment was discontinued. Both events, reported as psychosis, developed within the first week of treatment and resolved within 1 to 2 weeks following treatment discontinuation. Two other events, reported as hallucinations, occurred after 1 to 5 months and resolved within 2 to 7 days while the patients remained on treatment. In one patient experiencing psychotic depression occurring within a month, symptoms resolved within 45 days while the patient continued treatment. A total of 13.3% of levetiracetam patients experienced other behavioral symptoms (reported as aggression, agitation, anger, anxiety, apathy, depersonalization, depression, emotional lability, hostility, irritability, etc.) compared to 6.2% of placebo patients. Approximately half of these patients reported these events within the first 4 weeks. A total of 1.7% of treated patients discontinued treatment due to these events, compared to 0.2% of placebo patients. The treatment dose was reduced in 0.8% of treated patients and in 0.5% of placebo patients. A total of 0.8% of treated patients had a serious behavioral event (compared to 0.2% of placebo patients) and were hospitalized.

Pediatric Patients

In pediatric patients experiencing partial onset seizures, levetiracetam is associated with somnolence, fatigue, and behavioral abnormalities.

In the double-blind, controlled trial in children with epilepsy experiencing partial onset seizures, 22.8% of levetiracetam-treated patients experienced somnolence, compared to 11.3% of placebo patients. The design of the study prevented accurately assessing dose-response effects. No patient discontinued treatment for somnolence. In about 3% of levetiracetam-treated patients and in 3.1% of placebo patients the dose was reduced as a result of somnolence.

Asthenia was reported in 8.9% of levetiracetam-treated patients, compared to 3.1% of placebo patients. No patient discontinued treatment for asthenia, but asthenia led to a dose reduction in 3% of levetiracetam-treated patients compared to 0% of placebo patients.

A total of 37.6% of the levetiracetam-treated patients experienced behavioral symptoms (reported as agitation, anxiety, apathy, depersonalization, depression, emotional lability, hostility, hyperkinesia, nervousness, neurosis, and personality disorder), compared to 18.6% of placebo patients. Hostility was reported in 11.9% of levetiracetam-treated patients, compared to 6.2% of placebo patients. Nervousness was reported in 9.9% of levetiracetam-treated patients, compared to 2.1% of placebo patients. Depression was reported in 3% of levetiracetam-treated patients, compared to 1% of placebo patients.

A total of 3% of levetiracetam-treated patients discontinued treatment due to psychotic and nonpsychotic adverse events, compared to 4.1% of placebo patients. Overall, 10.9% of levetiracetam-treated patients experienced behavioral symptoms associated with discontinuation or dose reduction, compared to 6.2% of placebo patients.

Myoclonic Seizures

During clinical development, the number of patients with myoclonic seizures exposed to levetiracetam was considerably smaller than the number with partial seizures. Therefore, under-reporting of certain adverse events was more likely to occur in the myoclonic seizure population. In adult and adolescent patients experiencing myoclonic seizures, levetiracetam is associated with somnolence and behavioral abnormalities. It is expected that the events seen in partial seizure patients would occur in patients with JME.

In the double-blind, controlled trial in adults and adolescents with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy experiencing myoclonic seizures, 11.7% of levetiracetam-treated patients experienced somnolence compared to 1.7% of placebo patients. No patient discontinued treatment as a result of somnolence. In 1.7% of levetiracetam-treated patients and in 0% of placebo patients the dose was reduced as a result of somnolence.

Non-psychotic behavioral disorders (reported as aggression and irritability) occurred in 5% of the levetiracetam-treated patients compared to 0% of placebo patients. Non-psychotic mood disorders (reported as depressed mood, depression, and mood swings) occurred in 6.7% of levetiracetam-treated patients compared to 3.3% of placebo patients. A total of 5% of levetiracetam-treated patients had a reduction in dose or discontinued treatment due to behavioral or psychiatric events (reported as anxiety, depressed mood, depression, irritability, and nervousness), compared to 1.7% of placebo patients.

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