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Concept: Levetiracetam



Concerns that antiepileptic brand-to-generic interchange results in disruption of seizure control are widespread. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and tolerability of the brand-to-generic levetiracetam switch in patients with focal or generalized epilepsy.

Concepts: Epilepsy, Anticonvulsant, Seizure, Status epilepticus, Diazepam, Levetiracetam, Myoclonus, Generic antecedent


To report the results of a combined case series analysis of subcutaneous levetiracetam (Keppra) for the management of seizures in palliative care patients.

Concepts: Life, Series, Palliative care, Epilepsy, Anticonvulsant, Hospice, Levetiracetam, Nursing specialties


The role of the synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) protein, target of the antiepileptic drug levetiracetam, is still mostly unknown. Considering its potential to provide in vivo functional insights into the role of SV2A in epileptic patients, the development of an SV2A positron emission tomography (PET) tracer has been undertaken. Using a 3D pharmacophore model based on close analogues of levetiracetam, we report the rationale design of three heterocyclic non-acetamide lead compounds, UCB-A, UCB-H and UCB-J, the first single-digit nanomolar SV2A ligands with suitable properties for development as PET tracers.

Concepts: Positron emission tomography, Positron, Epilepsy, Anticonvulsant, Diazepam, Levetiracetam, Positron emission, Lamotrigine


The prevalence of epilepsy is estimated 5-10 per 1000 population and around 70% of patients with epilepsy can be sufficiently controlled by antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Epileptogenesis is the process responsible for converting normal into an epileptic brain and mechanisms responsible include among others: inflammation, neurodegeneration, neurogenesis, neural reorganization and plasticity. Some AEDs may be antiepileptiogenic (diazepam, eslicarbazepine) but the correlation between neuroprotection and inhibition of epileptogenesis is not evident. Antiepileptogenic activity has been postulated for mTOR ligands, resveratrol and losartan. So far, clinical evidence gives some hope for levetiracetam as an AED inhibiting epileptogenesis in neurosurgical patients. Biomarkers for epileptogenesis are needed for the proper selection of patients for evaluation of potential antiepileptogenic compounds.

Concepts: Neurology, Epilepsy, Anticonvulsant, Seizure, Status epilepticus, Diazepam, Levetiracetam, Clonazepam


Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological diseases, and its pharmacological treatment holds great importance for both physicians and national authorities, especially considering the high proportion of drug-resistant patients (about 30%). Lacosamide (LCM) is an effective and well-tolerated new-generation antiepileptic drug (AED), currently licensed as add-on therapy for partial-onset seizures. However, LCM mechanism of action is still a matter of debate, although its effect on the voltage sensitive sodium channels is by far the most recognized. This study aimed to retrospectively analyze a cohort of 157 drug-resistant patients treated with LCM to describe the most common and effective therapeutic combinations and to investigate if the LCM can affect also GABAA-mediated neurotransmission as previously shown for levetiracetam (LEV). In our cohort, LEV resulted the compound most frequently associated with LCM in the responder subgroup. We therefore translated this clinical observation into the laboratory bench by taking advantage of the technique of “membrane micro-transplantation” in Xenopus oocytes and electrophysiological approaches to study human GABAA-evoked currents. In cortical brain tissues from refractory epileptic patients, we found that LCM reduces the use-dependent GABA impairment (i.e., “rundown”) that it is considered one of the specific hallmarks of drug-resistant epilepsies. Notably, in line with our clinical observations, we found that the co-treatment with subthreshold concentrations of LCM and LEV, which had no effect on GABAAcurrents on their own, reduced GABA impairment in drug-resistant epileptic patients, and this effect was blocked by PKC inhibitors. Our findings demonstrate, for the first time, that LCM targets GABAAreceptors and that it can act synergistically with LEV, improving the GABAergic function. This novel mechanism might contribute to explain the clinical efficacy of LCM-LEV combination in several refractory epileptic patients.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Neurology, Epilepsy, Anticonvulsant, Seizure, Status epilepticus, Levetiracetam, Vigabatrin


To implement pharmacokinetic drug monitoring and individualize the posology of new antiepileptic drugs, the first HPLC-diode array detection method was developed and validated to simultaneously quantify lacosamide, levetiracetam and zonisamide in human plasma.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Drug, Epilepsy, Pharmaceutical drug, Anticonvulsant, Levetiracetam, Anticonvulsants, Zonisamide


Nerve agent-induced seizures can cause varying degrees of neuropathology depending on level of poisoning and duration of seizing. The intention of this review was to validate a novel approach for establishing effective treatment regimens against soman poisoning. Identification of seizure controlling sites in the forebrain of rats poisoned by soman was made by means of lesions, and the anticonvulsive properties of a number of relevant drugs were tested by microinfusions into the identified areas. By using these procedures, procyclidine emerged as the most potent drug. Its potency was confirmed in systemic studies and is further enhanced when combined with levetiracetam. Acute treatment with a combination of HI-6, levetiracetam and procyclidine (procyclidine regimen) can effectively manage supralethal poisoning by any of the classical nerve agents. Extended treatment with the procyclidine regimen is able to terminate residual “silent”, local epileptiform activity in the severely poisoned rats. Evident advantages are seen when the same regimen exerts both powerful anticonvulsant and neuroprotectant efficacies. According to the results presented, the new strategy for establishing therapies against soman-induced seizures appears to be valid.

Concepts: Neurology, Epilepsy, Poison, Anticonvulsant, Seizure, Status epilepticus, Diazepam, Levetiracetam


Levetiracetam is a second-generation antiepileptic drug and distributed ubiquitously in the central nervous system. The extended-release formulation of levetiracetam was developed to provide patients with the convenience of once-daily dosing, to improve drug compliance and tolerability. The objective of this study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetics and safety of levetiracetam extended-release (ER) tablets in healthy Chinese subjects following single and multiple doses.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Pharmacology, Brain, Epilepsy, Anticonvulsant, Levetiracetam, Bioavailability


Perampanel (PER) is a third generation antiepileptic drug (AED), recently approved as add-on therapy in both focal and generalized seizures. Levetiracetam (LEV) is a second generation AED, widely used in patients with epilepsy because of its favorable safety and efficacy profiles. Perampanel and LEV treatments have been associated with the occurrence of similar adverse events (AEs) (sleepiness, irritability, depression, anxiety, aggressiveness). The aim of the present retrospective single center study was to verify the efficacy and tolerability of PER and LEV used as first add-on therapy in patients with epilepsy affected by secondarily generalized seizures. We collected data from 15 patients treated with PER and 26 patients treated with LEV and followed at our site with follow-up visits at 3, 6, and 12months. This retrospective study documented the comparable efficacy of PER and LEV as first add-on treatments in patients affected by uncontrolled secondarily generalized seizures. However, more patients withdrawn LEV because of AEs compared with PER at the 3- and 12-month follow-up visits. The better tolerability of PER observed in this study could be related to the low therapeutic dose of PER prescribed when it is used as first adjunctive treatment for better controlling secondarily generalized seizures.

Concepts: Epilepsy, Anticonvulsant, Seizure, Status epilepticus, Diazepam, Levetiracetam, Benzodiazepine, Lamotrigine