Levetiracetam - Warnings TABLET, EXTENDED RELEASE

The FDA requires all potential medication risks for LEVETIRACETAM (tablet, extended release) be disclosed to consumers, no matter how rare. Here are the warnings and precautions for Levetiracetam.

Warnings & Precautions

  • 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 extended-release levetiracetam tablets ( 5.3)
  • Serious Dermatological Reactions: Discontinue extended-release levetiracetam tablets at the first sign of rash unless clearly not drug related. (5.5)
  • Coordination Difficulties: Monitor for ataxia, abnormal gait, and incoordination. Advise patients to not drive or operate machinery until they have gained experience on extended-release levetiracetam tablets. (5.6)
  • Withdrawal Seizures: Extended-release levetiracetam tablets must be gradually withdrawn ( 5.7)

behavioral abnormalities & psychotic symptoms

Extended-release levetiracetam tablets may cause behavioral abnormalities and psychotic symptoms. Patients treated with extended-release levetiracetam tablets should be monitored for psychiatric signs and symptoms.

Behavioral abnormalities

Extended-Release Levetiracetam Tablets:

A total of 7% of extended-release levetiracetam tablet-treated patients experienced non-psychotic behavioral disorders (reported as irritability and aggression) compared to 0% of placebo-treated patients. Irritability was reported in 7% of extended-release levetiracetam tablet-treated patients. Aggression was reported in 1% of extended-release levetiracetam tablet-treated patients.

No patient discontinued treatment or had a dose reduction as a result of these adverse reactions.

The number of patients exposed to extended-release levetiracetam tablets was considerably smaller than the number of patients exposed to immediate-release levetiracetam tablets in controlled trials. Therefore, certain adverse reactions observed in the immediate-release levetiracetam controlled trials will likely occur in patients receiving extended-release levetiracetam tablets.

Immediate-Release Levetiracetam Tablets:

A total of 13% of adult patients and 38% of pediatric patients (4 to 16 years of age) treated with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets experienced non-psychotic behavioral symptoms (reported as aggression, agitation, anger, anxiety, apathy, depersonalization, depression, emotional lability, hostility, hyperkinesias, irritability, nervousness, neurosis, and personality disorder), compared to 6% and 19% of adult and pediatric patients on placebo. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was performed to assess the neurocognitive and behavioral effects of immediate-release levetiracetam tablets as adjunctive therapy in pediatric patients (4 to 16 years of age). An exploratory analysis suggested a worsening in aggressive behavior in patients treated with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets in that study [see USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS ( 8.4)].

A total of 1.7% of adult patients treated with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets 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 patients treated with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets, compared to 0.5% of placebo-treated patients. Overall, 11% of pediatric patients treated with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets experienced behavioral symptoms associated with discontinuation or dose reduction, compared to 6.2% of placebo-treated pediatric patients.

One percent of adult patients and 2% of pediatric patients (4 to 16 years of age) treated with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets experienced psychotic symptoms, compared to 0.2% and 2%, respectively, in adult and placebo-treated pediatric patients. In the controlled study that assessed the neurocognitive and behavioral effects of immediate-release levetiracetam tablets in pediatric patients 4 to 16 years of age, 1.6% levetiracetam tablets-treated patients experienced paranoia, compared to no placebo-treated patients. There were 3.1% patients treated with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets who experienced confusional state, compared to no placebo-treated patients [see USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS ( 8.4) ].

Psychotic symptoms

Immediate-Release Levetiracetam Tablets :

One percent of levetiracetam tablets-treated adult patients experienced psychotic symptoms compared to 0.2% of placebo-treated patients.

Two (0.3%) levetiracetam tablets-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 pediatric patients who discontinued treatment due to psychotic and non-psychotic adverse reactions.

suicidal behavior & ideation

Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including extended-release levetiracetam tablets, 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 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 EventsPer 1000 Patients

Epilepsy

1.0

3.4

3.5

2.4

Psychiatric

5.7

8.5

1.5

2.9

Other

1.0

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 extended-release levetiracetam tablets or any other AED must balance the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior 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.

somnolence & fatigue

Extended-release levetiracetam tablets may cause somnolence and fatigue. Patients should be monitored for these signs and symptoms and advised not to drive or operate machinery until they have gained sufficient experience on extended-release levetiracetam tablets to gauge whether it adversely affects their ability to drive or operate machinery.

Somnolence

Extended-Release Levetiracetam Tablets:

In the extended-release levetiracetam tablets double-blind, controlled trial in patients experiencing partial-onset seizures, 8% of extended-release levetiracetam tablets-treated patients experienced somnolence compared to 3% of placebo-treated patients.

No patient discontinued treatment or had a dose reduction as a result of these adverse reactions.

The number of patients exposed to extended-release levetiracetam tablets was considerably smaller than the number of patients exposed to immediate-release levetiracetam tablets in controlled trials. Therefore, certain adverse reactions observed in the immediate-release levetiracetam tablets controlled trials will likely occur in patients receiving extended-release levetiracetam tablets.

Immediate-Release Levetiracetam Tablets :

In controlled trials of adult patients with epilepsy experiencing partial-onset seizures, 15% of levetiracetam tablets-treated patients reported somnolence, compared to 8% of placebo-treated 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 levetiracetam tablets-treated patients, compared to 0% in the placebo group. About 3% of levetiracetam tablets-treated patients discontinued treatment due to somnolence, compared to 0.7% of placebo-treated patients. In 1.4% of levetiracetam tablets-treated patients and in 0.9% of placebo-treated patients the dose was reduced, while 0.3% of the treated patients were hospitalized due to somnolence.

Asthenia

Immediate-Release Levetiracetam Tablets :

In controlled trials of adult patients with epilepsy experiencing partial onset seizures, 15% of levetiracetam tablets-treated patients reported asthenia, compared to 9% of placebo-treated patients. Treatment was discontinued due to asthenia in 0.8% of levetiracetam tablets-treated patients as compared to 0.5% of placebo-treated patients. In 0.5% of levetiracetam tablets-treated patients and in 0.2% of placebo-treated patients, the dose was reduced due to asthenia.

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

anaphylaxis & angioedema

Levetiracetam extended-release tablets can cause anaphylaxis or angioedema after the first dose or at any time during treatment. Signs and symptoms in cases reported in the postmarketing setting in patients treated with levetiracetam have included hypotension, hives, rash, respiratory distress, and swelling of the face, lip, mouth, eye, tongue, throat, and feet. In some reported cases, reactions were life-threatening and required emergency treatment. If a patient develops signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis or angioedema, levetiracetam extended-release tablets should be discontinued and the patient should seek immediate medical attention. Levetiracetam extended-release tablets should be discontinued permanently if a clear alternative etiology for the reaction cannot be established [see CONTRAINDICATIONS (4)].

serious dermatological reactions

Serious dermatological reactions, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), have been reported in patients treated with levetiracetam. The median time of onset is reported to be 14 to 17 days, but cases have been reported at least four months after initiation of treatment. Recurrence of the serious skin reactions following rechallenge with levetiracetam has also been reported. Extended-release levetiracetam tablets should be discontinued at the first sign of a rash, unless the rash is clearly not drug-related. If signs or symptoms suggest SJS/TEN, use of this drug should not be resumed and alternative therapy should be considered.

coordination difficulties

Coordination difficulties were not observed in the extended-release levetiracetam tablets controlled trial, however, the number of patients exposed to extended-release levetiracetam tablets were considerably smaller than the number of patients exposed to immediate-release levetiracetam tablets in controlled trials. However, adverse reactions observed in the immediate-release levetiracetam tablets controlled trials may also occur in patients receiving extended-release levetiracetam tablets.

Immediate-Release Levetiracetam Tablets

A total of 3.4% of adult levetiracetam tablets-treated patients experienced coordination difficulties, (reported as either ataxia, abnormal gait, or incoordination) compared to 1.6% of placebo-treated patients. A total of 0.4% of patients in controlled trials discontinued levetiracetam tablets treatment due to ataxia, compared to 0% of placebo-treated patients. In 0.7% of levetiracetam tablets-treated patients and in 0.2% of placebo-treated patients, the dose was reduced due to coordination difficulties, while one of the levetiracetam tablets-treated patients was hospitalized due to worsening of pre-existing ataxia. These events occurred most frequently within the first 4 weeks of treatment.

Patients should be monitored for these signs and symptoms and advised not to drive or operate machinery until they have gained sufficient experience on levetiracetam tablets to gauge whether it could adversely affect their ability to drive or operate machinery.

withdrawal seizures

As with most antiepileptic drugs, extended-release levetiracetam tablets should generally be withdrawn gradually because of the risk of increased seizure frequency and status epilepticus. If withdrawal is needed because of a serious adverse reaction, rapid discontinuation can be considered.

hematologic abnormalities

Extended-release levetiracetam tablets can cause hematologic abnormalities. Hematologic abnormalities occurred in clinical trials and included decreases in white blood cell (WBC), neutrophil, and red blood cell (RBC) counts; decreases in hemoglobin and hematocrit; and increases in eosinophil counts. Cases of agranulocytosis, pancytopenia, and thrombocytopenia have also been reported in the postmarketing setting. A complete blood count is recommended in patients experiencing significant weakness, pyrexia, recurrent infections, or coagulation disorders.

In controlled trials of immediate-release levetiracetam tablets in patients experiencing partial-onset seizures, minor, but statistically significant, decreases compared to placebo in total mean RBC count (0.03 x 106 /mm3), mean hemoglobin (0.09 g/dL), and mean hematocrit (0.38%), were seen in immediate-release levetiracetam tablets-treated patients.

A total of 3.2% of levetiracetam tablets-treated and 1.8% of placebo-treated patients had at least one possibly significant (≤2.8 x 109 /L) decreased WBC, and 2.4% of levetiracetam tablets-treated and 1.4% of placebo-treated patients had at least one possibly significant (≤1.0 x 109 /L) decreased neutrophil count. Of the levetiracetam tablets-treated patients with a low neutrophil count, all but one rose towards or to baseline with continued treatment. No patient was discontinued secondary to low neutrophil counts.

In pediatric patients (4 to <16 years of age), statistically significant decreases in WBC and neutrophil counts were seen in patients treated with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets, as compared to placebo. The mean decreases from baseline in the immediate-release levetiracetam tablets group were -0.4 x 109/L and -0.3 x 109/L, respectively, whereas there were small increases in the placebo group. A significant increase in mean relative lymphocyte counts was observed in 1.7% of patients treated with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets compared to a decrease of 4% in patients on placebo.

In the controlled pediatric trial, a possibly clinically significant abnormal low WBC value was observed in 3% of patients treated with immediate-release levetiracetam tablets, compared to no patients on placebo. However, there was no apparent difference between treatment groups with respect to neutrophil count. No patient was discontinued secondary to low WBC or neutrophil counts.

In the controlled pediatric cognitive and neuropsychological safety study, two subjects (6.1%) in the placebo group and 5 subjects (8.6%) in the immediate-release levetiracetam tablets-treated group had high eosinophil count values that were possibly clinically significant (≥10% or ≥0.7 x 109/L).

seizure control during pregnancy

Physiological changes may gradually decrease plasma levels of levetiracetam throughout pregnancy. This decrease is more pronounced during the third trimester. It is recommended that patients be monitored carefully during pregnancy. Close monitoring should continue through the postpartum period especially if the dose was changed during pregnancy.

This drug label information is as submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is intended for informational purposes only. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Search Drugs and Medication

Or Browse by Name