Levetiracetam for Managing Neurologic and Psychiatric Disorders

Muhammad U. Farooq; Archit Bhatt; Arshad Majid; Rishi Gupta; Atul Khasnis; Mounzer Y. Kassab

Disclosures

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2009;66(6):541-561. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Purpose: The role of levetiracetam in different epileptic, nonepileptic, neurologic, and psychiatric disorders is discussed.
Summary: Levetiracetam, an antiepileptic drug (AED), was first approved as an adjunctive therapy for the treatment of partial epilepsy in adults. It is currently being used in the treatment of multiple seizure disorders, including generalized tonic-clonic; absence; myoclonic, especially juvenile myoclonic; Lennox-Gastaut syndrome; and refractory epilepsy in children and adults. Data are emerging on possible uses of levetiracetam outside the realm of epilepsy because of its unique mechanisms of action. There is preliminary evidence about the efficacy of levetiracetam in the treatment of different psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, panic, stress, mood and bipolar, autism, and Tourette's syndrome. The most serious adverse effects associated with levetiracetam use are behavioral in nature and might be more common in patients with a history of psychiatric and neurobehavioral problems.
Conclusion: Levetiracetam is an effective AED with potential benefits in other neurologic and psychiatric disorders. The benefit-risk ratio in an individual patient with a specific condition should be used to determine its optimal use. Levetiracetam's use in nonepileptic conditions is not recommended until more data become available from larger trials.

Introduction

Levetiracetam, an antiepileptic agent, was first approved for marketing by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999 as an adjunctive therapy for the treatment of refractory partial epilepsy in adults. It has since been approved for a wider patient population and is currently being used in the treatment of multiple seizure disorders, including generalized tonic-clonic; absence; myoclonic, especially juvenile myoclonic; Lennox-Gastaut syndrome; and refractory epilepsy in children and adults. There is preliminary evidence about the efficacy of levetiracetam in the treatment of different psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, panic, stress, mood and bipolar, autism, and Tourette's syndrome (TS).

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