Levetiracetam: a new antiepileptic drug

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Chaichan Sangdee


Levetiracetam is the newest antiepileptic drug with novel mechanism of antiepileptic action. Clinical trial has confirmed the extraordinary efficacy of levetiracetam as an add-on therapy in all types of partial seizures and there is a tendency that levetiracetam is effective as monotherapy in partial seizures. In addition, there is preliminary evidence to indicate that levetiracetam is effective in generalized seizures. Levetiracetam has a straightforward pharmacokinetic with rapid and almost completely absorbed from gastrointestinal tract, negligible binding to plasma proteins, and is mainly excreted by renal route and minimally metabolized by cytochrome P450 system. With these properties in mind, this drug therefore has minimal interactions with other drugs including the current antiepileptic drugs in clinical use. Levetiracetam has a plasma half-life of 6 hours but its therapeutic half-life is longer which allows for twice daily dosing. Steady state plasma levels are achieved within approximately 2-3 days after dosing. Levetiracetam has a well tolerability profile, its adverse events are usually mild in nature. Adverse events that usually encountered are somnolence, asthenia, and dizziness and these adverse events usually subside after continuous use. The availability of novel antiepileptic drug such as levetiracetam offers an attractive alternative for the treatment of epilepsy


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New Drugs