Keppra XR (Levetiracetam ER) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Keppra XR
Keppra XR, or Levetiracetam, extended-release tablet is an antiepileptic drug. Levetiracetam is used in combination with other drugs to control the onset of partial seizures in epileptic patients. You must buy Keppra XR only on a doctor’s recommendation, and use it exactly as directed. The drug is safe for use in patients aged 16 years and above. In certain cases like Tonic Clonic Seizures or Myoclonic Seizures, the drug might be safe for administration on children aged 6 years and above. The exact mechanism of action for this drug is unknown. Keppra XR is only used to control the onset of seizures; it is not a cure for epilepsy.
Side Effects for Keppra XR
The most common side effects associated with Levetiracetam are somnolence, dizziness, behavioral abnormalities, asthenia (weakness or lack of strength), anxiety, apathy, depression/hostility, irritability, aggression, anger and agitation. Consult your doctor if any of these symptoms persist or become troublesome. In extremely rare cases, this drug may cause a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, symptoms of which are hives, itching, breathing difficulty, tightness in the chest and swelling of the face, lips and tongue. Some other rare but serious side effects of Keppra XR are decreased sense of co-ordination, hallucination, sore throat, dark urine, mouth sores, new or worsening seizures, and suicidal tendencies. Some Patients who buy Keppra XR have also reported experiencing unusual bruising, vision changes, or insomnia after taking this medicine. If you experience these or any other unusual symptoms after taking a dose of this medicine, you should immediately consult your health practitioner.
Levetiracetam is known to increase suicidal thoughts and tendencies, therefore the patient should be closely monitored during the course of the therapy. Any changes in behavior or worsening of depression/anxiety and restlessness should be immediately reported to the healthcare provider. The safety of using this drug during pregnancy or breast-feeding has not been established. Therefore, pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid using this drug. Keppra XR is known to cause dizziness and somnolence in patients. This is why you should avoid activities such as driving until you are sure about how you react to Keppra XR. Your doctor might perform lab tests to monitor your condition and gauge the negative effects of Levetiracetam during the treatment. Older adults might be more sensitive to Levetiracetam. This is why people above 60 years of age should exercise extra caution when using Keppra XR.
Keppra XR Dosage
Keppra XR comes with a medication guide that should be carefully read everytime you get the tablets refilled. The usual starting dosage for adults is Keppra XR 1000 mg once per day. The dosage can be altered or increased by 1000 mg every week depending on the patient’s condition. For adults with epilepsy, the daily dosage should not exceed Keppra XR 3000 mg. This medicine is available as oblong-shaped, film coated Keppra XR 500 mg tablets. Do not stop this medication abruptly. To minimize the risk of rebound seizure frequency, it is essential that this medication is withdrawn gradually over a period of time.
Keppra XR Interactions
Levetiracetam does not have any influence on the plasma concentration of other antiepileptic drugs. However, combining Keppra XR with other antiepileptic medicines can increase some of its side effects. Your doctor will advise you which other antiepileptic medicines—and their dosage—you can take safely with Keppra XR. Let your doctor know about all the medications that you are currently taking.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.