Q. I need more information about the generic for the epilepsy drug Keppra. I understand that the generic is fairly new.

Is it safe to take, and does it have the same active ingredient as Keppra?

A. Generic drugs are supposed to be identical to their brand name counterparts. We have received a couple of troubling reports about this epilepsy medicine, however. One reader wrote, “I take Keppra and recently I was switched to a generic version. Several days after I began taking the generic pills, I suffered multiple seizures. I had to go back on name-brand Keppra.” When we asked the FDA about this problem, we were told that the generic formulation was unlikely to be responsible for seizures.

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  1. CMC
    Reply

    An important note about generics: Did you know you have the right to request a specific generic? After being switched to generic Keppra when it came out, I found it didn’t work for me, either. The pharmacist suggested we try a different brand and I now ALWAYS REQUEST the same manufacturer. I have moved this Rx from Walgreen’s to CVS to Caremark to Merck over the years, and I always specify the manufacturer.
    Just realize that EVERY TIME YOU FILL A GENERIC, you may be taking a risk — because the inert ingredients may not work the same way in your body as the previous generic did.
    For elderly patients, requesting the same manufacturer is also good to reduce the confusion that can come along with their pills looking different from one refill to the next.

  2. LLK
    Reply

    I have been taking Levetiracetam for the past 6 months after being on Keppra for 12 years. Fortunately, I have had great results. The generic is doing just as well as the Keppra did. No seizures.
    Maybe it’s my age ? I was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 15. Had seizures daily or monthly (it varied at times) and was on a variety of prescriptions to control the seizures. At the age of 32, I was put on Keppra and that is when the seizures stopped. Now at the age of 44 taking Levetiracetam, no seizures (Thank God !) My neurologist says that as time progresses, the brain could “forget” how to have a seizure. I hope that is true.

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