The People's Perspective on Medicine


Keppra is an anticonvulsant used to control epilepsy. 


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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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My son, 27 has epilepsy and only has seizures in his sleep. Recently (within the last 2 years) he has begun complaining about feeling disconnected and feelings of “not being alive” at times. He is only taking the generic form of Keppra (Levetiracetam) and no other medications. He analyzes his problems continuously every night attempting to figure out what is wrong with him to no avail. I keep reminding him that the feelings he is having are likely due to an adverse effect of the generic brand. I feel so very sorry for him because except for this issue he has no other health problems. He is an artist and has beautiful sketches. He has a good positive spirit and fights the negative feelings he often suffers through. I have taught him to drive long ago and he does very well but neither of us wants to put anyone in danger so he does not presently drive on the highway. His insurance only covers generic brands and they have recently dropped his coverage because he cant pay the high deductible or the monthly premium eventhough he works a job full time at a local hardware store. Medical Marijuana is legal where we live but there will be no dispensaries allowed here until Sept. 2017. Stem cell treatments, although, legal by fed government, costs way out of the ball park and insurance is not willing to pay for it. We need the actual Keppra for sure at least to try out because from the comments I have seen on this site, my son has the exact same issues.

Cheryl 49; I had the same symptoms. It was so bad that those feelings of disassociation were almost constant. Has your son’s Dr. ruled out partial-complex seizures? I would have times of having cluster seizures of 30, 40 even 50 for hours. I was fortunate I worked with each of my Dr.s by keeping up to date on new advances and medications for anti-convulsants. Luckily my Neuros were equally up to date and would prescribe some of the newer meds with much less side affects and more efficiently controlled my grand mal seizures. Very long story short, I finally was able to qualify and go through surgery to control my seizures with great results. (I grand-mal in 8 years.) Now on only 1 low dose med. I do occasionally use marijuana to help random feelings of anxiety.

After having lived through that time with those feelings, I strongly STRONGLY recommend your Son look to anti-anxiety/ depression meds. They may help the over thinking and may even lessen the disassociative feelings. Keppra is a drug that can cause aggressive behavior (more so at higher doses). My experience with Keppra also gave me feelings of apathy and disassociation. (Add all of those feelings and starting menopause I was a pinata of excitement :P)
I wish you both success and health.

My brother recommended I will similar to this blog. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You can’t imagine the amount time I have spent with this info! Thanks!

Going to cardiologist in 4 days so if you have a comment be swift. All tests say my heart is fine.

Last year I was put on Generic Keppra. I started having breakthrough seizures after 3 years of Seizure control on brand name Keppra. I told my doctor it was the generic keppra she tried saying that only a small % and tried putting me on another medication. I flat out said no and told her. Let try the Brand name Keppra again first. I am back to a normal life. Well I was right after doing my own Research on Generic medications.
So if a Doctor tells you it not possible or it rare that generic medication could cause a issue. Stand your ground.
I am lucky I don’t drive much it could of ended a lot worse for my self and another person life or a life one of my family members.

After developing allergic reactions to other seizure medications, my doctor prescribed a combination of Keppra and Dilantin. I have partial complex seizures due to hypoglycemia. I was seizure free for 5 years on this combination of meds. Then the generic form of Keppra came out and the insurance company refused to cover the name brand although there were immediate problems with the levetiracetam (generic Keppra). The same was true of the generic Dilantin–the medication level never stayed in the therapeutic range, allowing break-through seizures.
The generic Keppra came from a different company/country every month, causing heart attack symptoms. After stress tests and other cardiac tests proved my heart was fine and the symptoms were likely due to varying fillers in the generic, my doctor said to switch to a pharmacy that would purchase the generic med from a U.S. company as they are monitored by the FDA.
Walmart pharmacist told me they’re locked in to buying TEVA brand generics which are primarily produced overseas. I switched to a pharmacy that only orders from American companies and that helped considerably. However, the generics still have not been as effective as the name brand.
Two different pharmaceutical reps and my neurologist said on a good day, the generic might have 70% of the medication, but it usually fell between 40 to 50%. My doctor increased the amount of the generic and that helped. It’s crucial to get a neurologist who will work with you and listen to your concerns, especially since seizures affect your freedom to drive and your ability to function day to day. Your regular doctor can help with the needed referral if you need a new neurologist.

I also have been taking the generic keppra since sept 2011. I was well controlled with dilantin previously. Since September I have been given four different generic versions. Mylan, Teva, Torrent, Solco and possibly another I am waiting for a reply from the pharmacy.
While on dilantin and at therapeutic doses, I was well controlled. Since levitiracetam
I have had 4 seizures -gran mals starting in December of 2011. They seem to occur within one month of manufacturer changes. the latest was within 2 days. The doctor says its a coincidence? Anyone else having those coincidences?
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Such coincidences have been documented in the medical literature. Here’s the abstract:

My Doctor prescribe Levetiracetam 250mg By the mfg name (Torrent) That went great until Express Scripts change it to Mfg name (Dr. Reddys) my life just changed to the worst. Now I’m taking none, and having a hard time dealing with this change.

OMG I did not know that did it just come out?? What is so bad is that brand cost 3 times as much if your lucky. Have not check with my 2012 insurance.
Thanks for the info.

dear folks..thanks for the update on keppra and lamictal.. I am using the generic brand and so far, no seizures, but do have almost constant headaches.. will be checking with mr neurolgist in next week or so..

I just put in my order for a refill of my Keppra XR. They tried to send me generic XR. Oh heck no!!! So yes, now there is a generic of the XR. I’ll have to get my doctor to write “Brand name medically necessary” on the prescription again. No generic seizure meds for me. They don’t work. I really wish they did because they are WAY cheaper. Oh well!

I have had trouble with the generic Keppra & Limictal there is big difference which is bad for those of us that have been taking it with great results. My Doctor has now changed my medication to
the Keppra xr & Limictal xr which are not generic yet and seem to be working well. Not sure what will happen once this goes generic.

My Neurologist who is a leader in his field, was upset that my insurance would not cover Keppra, but would cover the generic Levetiracetam. He wrote a letter to my insurance, but they don’t care, if you want the real thing, fine, BUT YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR IT!
What my doctor told me was that it is widely known that the generic drugs can vary 15% with the amount of medication you are actually getting. For many of us that 15% can make the difference between a seizure and no seizure. This stands true for all generic drugs for all medical conditions… this is the standard that the FDA says is fine with them!
Levetiracetam/Keppra has been a God Sent for me. I have tried every seizure medication out there and had adverse reactions to them all, from killing white blood cells, to mouth sores, to forming cataracts in both eyes in 9 months, to trying to live in a stupor and wanting nothing more than to sleep. Keppra acts differently on the brain and allows you to live a “normal” life. I do however think the Levetoracetam allows me to have night time break through seizures.
Now after 4 years I am suffering with dizziness and unable to drive when I feel this way which isn’t good since I care for my elderly mother. Now I don’t know what to do to get this stopped.

thanks for this site; my dr. prescribed keppra and about 6 mos ago, I noticed pharmacy gave me levetiracetam… reading your site, I think they are giving me the generic and charging me for the keppra… the generic is coming from India, info I gleaned from your website… in general I’m feeling o.k., however, I too have been experiencing headaches and some dizziness.. I’m going to speak to my pharmacist… and is it true that drugstore is overcharging me, since, when I did start with keppra and when they changed to generic, I am paying same price… thanks for your site…

I’m seventeen. I have epilepsy. I started taking keppra two years ago. It got my seizures under control and I went into remission. I recently moved to a new state and my new doctor switched me to generic. My seizures got so much worse and I came out of remission. I am currently taking a trial of keppra xr and I am in remission, but my doctor won’t switch me back to name brand. So when I end this trial drug, I will most likely start having seizures again. My life has really come to an end without having my epilepsy under control.
Getting the name brand is definitely worth the price to keep your seizures under control. I can’t live without the name brand. But if you take the generic with a kenogetic diet, it does have a better effect, but anyone with seizures should be on that diet. It really does work.

I’ve taken Keppra for 6 years now. I was excited to try the generic. I knew going in though that most people who started on brand name did not have as good control on generic. My sister works for the company that makes Keppra. I had a dramatic increase in seizure activity on the generic. My neurologist just had to send the insurance company a form saying that the generic didn’t work for me and my prescription was “brand name medically necessary”. If your doc says that, the insurance company has to allow it. Needless to say I am back on brand name Keppra.

I take Levetiracetam and phenobarbital for my complex partial seizures. I was taking Keppra and Lamictal. My seizures have never been fully controlled by the meds and the doctors were considering surgery. Conflicting results from the seizure monitoring that was done is the reason the surgery was never performed.
I got switched to phenobarbital because I had lost my job and insurance and just could no longer pay for the Lamictal. At about the same time the pharmacy switched me to Levetiracetam. Since I can almost never tell you for sure when I have had a seizure I can’t say that the number of seizures I have has increased or decreased. What I can tell you is that I have experienced some strange emotions, etc. I have at times been very down and depressed, one of those cry at the least little thing moods, feeling useless and alone-chalked it up to not always sleeping well.
I get dizzy at times if I move or turn around quickly. I have even turned around and walked into the wall or a piece of furniture that I was close to. If I sit down and close my eyes at times it feels like the room is rotating. I have no idea if any of this is because of the Levetiracetam or the phenobarbital or the combination of the two.
I am 60 years old and take midodrine because my heart rate and blood pressure are generally low. One thing I would like to know is where the Levetiracetam I take is made. The name on the bottle is Dr. Reddy’s. Does anyone know where that comes from?
I think our Congressmen and the FDA need to explain to us, the American public, why it’s ok for generic drugs sold in the U.S. to be manufactured in places like China and India and the FDA doesn’t inspect and routinely test those generics, but it is illegal to import meds from Canada using the excuse that you have no way of knowing for sure where those meds were manufactured. It sounds to me like our government has a lot of explaining to do.

My Son and I send in the doctors request form, notes and a letter saying that my Son cannot take Generic because he eventually has seizures with it.
The Insurance company told us that they only offer generics on their plan and do not cover brand name Keppra.
I am at my wits end and don’t know what to do now.
I think I will consult our Attorney and see what to do.
We have a legal plan called “Legal Shield” that has small payments a month in order to have a team of Attorneys advising and represending you.


I switched from Keppra to the generic levetiracetam two weeks ago. I have a mild seizure disorder that manifests itself primarily in migraine headaches and a sense of “disconnectedness”. ALL of my symptoms are well controlled with the Keppra, but in the last two weeks, I’ve had two full-blown migraines, and smaller headaches daily, and I feel very slow and disconnected. Clearly this is a direct connection to the switch from Keppra to generic, as there have been no other changes in my life. I have no insurance, but $300+ per month for the Keppra is a very high price to pay. Please report this to the FDA.
Thank you.

I understand how you feel completely. I am on Keepra & Limictal combo. They both are now in generic and I can tell the difference big time.
Once I even got a bad prescription of Limictal and I called the company and told them.
They told me to send back my meds for them to test. Of course after they tested them they said there was nothing wrong with them. As soon as I started taking pills from a new batch it was back to normal. The pharmacy even pulled them off the shelf. When I take the generic Keepra I have partial complex seizures that the Doctor is not understanding it is from the generic. Everyone thinks $$ instead of what is in the best interest of the patient.

I have been taking the generic form of Keppra for quite some time now due to this flawed government. I also take Topamax & two different milligrams of Dilantin. My age is 33. I’ve had epilepsy probably since I was born but an official diagnosis wasn’t made until I was 17. I cannot drive or work or even live on my own because I don’t have any warnings as to when I’m going to have a seizure. I just fall or stare into space & people can tell something’s wrong just by looking at me.
My epilepsy was never really under control, but I don’t think that it was this bad either. I feel as if something is happening to me due to this generic stuff. I don’t know how to explain it..I feel as if I get dizzy, sick, & it’s almost as if my vision goes 3-D on me. The feeling doesn’t last long, but I know that when I do get it, a seizure is on the way. Or maybe that’s one there. I go to see my neurologist on July 22 & I will tell him how I’ve been feeling.
I also plan on telling him that I’d like to get an MRI because this just isn’t right. The few people that I know with epilepsy are able to have normal lives. Then there’s me. A girl in her 30s still living with her mommy & daddy because she never knows how she’s going to feel on a daily basis. True, I don’t get enough sleep, I stress out a lot & once I was told that my monthly cycle plays a huge part in this. Does that mean I won’t be better until menopause?
I don’t know what else I can say here. I saw an article in the paper & wanted to plead my case. Take care, whoever’s reading this.

My epilepsy has been well controlled with a combination of Keppra and Topamax for over 5 years. Recently the generic Levetiracetam was substituted for Keppra and I failed to notice the difference, except I had 2-3 seizures that week!
That’s when I noticed the different pill shape/size and generic name on the bottle. Over the next few weeks I continued to have seizures, mostly at night and all with no warning. Very frightening and I gave up driving.
Other possible triggers for my seizures were occurring at the same time (lack of sleep, stress, sickness, etc) were happening too, so I thought I’d give it time to adjust to the generic. But after 2 months I’m NOT happy.
Topamax will now be generic too with my last refill. Must I live in fear of seizures and falling down stairs suddenly just because of a generic medicine that doesn’t work when my previous meds worked beautifully for years?
I will be petitioning my neurologist and insurance company to allow me to switch back and try for coverage, but the bills will be extremely high if denied. If I continue to have seizures I will lose my ability to drive and I’m only 50 and very active.

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