Q. I am on Levetiracetam for epilepsy and experiencing mood changes. Is it the side effect of that drug?

Answered by
Dr. Upendra K Shah
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on May 30, 2020

Hello doctor,

I was diagnosed with epilepsy in late 2016, and have been taking Levetiracetam since then (500 mg twice a day). I have been concerned that it is affecting my mental health. I have been experiencing anxiety, depression, irritability, and anger which is very out of character for me. It has taken some time to pinpoint, but it seems like these behavioral changes may correlate with when I began taking the medication.

Prior to starting Levetiracetam, I had two grand mal seizures about 12-15 months apart. I frequently had what were diagnoses as epilepsy-related auras. Since I have been taking Levetiracetam, I have not had any more seizures or auras. I am happy the medication is working, but I am interested in advice about other possible medications or non-prescription treatments.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Your assumption is right, Levetiracetam causes behavioral disturbance as a side effect.

There are two options now,

1. To taper off the Levetiracetam - if you have not experienced any seizure or aura in the last four years then we can go straight away with gradual tapering of the medicine, for that we need to know the last seizure/ aura episode, but with this, there is a risk of recurrence, you need to be cautious and under the watch of someone for few months.

2. Substitute Levetiracetam with Sodium valproate - in this risk of seizure is less, but still, it is there, on the fact the Sodium valproate is a mood stabilizer.

Please do not do any of the above by self, you can consult a neurologist locally let him manage or get a telephonic consultation.

Thank you doctor,

My last seizure was in September of 2016, so almost 4 years ago. I would be interested in setting up a phone/video consultation to discuss the proposed options in more detail. When are you available?



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I am available all days after 5 PM to 2 AM Indian Time Zone (GMT +5.30).

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