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Can I take only Levipil for epilepsy?

Answered by: Dr. Chandra M. Gulhati
Editor,
MIMS,
New Delhi

Q. I am suffering from epilepsy for the past five years. It keeps recurring at a span of 6-7 years. I am on Sodium Valproate Chrono (1800 mg) and Gardenal (30 mg) daily. As Valproate is liver toxic, it has increased my liver enzymes. Hence, I wanted to switch to some other medicine. The neurologist prescribed me only Levipil 500 twice a day; but I have read on this site that Levipil should not be taken alone. What should I do? Are there any new drugs on epilepsy?

A.  Levipil is the brand name; the name of the medicine is levetiracetam. Based on scientific evidence collected during pre-approval clinical trials, the drug regulators in advanced countries have cleared its use only in the following disorders: as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of partial onset seizures, as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of myoclonic seizures and as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of primary generalised tonic-clonic seizures and in older patients with idiopathic generalised epilepsy. By adjunctive, we mean in addition to other anti-epileptic drugs. Due to obvious commercial interests, sometimes manufacturers increase the use and decrease information on side effects of their medicines. Hence it is prudent to depend upon the approval of drug regulators. If levetiracetam is effective on its own, the manufacturers should convince drug regulators by giving scientific proof.

A.  Levipil is the brand name; the name of the medicine is levetiracetam. Based on scientific evidence collected during pre-approval clinical trials, the drug regulators in advanced countries have cleared its use only in the following disorders: as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of partial onset seizures, as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of myoclonic seizures and as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of primary generalised tonic-clonic seizures and in older patients with idiopathic generalised epilepsy. By adjunctive, we mean in addition to other anti-epileptic drugs. Due to obvious commercial interests, sometimes manufacturers increase the use and decrease information on side effects of their medicines. Hence it is prudent to depend upon the approval of drug regulators. If levetiracetam is effective on its own, the manufacturers should convince drug regulators by giving scientific proof.

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