Experience with Intravenous Levetiracetam in Status Epilepticus A Retrospective Case Series

Gámez-Leyva, Gonzalo; Aristín, José Luis; Fernández, Emilio; Pascual, Julio
November 2009
CNS Drugs;2009, Vol. 23 Issue 11, p983
Academic Journal
Background: Status epilepticus is a medical emergency associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Objective: To report our experience with the use of intravenous (IV) levetiracetam in patients with status epilepticus who had not responded to IV benzodiazepines. Methods: A retrospective review of the clinical charts of patients with status epilepticus who were treated with IV levetiracetam from July 2007 to July 2008 in our department was performed. Data on demographics, epileptic syndrome, aetiology, treatment dosage and adverse effects were analysed. IV levetiracetam was administered over a period of 15-30 minutes; each 500 mg of levetiracetam was diluted in 100 mL of normal saline. Results: Thirty-four patients (19 men and 15 women, 11-90 years old) with status epilepticus were treated with IV levetiracetam. Six patients (18%) had primarily generalized status epilepticus and 28 (82%) had focal status epilepticus. The aetiologies were: vascular (47%), cryptogenic (24%), tumours (12%), metabolic (12%) and brain anoxia (6%). The indications for administering IV levetiracetam were: no response to IV phenytoin and/or IV valproic acid (53% of patients) or to avoid adverse effects, contraindications or potential interactions (47% of patients). The median loading dose of IV levetiracetam was 1000 mg and the maintenance dosage ranged from 500 to 1500mg/12 hours (median 1000 mg/12 hours). Status epilepticus stopped in a clear temporal relationship with IV levetiracetam in 71% of patients. IV levetiracetam was especially effective in older patients with vascular status epilepticus, while cryptogenic status epilepticus, primarily generalized status epilepticus, previous therapy with IV phenytoin and/or valproic acid and status epilepticus due to brain anoxia were associated with a poor response. There were no serious adverse events documented in the patients' charts. Conclusions: While waiting for large, controlled studies, our data suggest that IV levetiracetam might be an alternative for the treatment of status epilepticus, especially in elderly patients with vascular status epilepticus and concomitant medical conditions.


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