Drugs Q & A

Can Missing One Dose Of Keppra Cause A Seizure?

Keppra is a brand of levetiracetam, an anti-epileptic drug also called an anticonvulsant. Keppra is a prescription medicine used to treat certain types of seizures in people with epilepsy, including partial onset seizures, myoclonic seizures, and tonic-clonic seizures.

According to the CDC, 1.2% of the total US population have active epilepsy. This is about 3.4 million people with epilepsy nationwide: 3 million adults and 470,000 children. According to the latest estimates, about 0.6% of children aged 0-17 years have active epilepsy. Anyone can develop epilepsy. Epilepsy affects both males and females of all races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.

Seizure symptoms can vary widely. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs. Having a single seizure doesn’t mean a person has epilepsy. At least two unprovoked seizures are generally required for an epilepsy diagnosis.

How is epilepsy treated?

Treatment with medications or sometimes surgery can control seizures for the majority of people with epilepsy. Some people require lifelong treatment to control seizures, but for others, the seizures eventually go away. Some children with epilepsy may outgrow the condition with age.

Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) like Keppra are commonly used for the treatment of epilepsy. They help control seizures in around 7 out of 10 of people. AEDs work by changing the levels of chemicals in your brain. They do not cure epilepsy, but can stop seizures happening.

Can missing one dose of keppra cause a seizure?

Yes, missing one dose of keppra can cause a seizure. Missing doses of seizure medicine is the most common cause of breakthrough seizures. Missed medicines can trigger seizures in people with both well-controlled and poorly controlled epilepsy. Seizures can happen more often than normal, be more intense or develop into long seizures called status epilepticus. Status epilepticus is a medical emergency and can lead to death if the seizures aren’t stopped. Missing doses of medicine can also lead to falls, injuries and other problems from seizures and changes in medicine levels.

Is It Harmful To Miss A Single Dose Of Seizure Medicine?

It’s quite common for people with epilepsy to miss a single dose once in a while. Often, nothing bad happens but your chance of having a seizure may be higher. Missing one dose is more likely to cause seizures if you’re scheduled to take your medicine only once a day. Then if you miss a dose, you’ve missed a full day of medication. If you take it two to four times a day, the risk from missing one dose is less. But if you miss several doses in a row, the likelihood of a breakthrough seizure will be higher.

Note: Studies have shown that Nonadherence remains the leading cause of treatment failure in epilepsy. Non-adherence to medication regimen  also accounts for substantial worsening of disease, death and increased health care costs. Medication adherence is the extent to which patients take their medications as prescribed with respect to dosage and dosage intervals throughout the treatment period. For More information Visit: What Are the Drugs to Avoid In Epilepsy?


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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