Drugs Q & A

What Happens If You Take A Double Dose Of Keppra?

A medication overdose is a biological response to when the human body receives too much of a medicine. An overdose can be intentional or accidental. People can overdose prescription medications including drugs used to treat epilepsy or seizures. In many cases, overdoses are fatal, although most individuals who have overdosed can be saved if medical treatment is provided quickly enough. In terms of drugs, there are a few different ways your body can become overwhelmed by substances. However, the most common cause of death during any chemical overdose is respiratory failure.

What is Keppra?

Keppra is a brand of levetiracetam, sold as a prescription medication used to treat epilepsy. It is used for partial-onset, myoclonic, or tonic–clonic seizures and is taken either by mouth as an immediate or extended release formulation or by injection into a vein. Levetiracetam is also used in combination with other medications to treat seizure in adults and children 12 years of age or older with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

Levetiracetam is used in combination with other medications to treat primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures (formerly known as a grand mal seizure; seizure that involves the entire body) in adults and children 6 years of age or older with epilepsy. Levetiracetam is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

How does Keppra work?

The precise mechanism(s) by which levetiracetam exerts its antiepileptic effect is unknown. The antiepileptic activity of levetiracetam assessed in a number of animal models of epileptic seizures. Levetiracetam did not inhibit single seizures induced by maximal stimulation with electrical current or different chemoconvulsants and showed only minimal activity in submaximal stimulation and in threshold tests.

According to studies, Keppra provides protection against secondarily generalized activity from focal seizures induced by pilocarpine and kainic acid, two chemoconvulsants that induce seizures that mimic some features of human complex partial seizures with secondary generalization. Keppra also shows inhibitory properties in the kindling model in rats, another model of human complex partial seizures, both during kindling development and in the fully kindled state. The predictive value of these animal models for specific types of human epilepsy is uncertain. In vitro and in vivo recordings of epileptiform activity from the hippocampus have shown that Keppra inhibits burst firing without affecting normal neuronal excitability, suggesting that the drug may selectively prevent hyper-synchronization of epileptiform burst firing and propagation of seizure activity.

What Happens If You Take A Double Dose Of Keppra

What Happens If You Take A Double Dose Of Keppra?

A lot can happen when you take a double dose of Keppra, symptoms of overdose may include the following:

•          drowsiness

•          agitation

•          aggression

•          decreased consciousness or loss of consciousness (coma)

•          difficulty breathing

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

What side effects can Keppra cause?

Keppra may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • weakness
  • unsteady walking
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • irritability
  • aggression
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • excessive sleepiness
  • joint pain
  • neck pain
  • double vision
  • nasal congestion

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • seizures that are worse or different than the seizures you had before
  • fever, sore throat, or other signs of infection
  • rash
  • blisters on skin
  • hives
  • itching
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips. and eyes
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • loss of balance or coordination

Keppra may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.


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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