14 August, 2017
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At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
- Current Therapeutic Research. "Levetiracetam in the preventive treatment of transformed migraine: A prospective, open-label, pilot study.” 2005.
- FDA: Suicidal Warnings for Antiepileptic Medications
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How to Use Keppra in the Treatment of Migraines
The National Headache Foundation describes several types of migraines, all of which may become transformed or chronic. Primary migraine symptoms include visual distortions, nausea, fatigue, head pain and stomach aches. Migraine triggers vary widely; however, the most common are strong lights, noises and smells. Transformed or chronic migraines are the most difficult to treat, since the exact cause is difficult to determine. Usually, migraine sufferers are first treated with beta blockers or antidepressants before anti-epileptic medication, like Keppra, is prescribed.
Start with a minimum dosage of 250 mg per day. For two weeks, you should take 250 mg per day to ensure that you do not have any adverse reactions to Keppra. Also, starting with a low dosage will allow your body to adjust to the new medication without shocking your system.
Increase your dosage by 250 mg every two to four weeks. Current Therapeutic Research reported that an average of 1,000 mg per day was effective at reducing chronic migraines from approximately 25 days per month to 16 days. Moreover, out of the migraines experienced during the clinical trial, the average number of moderate or severe migraines was reduced from of approximately 16 days to nine days per month.
Take at the same time every day. Since Keppra and its generic form, levetiracetam, is generally available in 250, 500, 750 and 1,000 mg tablets. When taking a total dose of 500 mg per day, one 250 mg tablet should be taken in the morning and one at night in order to evenly space the dosage throughout the day.
Test your Keppra blood levels. Since every person metabolizes drugs differently, you should have a physician ensure that your Keppra levels are in a therapeutic range. If Keppra is not detectable in your blood sample, you will need a higher dose to prevent migraines. If Keppra is present but you are still experiencing migraines, you may need to try a higher dose or different medication altogether.
Keppra XR is an extended release version that only needs to be taken once per day; however, it is not yet available in a generic form.
Keppra, like most anti-epileptic medications, has serious potential side effects. Possible side effects include hallucinations, weakness, loss of appetite, new or worsening headache, neck pain and flu-like symptoms. You should consult a doctor if you experience any of these conditions. Skipping or missing a dose can initiate a migraine or seizure. You should consult your physician for an effective strategy to stop using this medication if desired. Suicide thoughts and action are a potential threat with all anti-seizure medication. The United States Food and Drug Administration recommends that you and your doctor should be on the look out for any signs or symptoms of severe depression.
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