The pharmacokinetics, CNS pharmacodynamics and adverse event profile of brivaracetam after single increasing oral doses in healthy males


Dr Maria Laura Sargentini-Maier, UCB SA, Clinical Pharmacology, Chemin du Foriest, Braine-l'Alleud B-1420, Belgium.
Tel.: + 32 2386 2789;
Fax: + 32 2386 2400;


What is already known about this subject

• Brivaracetam is a new chemical entity structurally related to levetiracetam, displaying a markedly higher affinity for the binding site believed to be primarily involved in the antiepileptic effect of levetiracetam.

• Studies to evaluate the pharmacological profile of brivaracetam demonstrate an approximately 10-fold higher potency than levetiracetam as well as a higher efficacy in models of epilepsy.

• If translated into therapeutic effects in humans, this would mean a greater decrease in seizure frequency and a higher number of responders and seizure-free patients in refractory epileptic patients as seen with levetiracetam.

What this study adds

• This article reports the results of the first in human study with brivaracetam. Its pharmacokinetics and adverse events profile after single administration are evaluated, together with the effect of food on the former.


The objective of the study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetics (and how they are affected by food), CNS pharmacodynamics and the adverse event profile of brivaracetam after single increasing doses.


Healthy males (n = 27, divided into three alternating panels of nine subjects) received two different single oral doses of brivaracetam (10–1400 mg) and one dose of placebo during three periods of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The effect of food on its pharmacokinetics was assessed using a standard two-way crossover design in a further eight subjects who received two single oral doses of brivaracetam (150 mg) in the fasting state and after a high fat meal.


Adverse events, none of which were serious, were mostly CNS-related and included somnolence, dizziness, and decreased attention, alertness, and motor control. Their incidence, severity and duration were dose-related. The maximum tolerated dose was established to be 1000 mg. Severe somnolence lasting 1 day occurred in one subject following 1400 mg. Brivaracetam was rapidly absorbed under fasting conditions, with a median tmax of approximately 1 h. Cmax was dose-proportional from 10 to1400 mg, whereas AUC deviated from dose linearity above 600 mg. A high-fat meal had no effect on AUC (point estimate 0.99, 90%CI: 0.92–1.07) but delayed tmax (3 h) and decreased Cmax (point estimate 0.72, 90%CI: 0.66–0.79).


Brivaracetam was well tolerated after increasing single doses that represent up to several times the expected therapeutic dose. Brivaracetam was found to have desirable pharmacokinetic properties. The most common adverse events were somnolence and dizziness.