Use of Levetiracetam in Hospitalized Patients


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. M. Carreño at Epilepsy Unit, Department of Neurology, Hospital Clínic, c/Villarroel, 170, 08036 Barcelona, Spain. E-mail:


Summary: Purpose: The objective of the study was to analyze the short-term efficacy and safety of levetiracetam (LEV) to treat repetitive seizures in hospitalized patients.

Methods: During admission to a tertiary hospital, we retrospectively identified patients with repetitive seizures who were treated for the first time with LEV during a hospital stay. LEV was considered effective if seizure cessation or >75% seizure reduction occurred in the 24 h after starting LEV (compared with the previous 48 h), requiring no further antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment.

Results: Thirty patients (12 men, 18 women) were included. Mean age was 59.7 years. Most frequent seizure type was focal motor in 12 (40%) of 30 patients. Most frequent etiology was stroke: nine (30%) of 30 patients. Relevant medical conditions included atrial fibrillation (three) and hepatic disease (three). Concomitant medications included oral anticoagulants (seven), corticosteroids (two), and chemotherapy (two). Four patients received LEV as the only AED. Six patients with focal SE and 20 (66.6%) patients with clusters of seizures but not in SE received LEV as add-on treatment after lack of response to first-line AEDs. Mean LEV dose during first day was 1,119 mg. Mean daily maintenance dose was 1,724 mg. LEV was effective in 24 (80%) patients, all four patients who received it as the only AED, four of six patients with focal SE, and 16 of 20 patients with clusters of seizures. Three (10%) elderly patients with seizures secondary to stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) reported moderate/severe somnolence and dizziness, leading to treatment discontinuation in one. On discharge, 20 (66.7%) patients continued on LEV, nine (30%) as the only AED.

Conclusions: LEV is effective and safe to treat repetitive seizures in hospitalized patients, including patients in focal SE.