Levetiracetam, from broad-spectrum use to precision prescription: A narrative review and expert opinion

Adriana Celdran de Castro, Fábio A. Nascimento, Álvaro Beltran-Corbellini, Rafael Toledano, Irene Garcia-Morales, Antonio Gil-Nagel, Ángel Aledo-Serrano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Levetiracetam (LEV) is an antiseizure medication (ASM) whose mechanism of action involves the modulation of neurotransmitters release through binding to the synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A. It is a broad-spectrum ASM displaying favorable pharmacokinetic and tolerability profiles. Since its introduction in 1999, it has been widely prescribed, becoming the first-line treatment for numerous epilepsy syndromes and clinical scenarios. However, this might have resulted in overuse. Increasing evidence, including the recently published SANAD II trials, suggests that other ASMs are reasonable therapeutic options for generalized and focal epilepsies. Not infrequently, these ASMs show better safety and effectiveness profiles compared to LEV (partially due to the latter's well-known cognitive and behavioral adverse effects, present in up to 20% of patients). Moreover, it has been shown that the underlying etiology of epilepsy is significantly linked to ASMs response in particular scenarios, highlighting the importance of an etiology-based ASM choice. In the case of LEV, it has demonstrated an optimal effectiveness in Alzheimer's disease, Down syndrome, and PCDH19-related epilepsies whereas, in other etiologies such as malformations of cortical development, it may show negligible effects. This narrative review analyzes the current evidence related to the use of LEV for the treatment of seizures. Illustrative clinical scenarios and practical decision-making approaches are also addressed, therefore aiming to define a rational use of this ASM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • antiepileptic drug
  • epilepsy
  • precision medicine
  • seizure
  • targeted therapies


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