Brivaracetam : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More
Why is this medication prescribed?
Brivaracetam is used together with other medications to control partial-onset seizures (seizures that involve only part of the brain) in adults and children 4 years of age and older. Brivaracetam is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It works by decreasing abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
How should this medicine be used?
Brivaracetam comes as a tablet and a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food twice a day. Take brivaracetam at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you do not understand.
Swallow the tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.
If you are drinking the liquid, do not use a homemade spoon to measure your dose. Use the measuring spoon or cup that came with the medicine, or use a spoon made especially for measuring medicine.
Your doctor may increase or decrease your dose depending on how well the medicine works for you and the side effects you experience. Be sure to tell your doctor how you feel during your treatment with brivaracetam.
Brivaracetam can be habit forming. Do not take a higher dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor.
Brivaracetam can help control your condition, but it will not cure it. Keep taking brivaracetam even if you feel fine. Do not stop taking brivaracetam without talking to your doctor, even if you experience side effects such as unusual changes in behavior or mood. If you stop taking brivaracetam suddenly, your seizures may get worse. Your doctor will likely reduce your dose gradually.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer’s patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you start treatment with brivaracetam and each time you get a refill. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085729.htm) or the manufacturer’s website to obtain the Medication Guide.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking brivaracetam,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to brivaracetam, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in brivaracetam tablets or liquid. Ask your pharmacist or see the Medication Guide for a list of ingredients.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, Teril), phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), and rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate, in Rifater). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you currently or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, used illegal drugs, or overused prescription drugs. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had depression, mood problems, suicidal thoughts or behavior, kidney disease that was treated with dialysis (treatment to clean the blood out of the body when the kidneys are not working well), or liver disease.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking brivaracetam, call your doctor.
- You should know that brivaracetam may make you dizzy or drowsy, and may cause blurred vision or problems with coordination and balance. Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or participate in activities that require alertness or coordination until you know how this drug affects you.
- Ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while taking brivaracetam. Brivaracetam can make the side effects of alcohol worse.
- You should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways and you may become suicidal (thinking about harming or killing yourself or planning or trying to do so) while taking brivaracetam. A small number of adults and children 5 years and older (about 1 in 500 people) who took anticonvulsants such as brivaracetam to treat various conditions during clinical studies became suicidal during their treatment. Some of these people developed suicidal thoughts and behaviors as early as a week after starting the drug. There is a risk that you will experience changes in your mental health if you take an anti-seizure drug such as brivaracetam, but there may also be a risk that you will experience changes in your mental health if your condition is not treated. You and your doctor will decide if the risks of taking an anti-seizure medicine are greater than the risks of not taking the medicine. You, your family, or your caregiver should call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms: panic attacks; agitation or restlessness; New or worsening irritability, anxiety, or depression; acting on dangerous impulses; Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; aggressive, angry, or violent behavior; mania (frantic, abnormally excited mood); talking or thinking about wanting to hurt yourself or end your life; or any other unusual change in behavior or mood. Make sure your family or caregiver knows what symptoms can be serious so they can call your doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the one you forgot.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Brivaracetam may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- extreme tiredness or lack of energy
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, stop taking brivaracetam and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, and eyes
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
- hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- delusions (having strange thoughts or beliefs that have no basis in reality) such as thoughts that people are trying to harm you even if they are not
Brivaracetam may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Discard unused oral solution 5 months after first opening the bottle. Do not freeze the oral solution.
It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, since many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not resistant to children and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and others cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. Check out the FDA drug safe disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
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 collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or is unable to wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
- extreme tiredness
- trouble keeping your balance
- blurred or double vision
- slowed heartbeat
- feeling anxious
What other information should I know?
Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Brivaracetam is a controlled substance. Prescriptions can be refilled only a limited number of times; ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.
Keep all your appointments with your doctor.
It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.
Disclaimer: DrLinex has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.