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How to Use Keppra in the Treatment of Migraines

author image Elizabeth Thatcher
Based outside Boston, Elizabeth Thatcher began writing health-related articles in 2007. Her work has appeared in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science," "Nature Genetics," "Journal of Cell Biology," "Developmental Dynamics," "RNA Biology" and "BMC Genomics." Thatcher earned a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering from Mercer University before starting medical research and receiving her doctorate in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University.
How to Use Keppra in the Treatment of Migraines
Keppra is the first medication approved for treating transformed migraines. Photo Credit: SamuelBrownNG/iStock/Getty Images

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.

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Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

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