Keppra is one of the anti-seizure drugs that may be prescribed to the 2.3 million Americans who have epilepsy. Like many medications, Keppra can interact with other drugs and nutritional supplements and may cause deficiencies of the B-complex vitamins. If you're taking Keppra and B-vitamin supplements together, your doctor is the last word regarding when and how much you need, although consistency is a critical factor.
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The B-complex vitamins include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12. Each of these vitamins has a unique structure and different function it performs in your body including regulating energy, metabolizing amino acids and promoting healthy cell division.
Keppra is the brand name of the anti-epileptic drug levetiracetam often prescribed in adult patients when other therapies haven't worked in controlling partial seizures, a type of seizure that can cause loss of awareness and involuntary muscle movement. Keppra is absorbed by your body rapidly, with peak concentrations occurring an hour after ingestion and steady-state levels occurring after two days of twice-daily doses.
Interaction with B-Vitamins
Anticonvulsant drugs like Keppra can decrease levels of biotin, folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 in your body, especially when Keppra is taken long term. A biotin deficiency can cause loss of appetite or depression, while a folic acid deficiency can lead to birth defects in pregnant women. Low levels of vitamin B6 can increase your risk for heart disease and even increase seizures, while low levels of B12 may cause nerve and mental disorders.
Dosing and Timing
With no long-term studies investigating the dosage and timing of vitamin-B complex and Keppra, is may be difficult to determine what is right for you. The effects of Keppra can also vary from one person to another, and your nutritional profile may also differ from other patients. However, Keppra works best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level, which is why it's important for you to take both Keppra and any B-vitamin supplements at the same time of day and in the same dose every day. Before adding vitamins to your diet or before changing the amounts you take, check with your doctor.
Side effects of taking Keppra include changes in mood or behavior, clumsiness or unsteadiness, or unusual tiredness or weakness. More serious symptoms can include depression and hallucinations. A study reported in "Clinical Epilepsy" in October 2005 found that the addition of vitamin B6 may prevent or reduce some of the psychiatric symptoms associated with Keppra.