‘I suffered a two-month headache because of generic Keppra’

posted on:
July 27, 2010

author:
JENNIFER WALKER-JOURNEY

The biggest thing that bothers Dura about having epilepsy is the deju vu. “Such a weird sensation, I wish it would go away,” she wrote to other epileptics on a forum on www.Epilepsy.com. “They used to be so much more profound for me than they are now, thanks to Keppra.”

Keppra is a brand name anti-conversant medication used to treat patients who suffer from seizures such as epileptics and patients who with traumatic brain injuries. Beginning in 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved generic versions of the drug for marketing in the United States. The generics, known as Levetiracetam, are made by a number of different pharmaceutical companies.

The FDA tests these generics to determine if the active ingredients are equivalent to the brand name, however these drugs often contain different inactive ingredients, such as fillers or dyes. For some people, especially those with neurological conditions, switching from a brand name to a generic equivalent can cause them to experience serious side effects and even a return of seizures.

This issue has prompted the Epilepsy Foundation to warn epileptics, physicians and pharmacists to carefully consider switching anti-seizure medications especially when the patient’s symptoms are controlled by a particular anti-seizure drug.

Dura’s problem with generic Keppra is a little different. She started off taking the generic version of Keppra, but noticed the drug made her stutter and slur her words. She also developed a headache that lasted a full two months. When she suffered a huge partial seizure she decided to switch to brand-name Keppra. “So far it’s been good,” she said. “My head quit hurting so bad the day I stopped taking the generic. And I noticed that I am not stuttering anymore and simple words actually come to me when I want to say them.” 

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