Searching for the Right Medication: My Experience With Keppra
Last updated: February 2023
When I was 18 (8 years ago), I recall wanting to switch from my 50mg carbamazepine medicine to Keppra (levetiracetam) after reading a Facebook group's review of how it had lessened their seizure frequency. I came across a lot of positive Keppra reviews.
I had faith that taking Keppra would transform my life. At that time in my life, I was experiencing frequent seizures, and I was researching the many medications that are sold in Malaysia (where I live). I discovered a few, with Keppra receiving the most attention and favorable reviews.
"Keppra can transform my life," I assured my mother. She nodded and said, "If it works for you, I am happy. Study the negative impacts as well, though."
Possible side effects of Keppra?
The are possible side effects of Keppra, of course, as with any medication. But there were no negative effects mentioned at the time in the Facebook group, as far as I could tell. Perhaps my article searches were pretty poor. "Keppra will transform my life," I noted in my journal. I couldn't wait for my next appointment.
I was seated in the hospital waiting room, awaiting my appointment. I wanted to talk to my doctor about Keppra. I was just excited thinking I found the best solution for myself and no more seizures after this. They called my name. I entered the room full of excitement. When my doctor inquired about the frequency of my seizures, I replied that they were not decreasing.
Talking to my doctor about Keppra
She planned to increase my dose of carbamazepine from 50mg to 100mg. Why not try Keppra for my seizures, I questioned. She was shocked that I was familiar with the drug's name. "Sure. Why not try on you and we will see the result." I was happy with the promise that Keppra could entirely control my seizures. I needed to take it in the morning and at night before sleeping.
The following morning and before going to bed, I took my Keppra. Nothing. I was perfectly normal. No seizures. After that, I started my second day. I was completely normal. On the third day, I took it. I turned off the light and returned to bed. I had my first seizure that night.
Having seizures after changing medications
I was unconscious. It was the worst seizure I've ever had. I was throwing up as I got out of bed.
Immediately after I woke up, I experienced my second attack. My parents were shocked because I had never before experienced a second seizure. All day long, I slept. To lessen my seizure that day, I took my next Keppra dose. After the ongoing seizures I had, I was feeling better overall, but I had a severe headache. I dozed off in the afternoon on my bed. Once more, I had a seizure. I was rushed to the hospital's emergency room by my parents, who were very worried.
Keppra was not right for MY epilepsy
I was unconscious. At the hospital, I had another seizure. It was awful. My arm was being pricked with needles. There, my parents were conversing with the doctor. My parents suggested that the epilepsy may have been triggered by changing the medicine. Doctors acknowledged and confirmed that many seizures are brought on by change of medicine.
My medicine needed to be changed. Keppra was not suitable for my body. I felt dumbfounded. Why does it work for some people but not for me? Keppra was supposed to improve my life, but instead I ended up in the emergency unit after switching medications.
Taking carbamazepine did not cause me to have this many seizures. My medicine was changed by the doctor to 200 mg of carbamazepine (a higher dosage). I was discharged from the hospital. My seizures drastically decreased after I started using carbamazepine again, as my doctor had originally advised.
Everyone's medication needs are different
The lesson of the story is that trying out several medications to find one that works for us is exhausting. The wrong drug might increase seizures and result in hospital admission. Even if for someone else it is the perfect medication and makes them seizure-free.
Always pay attention to your body's needs rather than others. The appropriate medication for someone's body is unique to each individual.
Since being diagnosed with epilepsy, has your memory been impacted?