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Levetiracetam for Epilepsy in Cats

Bailey, K. S., C. W. Dewey, et al. (2008). “Levetiracetam as an adjunct to phenobarbital treatment in cats with suspected idiopathic epilepsy.” J Am Vet Med Assoc 232(6): 867-72.

Levetiracetam (Keppra, UCB Pharma) is an anticonvulsant medication licensed for the treatment of epilepsy in humans. Anecdotally, it has been used as adjunctive therapy for epilepsy in dogs and cats. The goal of this study was to assess the pharmacokinetics, efficacy and adverse effects of oral levetiracetam administered in conjunction with phenobarbital in cats with poorly controlled epilepsy. The study was designed as an open-label, noncomparative clinical trial. Twelve cats with epilepsy poorly controlled by phenobarbital or that had unacceptable adverse effects from phenobarbital were enrolled in the study. The cats were treated with levetiracetam at 20 mg/kg every 8 hours. Serum drug levels were measured after at least 1 week of treatment. Seizure frequency before and after initiation of therapy were compared, and any adverse effects were recorded. The median serum half-life for levetiracetam was 2.9 hours. Seizure frequency was significantly higher prior to treatment with levetiracetam (2.1 seizures/month versus 0.42 seizures/month). Seven of 10 cats had reduction in seizure frequency of equal to or greater than 50%. Two cats had transient lethargy and anorexia. The researchers conclude that levetiracetam is well tolerated in cats, and may be a useful adjunct therapy to phenobarbital for cats with idiopathic epilepsy.
>> PubMed abstract

Related articles:
Dewey, C. W. (2006). “Anticonvulsant therapy in dogs and cats.” Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 36(5): 1107-27, vii.
>> PubMed abstract