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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Levetiracetam psychosis in children with epilepsy.

PURPOSE: Levetiracetam is a new anticonvulsant (AED) with a novel mechanism of action. Although it is generally well tolerated with a good cognitive profile, irritability and hostility have been reported in some adults taking levetiracetam. Observations in children are limited; levetiracetam is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children. METHODS: In four young patients, acute psychosis developed within days to months of initiation of levetiracetam for seizures. RESULTS: A 5-year-old girl began having visual hallucinations of spiders in her room 14 days after starting levetiracetam. A 13-year-old boy began having auditory hallucinations, insomnia, and screaming behavior 3 months after initiation of levetiracetam. A 16-year-old girl became acutely agitated, hyperreligious, and had persecutory delusions within 7 days of starting levetiracetam. A 17-year-old girl had auditory hallucinations telling her to sing and yell after 30 days of taking the drug. All four children had dramatic improvement within days of either discontinuing or decreasing the dose of levetiracetam. The three adolescents had historical findings consistent with mild behavioral problems before initiating levetiracetam, and all four patients had prior cognitive deficits. CONCLUSIONS: Reversible treatment-emergent psychosis associated with levetiracetam therapy was observed in four children and adolescents. Whether rapid initiation or prior neurobehavioral problems predispose to this side effect is not established.[1]


  1. Levetiracetam psychosis in children with epilepsy. Kossoff, E.H., Bergey, G.K., Freeman, J.M., Vining, E.P. Epilepsia (2001) [Pubmed]
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