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Re: Keppra (levetiracetam) for bipolar disorder? theo

Posted by SLS on August 19, 2005, at 8:39:33

In reply to Re: Keppra (levetiracetam) for bipolar disorder? SLS, posted by theo on August 18, 2005, at 16:41:57

> Hey Scott,
> What dose are you currently at with the Keppra? Are you feeling anything positive or negative?
> Ted

I began taking 500mg of Keppra on Sunday. I will be moving up to 1000mg today. So far, I haven't experienced any negative effects on mood or cognition. This alone is a positive outcome at this juncture. Keppra has been known to make depression worse in some people. One of the things I hate about starting a new drug is that I place so much hope in it so soon. I experienced a small improvement in energy over the past two days. So, my silly mind interprets this as evidence that the drug will ultimately bring me into complete remission. Why is that? After so many "false starts" and treatment-failures, you would think I should at least remain neutral in my outlook, if not demonstrate overt pessimism based on my treatment statistics.

I guess I really don't expect very much from Keppra. The NIMH hasn't seen it successfully treat severe depression. However, this was probably in the absence of antidepressants. My doctor doesn't think much of the drug. Ivan Goldberg wasn't terribly impressed either. No one here has reported a robust antidepressant response in the treatment of chronic depression. I had it on my list simply because it was so different from the other anticonvulsants I've tried. However, I haven't tried Topamax yet. I was hoping to stay away from that drug because of how easily these drugs affect negatively my cognition.

So, here I am.

Life is funny. The one Medline article that captured my interest was this one:

When I decided to go for a second opinion consultation, I was recommended to see Dr. Kaufman. I had no idea he was the author of this article. I really didn't know anything about him. When I asked him what he thought of the idea of using Keppra, he smiled at me and asked me why I was interested in it. When he showed me a copy of the article abstract, I said, "Yeah, I read this." LOL. It was his suggestion that I give it a try. If it works, he would like to write me up. Hopefully, he'll have good reason to.

- Scott


1: Epilepsy Behav. 2004 Dec;5(6):1017-20. Related Articles, Links

Monotherapy treatment of bipolar disorder with levetiracetam.

Kaufman KR.

Department of Psychiatry, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 125 Paterson Street, Suite 2200, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA.

Bipolar patients with early-onset, comorbid substance abuse, rapid cycling, and mixed episodes are difficult to treat and frequently require rational polypharmacy. When polypharmacy is unsuccessful, the clinician must consider the off-label use of newer psychotropics. Levetiracetam is a novel anticonvulsant with antikindling, inhibitory, and neuroprotective properties that is effective in an animal model of mania. This case report describes a patient with treatment-resistant rapid cycling bipolar disorder who failed 15 psychotropics, individually or in various combinations (maximum of 6), but ultimately responded to levetiracetam monotherapy and remained without bipolar features during 1 year of maintenance treatment, excluding 1 week during which the patient was medicine noncompliant. Further, methylphenidate used to treat comorbid attention deficit disorder did not precipitate manic features. Levetiracetam should be further studied for its potential use in the treatment of bipolar disorders.

Publication Types:
Case Reports

PMID: 15582854 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]




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