Safety of Overnight Switch from Brand-Name to Generic Levetiracetam

Maria Stella Vari, Francesca Pinto, Elisabetta Mencaroni, Giovanna Giudizioso, Carlo Minetti, Angela la Neve, Tiziana Francavilla, Marta Piccioli, Salvatore Striano, Luigi Del Gaudio, Pierangelo Tovo, Pasquale Striano, Alberto Verrotti

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Background and Objective: Concerns that antiepileptic brand-to-generic interchange results in disruption of seizure control are widespread. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and tolerability of the brand-to-generic levetiracetam switch in patients with focal or generalized epilepsy. Methods: A prospective study in patients with primary, cryptogenic or symptomatic epilepsy, who were taking branded levetiracetam and were switched to generic levetiracetam. Patients were consecutively recruited from January 2013 to January 2015. We evaluated efficacy, tolerability and compliance before switching (T0) and after 6 months of therapy (T1). Evaluations were scheduled as follows: baseline, 7 and 15 days, 1, 3 and 6 months. At each visit clinical diary seizures, physical and neurological examination, laboratory parameters and electroencephalogram were evaluated. Results: Fifty-nine patients, equally mixed by sex, were included in the study. Mean age was 26.1 years. Forty-seven per cent of the patients enrolled received levetiracetam as monotherapy. One patient was lost during the follow-up: so at T1 we had 58 patients (28 monotherapy and 30 polytherapy). At T0 and at T1, there was no statistically significant difference in terms of seizure frequency and intensity, occurrence of adverse events, laboratory parameters and electroencephalographic features. Two patients stopped treatment with the generic (both at 3 months after the switch) and restarted therapy with brand levetiracetam because of seizure increase. At the end of the study, the switchback rate was 3.4 %. Conclusions: No increase of seizures and adverse effects were observed when branded levetiracetam was interchanged to a generic equivalent. More studies should be conducted with a larger series of patients to confirm these results.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Drug Investigation
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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