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Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

Hi, I'm 27 and had two grand mal seizures in the past month. I don't remember anything and am pretty much out cold for 30 min afterwards, and disoriented for the remainder of the day. All my tests have come back negative and my doc has put me on 1500 mg of Keppra a day. It's only been a couple weeks, but I've noticed that I get fatigued much quicker, I've lost my appetite, and my short term memory is shot. Are these the same side effects everyone else has?? Has Keppra worked well for you?? Also, I've read all the medical forms on it and talked to the doc some, but does being on the meds mean that I need to cut out alcohol 100%? I don't really drink a lot, but would occasionally like to still have wine every now and then, but I'm not sure if I should be concerned with any possible interactions. I'd like to hear other's experiences.

Thanks.

Comments

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

My symptoms have been the same as yours. My neurologist said it is still ok to drink but to limit it 2 drinks a day. I have been on Keppra since May 2009 and haven't had any known seizures since then. I have found myslef not being able to eat the same as I use to, I also get tired very easily, and sometimes feel a little overwhelmed and easily irritable. I have recently noticed that my short-term memory is not nearly as well as it use to be.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I am newly diagnosed with partial-onset epilepsy (just over a year) and I am 41.  I am also a nursing student.  I am currently taking 1500mg of Keppra, and it appears to be working.  I have gone from seizures every three to four days to 7 days and as many as fifteen days.  Keppra is metabolized by what is known as the first bypass effect.  This means that it is not metabolized in the liver.  It does not need the protein binding of the cytochrome p450 to work. It is, however, metabolized and excreted from the kidneys.  I am not sure what kinds of effect drinking would have on Keppra, but it would not be from a fight with the liver.  I would suggest check with your neurologist, refrain from drinking or everything in moderation.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I had a blood clot in my brain and suffered a stroke along with 9 tonic-clonic seizures. I also suffered some brain bleeding caused by a reaction to heparin. I also suffered a fractured shoulder which was caused during one of the seizures. This was back in May 2011. I have been taking Keppra since then and for the first 3 months or so I never drunk any alcohol at all. I have since started drinking again and have noticed that I do get drunk quicker than I used to. As for other side effects I have not really had that many. I did have a bout of depression, but I think that was caused by the stroke and the fact I had to stay off work. Now back at work. Very tiring, maybe this is a side effect of Keppra, but it could just as well be my body still recovering from the after effects of the trauma my brain and body have been through.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I've been an epileptic for over 25 years and taken several different types of drugs except Keppra during that time.  I never had any neurologist tell me it was ok to drink alcohol with any of them.  Unfortunately, I went through high school and college trying to prove that I was indestructible.  I cannot prove that any of my seizures in college were a result of alcohol, but I can honestly say that the alcohol probably didn't help.  Most seizure medications can have side effects associated with being sleepy, depression, mood swings, etc.  Why risk them being doubled, but everyone is different - weight, age, etc.  In my case, alcohol in moderation has been fine for the last 10 years (less than 2 drinks per week or fewer).  You will have to figure your own body out, but be careful and pay attention to the side effects & subtle clues.  You won't be 27 for too long and you do put yourself at a higher risk consuming alcohol.  Keppra is still considered new and we are finding out about it every day.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

i have had seizures for 40 years. the truth is simple. alcohol at any level lowers the threshold at which a seizure can happen.  that means it is easier for the seizure to occur.  that being said, and you understanding the risks, make you own deceision.  the idea of getting a blood alcohol higher than legal to drive.  don't do it.  a glass of wine once in a while will probably not do any harm. that is what i have found.  talk to the doc about having a glass of wine once in a while.  then make the decision.  my advice is to not drink, that is based on the first simple truth.  rikk

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I was told that Keppra is processed through the kidneys.  That is one reason why I chose to go this route one year ago, although I did just have another seizure 2 weeks ago (first one though since starting the Keppra).  But I was told by a nurse that I was on the lowest dose of Keppra possible (1,000 mg per day).  I am now on a much higher dose.  I was also under alot of stress, which is a known cause of seizures.  I drink wine every night......

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

Hi my name is James, and has had epilepsy for 8 years now, and i think i have the same one as you.I am 37,and do drink on Keppra and i have no issues with that,am i saying you should drink, no, but remember each body is different than other ones.I have no side effects and I am working, so i hope this helps you.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

My husband has had epilepsy for over a year now and he was told to stop drinking altogher cause drinking with the Keppra could actually kill him. The Dr told him that Keppra can be taken with any meds and not counter the Keppra but the alcohol lowers its effectiveness in could cause him to have a really bad seizure or one right after the other until he dies or goes brain dead.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I am 30 and was switched from Depakote to Keppra and Klonopin recently. My Neuro told me to stay totally away from Beer and wine and to limit my use of any other alcohol. I have noticed that having one drink on Keppra makes me feel like I have had about six. I don't drink alot but it was a very odd experience for me. For me the choice to stay away from alcohol is an easy one that being said Alcohol is definatly a trigger for seizures in any form.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I am currently taking 1500 mg of Keppra 2x daily and I completely avoid drinking alcohol. I have read and been told by both my neurologist and my neurosurgeon that it can increase some of the side effects, some of which I wouldn't take my chances with, and may also increase the risk of seizures.

 I haven't experienced many adverse reactions to the drug and I've been on it for around 2 months. For the first few weeks, I would get extremely tired aftertaking my dose and felt generally depressed but that wore off as my body adjusted to the medication. One can expect to experience some side effects when starting any new medication of this sort as your body adjusts to the new chemicals that are in it, but it almost always goes away in time.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

You will hear from many different people about side effects and also about drinking. I have had epilepsy since I was 12 they ran tests when I was 13. That was back in 1963. I have been on most of the medications that people have been taking. Understand too that side effects do happen but you also need to be checking the %ages of people i the studies that had those side effects. As for Keppra I have been taking it since before it was on the market or as it was put on the market. The amount you take would do nothing for me since I take 3 750 mg BID. Which equates to 4500 mg a day.

As for keppra working. For me it has done well. It has cut the number of seizures down and has shortened the length of time in the seizure. Mose of my seizures last seconds and I can focus within minutes. I have been working and on the phone with customers and had them and the customer didn't know it. Most of the people I was around at work didn't know I had seizures while I was infront of them. SO yes Keppra has helped me and it does work. I also can tell you that a medication that works for one person may not work for everybody.

As for drinking My friends and I would close the bars down now and then but that was when I was 20-30.  My neuro and my PCP have borh told me that a glass of wine or a beer now and then is not bad. So I do have a glass of wine now and then.  I have wine and will get beer now and then if I know someone is comming over that likes them. I also cook with both beer and wine.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I've been on Lamictal for years, recently Keppra was substituted for Topamax. Regardless of the medication, it seems like the problem remains the same:

 

Drinking is usually ill-advised on most medications. Many epilepsy medications (at least the 3 I've mentioned) have drowsiness and dizziness as side effects, which are exacerbated with alcohol consumption. After a certain point (for me, it's usually at about 4 beers), I start to feel as if I'd had twice that many. Whether that is the side effects of the medication or the alcohol itself, is hard to tell.

Worse, though, is the fact that many times after a night of heavy drinking (mostly liquor), I'll have a horrible headache the next morning and will have a seizure sometime in the late afternoon. Not always, but often enough that I'm very, very weary of liquor now. I can drink wine and beer to my heart's content. Probably they're easier and faster for the body to filter than liquor.

In short, I think you're ok as long as you keep it in moderation. I'd imagine a glass or two would be fine for most people. 

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I'm only 16 and have had JME for maybe a year and a half, I take 2000mg of Keppra a day, and my neurologist told me I shouldn't drink, like ever, cause I'll seize. I know I should listen to my doctors but I've drank before and never had a seizure. They say that drinking increases your risks but now I'm starting to be convinced it just effects every person differently. I feel terrible and embarrassed to ask but I was wondering if anyone else ever gets drunk, kinda like trashed, and not be effected from their epilepsy?

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

hii :)

i'm 18 and have been on keppra for probably at least 2 years and my god, it has honestly reduced my seizures, i still take a load of them but when i come off them i take awful seizures and am sick and ill the rest of the day.

i can still drink but get drunk a lot faster than my friends and have been warned of this but hey, less money on alcohol i suppose? (look on the bright side as much as you can i suppose :) )

i amnt too bad with the side affects but iv been on medication since i was 14, so i was never "normal"

im on the same amount as you and im doing ok and can still drink (also on lamotrigine and clobizam) so you should be fine :)

if you can, get in touch if you fancy and i hope this helps somehow?

x

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

You need to talk to your neurologist before considering having a glass of wine. My son has been on just about every med there is out there along with the keto diet and now VNS. He had behavioral problems on Keppra, which was not his normal behavior. I wouldn't suggest drinking alcohol with meds that chemically change your mind. You need to understand that everytime you have a seizure, it is a lot of wear and tear on not only your brain, but all of your organs. Alcohol kills brain cells. With seizures adding to this, do you think you should really be intentionally killing brain cells? He is now 20, I have been watching him have seizures since he was 5, they get worse as time goes on, he is now moving into grand mal, it breaks my heart everytime he encounters one and he has too many to count in a day. Don't put extra stress on your parents by adding to an already complicated situation. Good luck to you.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

My husband was on keppra for about a year. It wasn't the occasional glass of wine or beer that was the problem, it was the rage and depresseion. Things got so bad he was weaned off the keppra and is now working on stabalizing on the new med (Topamax) and Depakote. I am here to tell you, the rage and depression was from the keppra and nothing else. Two weeks after he was off the drug the anger and rage disappeared.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

When taking any kind of anti convulsant, you're not even supposed to consume any amount of alcohol. Alcohol passes through your liver, as do the meds, so it negates the effects of the medication.  The consumption of alcohol also has the possibility of bringing on a grand mal. I refused to believe it, until I wound up sicker than a dog one morning after a night of heavy drinking and going into a grand mal along with passing out in the shower.  I haven't given up on alcohol, but I keep it to a minimum of special occasions, which are few and far between. As for Keppra, I experienced the same side effects, but also included increased depression and  mood swings. I also had my first grand mal when I was transitioning onto Keppra from Zonnegran and Lamictal.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I got diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 18 about a month before I started uni. I was put on Sodium Valporate and only had one seizure in the next 9 months. Then I stopped taking my medication because I thought 'I've not got epilepsy they were just one offs.' Then I had one which resulted in a brain hemmorhage and was then put on Levetiracetam. That was a year ago and since then I have had seizures at least once a month resulting in worsening injuries. CAN I PLEASE TELL EVERYONE DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR MEDICATION!! As far as side effects go alcohol has never been involved in a seizure so drink away as far as I am concerned! But yes, it does seem to make it easier to get drunk to begin with but that wears off with time. Other side effects I have experienced are memory loss, anger issues, weight gain, skin rashes and bruising. I am on the highest dose of keppra now and quite frankly can't wait to get off it. This is the first time I've actually found a group about epilepsy as I don't know any one else with it! Reassuring to know I'm not the only neurologically challenged individual :)

Martha x

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I spend about 7 years on Lamictal. It almost worked well, no problems with alcohol. I switched to KEPPRA about 18 months ago. The good news is absolutely siezure free since then. I'm also a really cheap drunk, now. 2 or 3 anythings and its nap time.

It also flipped a switch on my sex drive. From FULL ON to FULL OFF. This was immediate. Anybody else have this reaction?

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I have had epilepsy for 6 years now and am just starting Keppra. It is hard to answer your question because epilepsy is different for everyone. Personally I have horrible memory and get headaches frequently. For me it isnt the medicine as much as it is the seizure itself. A seizure is an extremely traumatic event that happens in your brain and as a result your brain suffers. The better control you have of the seizures, the better your memory can be. When it comes to drinking, it is also different with everyone. I used to be on Tegretal which explicit says you should not drink. I did anyway because I was a dumb teenager. Out of the 13 seizures I have had, none of them have been a result of drinking. Drinking doesnt help and you shouldnt do it, but the problems i had, I still would have had whether or not i drank. Unlike many other antiepileptic med Keppra is synthesized in the liver but as i said drinking will not help you. Drinking now and then is fine but i wouldnt recommend getting hammered regularly.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

IF YOU GO TO KEPPRA.COM IT SPECIFICALLY SAYS... UNDER THE "BENEFITS OF KEPPRA" THAT IT "IS NOT BROKEN DOWN IN THE LIVER".

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

not on the same meds but feel like i'm going backwards in time, like remembering some of the things my sister-in-law told me yrs ago but i just brushed them aside at my age (busy with work and school). Now feel like in mid-life crisis and don't know what to think or feel.  dont' have a hold of myself like I used to. She is older than my brother in law and at the time it was looked down on .  Now i'm understanding many of the things she saidyrs ago. I don't want to beg for help from her to deal with this situation.  My husband's been always protective of me and I've allowed this because...

But maybe the only way out of this hole is to step out of my ego Any ideas?

 

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

Hi

I was on 1500mg of Keppra a day and the only side effect I had was anger. I would lose my temper very quickly and I didn't care who I yelled at or for what reason. I realized it was a problem when I started snapping at other students at school (I'm a college student & I don't feel that that is proper conduct in a college setting or any other setting for that matter) So I'm actually being weened off of Keppra and I'm about to start Zonegram. And don't worry about drinking, I'm a social beer drinker and I didn't notice any ill effects from the alcohol at all. Hope that helps a bit.
Good luck.
Peace ~ Jodi

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

Are you sure that the anger wasn't a side effect that was increased due to your social drinking?

I haven't had a drink since I started Keppra, because my docs said 'not at all' to the idea, and I haven't had any emotional/mood altering side effects at all.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

My son was on Keppra for a year and he was 5 not drinking at all.  His temper was horrible and got better as soon as he was weaned off of Keppra.  It is known to cause rage outbreaks in some people and it should be reported to your Neurologist because if you have the rages you are more prone to the psychotic breaks that can be a side effect of the Keppra.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I had my first tonic-chlonic seizure last year and dislocated my jaw-the past January, the next one fractured my hip, so I am now in a wheel chair from a botched surgery. (I finally got a county health plan, thank GOD). I was on Depakote, (nightmare), Keppra, and the dosage was originally 1500 mg/twice a day. It was way too much. I was angry, sick to my stomach, fatigued, my memory was like a game of scrabble, and I was really depressed. I stopped taking it (and I was not drinking) and then I had my next serious seizure, and not only did they lower the dosage, but I had no health insurance anymore since being wrongfully terminated from my long time job. They put me back on Keppra, and I didn't consume alcohol for 3-4 months. However, my fracture never healed; so l was living with chronic pain, given pain pills, which just interacted terribly with the Keppra. I have cut my Keppra down to 250 mg/twice a day, and my new doctor wants me to take 500 mg/twice a day then increase it to 750/ two times a day. I call bullish*t. I drink occassionally, eat tons of fiber, consume plenty of water, and lots of produce and protein. Keppra does a number on my digestive track, and it does make me irritable and tired. Sometimes you have to listen to your body- you know your body better than anyone. -It;s 4 o'clock somewhere, Doc. I'd rather have a martini than an oxy-codone or vicodine-talk about liver damage.

I dont suggest drinking any

I dont suggest drinking any alcohol while on medication..... not only does it counteract with the medicaton, it also can cause more seizures and god knows what else.
Im on Dilantin and Lamictal and I was told not to drink alcohol at all, or even take cold medication (because they contain alcohol).

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

Hi. Here's the thing, your liver filters your Keppra. It also filters alcohol. When you drink alcohol, your liver fights over which to work on. Alcohol usually wins. So your medication is not as effective as it would be without drinking. If you plan on getting drunk, its like not even taking your medication, and not taking it can cause a seizure. A drink here and there shouldn't interact that bad. As far as the tiredness, and forgetfullness, that could just be a side effect that might go away after you've been on the keppra for awhile. My husband is on dilantin, and had headaches for 3 months until his body got used to the side effects, and it did go away. If ever you're not sure, talk to your neurologist.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

hi i just started keppra and it says on the keppra site that it is not filtered threw the liver like other anti-seizure medication.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I have been on Keppra since Sept 2009. I have researched the med and the only toxic "food" is alcohol. Since Keppra is a depressant, alcohol (being a depressant) will increase the effects of being tired. I have completely eliminated alcohol (even though I was never really a drinker) just to be on the safe side.

Re: Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

I don't drink at all. This has been my coice for quite some time now. If for nothing else, for the process of elimination. If I don't drink, then I know it wasn't drinking that caused my seizure. I don't know why you would want to consume a known seizure trigger, I bet your Neuro told you not to. If not, find a new one.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

On keppra for just more than 5 weeks now i've had lots of lovely side effects. My short term memory is shot, i'm cranky, irritable, depressed and, i'm still having seizures. When i drank the other day because i just wanted to escape i only had a few beers than i was drunk (a lot less than usual) and the next day i even had a hang over, which i haven't had in years. so, i would reccomend don't even bother, 1 - 2 drinks max.

Re: Side Effects for Keppra & Can you drink alcohol??

ditto on everything.  My seizures became more frequent also

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