Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA Department of Neurosciences, York District Hospital, York, United Kingdom
A good balance between safety and tolerability is necessary for an antiepileptic drug (AED) to be successful in the management of patients with epilepsy. Levetiracetam is one of the new generation of AEDs licensed as an add‐on therapy for the treatment of patients with partial‐onset seizures. Levetiracetam’s mechanisms of action are not fully understood. Controlled clinical trials, open‐label studies, and postmarketing surveillance indicate that levetiracetam has a favorable safety profile characterized by little effect on vital signs or clinical laboratory values, reported adverse events that are mild to moderate, and no known drug‐drug interactions. The tolerability of levetiracetam may extend to both pediatric and elderly patients based on analyses of small numbers of patients. Tolerability is maintained over the long term. Levetiracetam does not appear to have a different safety profile in learning‐disabled patients. Levetiracetam appears to have a good balance between tolerability and efficacy in the treatment of a wide variety of patients with partial epilepsy.