Why is this medication prescribed?
Brivaracetam is used is used along with other medications to control partial onset seizures (seizures that involve only one part of the brain) in people who are 16 years of age or older. Brivaracetam is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It works by decreasing abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
How should this medicine be used?
Brivaracetam comes as a tablet and solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food twice daily. Take brivaracetam at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand.
Swallow the tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.
If you are taking the liquid, do not use a household spoon to measure your dose. Use the measuring spoon or cup that came with the medication or use a spoon made especially for measuring medication.
Your doctor may increase or decrease your dose depending on how well the medication works for you, and the side effects you experience. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment with brivaracetam.
Brivaracetam may be habit forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor.
Brivaracetam may help control your condition but will not cure it. Continue to take brivaracetam even if you feel well. Do not stop taking brivaracetam without talking to your doctor, even if you experience side effects such as unusual changes in behavior or mood. If you suddenly stop taking brivaracetam, your seizures may become worse. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with brivaracetam and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085729.htm) or the manufacturer's website to obtain the Medication Guide.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking brivaracetam,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to brivaracetam, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in brivaracetam tablets or liquid. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, Teril), phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), and rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate, Rifater). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you currently or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, used street drugs, or over-used prescription medications. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had depression, mood problems, suicidal thoughts or behavior, kidney disease that was treated with dialysis (treatment to clean the blood outside the body when the kidneys are not working well), or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking brivaracetam, call your doctor.
- you should know that brivaracetam may make you dizzy or drowsy, and may cause blurred vision or problems with coordination and balance. Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or participate in activities requiring alertness or coordination until you know how this medication affects you.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking brivaracetam. Brivaracetam can make the side effects from alcohol worse.
- you should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways and you may become suicidal (thinking about harming or killing yourself or planning or trying to do so) while you are taking brivaracetam. A small number of adults and children 5 years of age and older (about 1 in 500 people) who took anticonvulsants like brivaracetam to treat various conditions during clinical studies became suicidal during their treatment. Some of these people developed suicidal thoughts and behavior as early as 1 week after they started taking the medication. There is a risk that you may experience changes in your mental health if you take an anticonvulsant medication such as brivaracetam, but there may also be a risk that you will experience changes in your mental health if your condition is not treated. You and your doctor will decide whether the risks of taking an anticonvulsant medication are greater than the risks of not taking the medication. You, your family, or your caregiver should call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: panic attacks; agitation or restlessness; new or worsening irritability, anxiety, or depression; acting on dangerous impulses; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; aggressive, angry, or violent behavior; mania (frenzied, abnormally excited mood); talking or thinking about wanting to hurt yourself or end your life; or any other unusual changes in behavior or mood. Be sure that your family or caregiver knows which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Brivaracetam may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- extreme tiredness or lack of energy
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, stop taking brivaracetam and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, and eyes
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
- hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- delusions (having strange thoughts or beliefs that have no basis in reality) such as thoughts that people are trying to harm you even if they are not
Brivaracetam may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Dispose of any unused oral solution 5 months after first opening the bottle. Do not freeze the oral solution.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
- extreme tiredness
- trouble keeping your balance
- blurred or double vision
- slowed heartbeat
- feeling anxious
What other information should I know?
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Brivaracetam is a controlled substance. Prescriptions may be refilled only a limited number of times; ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.