Epilepsy Talk

Keppra – A New Breakthrough | March 13, 2016

Recently, the FDA approved the very first 3D-printed medication.

3D printing has taken the world by storm, and although it may sound like science fiction, it’s here to stay.

And the pharmaceutical industry is getting in on this innovative technology.

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals has taken seizure medications to the next level with Spirtam.

The active ingredient of Spirtam, known as levetiracetam, is available as a generic and also currently used in other popular seizure meds including Keppra, Keppra XR, and Elepsia XR (approved in March 2015). 

Here’s how the 3D-printed pill is made…

Spirtam will be made using thin layers of powdered medication spread on top of one another and bonded together by patterns of water like fluid.

Spirtam is different from the other prescription Keppra medications because…

The 3D printing process utilizes a unique absorbent structure that allows even high strengths of the medication to be quickly dissolved with just a sip of liquid.

Here’s exactly how it is taken…

The new technology used to make Spirtam allows the medication to dissolve in your mouth in less than 10 seconds, even for high-dose medications up to 1,000 mg.

You don’t need to swallow a tablet or capsule to get the full dose. (A plus.) This wasn’t possible without 3D printing.

Spirtam is set to be available in the first quarter of 2016…

What are the side effects of Spirtam?

The most common side effects include sleepiness, weakness, dizziness and infection.

Brivaracetam – Another Keppra breakthrough in the works.

On another front, UCB will likely submit brivaracetam — its follow-up to levetiracetam to the Food and Drug Administration for approval in the not-so-distant future.

So far, there have been positive Phase 3 results for brivaracetam in epilepsy patients with partial-onset seizures.

Brivaracetam, which is currently under review by the U.S. FDA, is effective and well-tolerated in patients with partial-onset seizures, according to research published in Epilepsia.

Scientific results showed that brivaracetam reduced partial-onset seizure frequency and improved responder rates.

The most commonly reported adverse events were somnolence, dizziness, fatigue and headache.

“Levetiracetam is a great medication, but its psychiatric side effects,” which can include aggression, depression, and even psychosis, are “limiting.

If brivaracetam turns out to be a friendlier version of levetiracetam, that would be helpful, but we don’t know that yet,” Dr. Pavel Klein said at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society.

Self-reported “irritability occurred relatively little” in the study, perhaps in about 2% of brivaracetam patients and 1% of the placebo group.

Good news for everyone.

And post marketing data shows that irritability occurs in “somewhere around 10%” of levetiracetam patients,” Dr. Klein said.

Quite a difference to reported reactions to Keppra!

Whichever drug makes it to the finish line first, it’s clear that progress of great magnitude is on its way.

And we emerge the winners!


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  1. A quick dissolve keppra sounds unpleasant or did they fix how awful it tastes?


    Comment by AJ — March 13, 2016 @ 11:14 AM

  2. Great news. Now the patient can have a Kepp-rage attack (or psychotic episode) within seconds!


    Comment by Martha — March 13, 2016 @ 11:23 AM

  3. You’ve got a point there.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 13, 2016 @ 2:14 PM

  4. I’ve been on medicines for epilepsy,grand mals,for around 50 +years now .So what is the big deal about the med dissolving a little faster.After a while you have some in your system .


    Comment by Robert — March 13, 2016 @ 3:14 PM

  5. Yup. It’s going to be in your system one way or another.

    But think of this: If you’re one of those people for whom Keppra works, it could do a world of good.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 13, 2016 @ 7:19 PM

  6. I never her of this durg, when I was on keppra I didn,t have a seizure, but I gain weight while on it. so they took me off.


    Comment by michele metzger — March 13, 2016 @ 11:47 PM

  7. It’s still in trials.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 14, 2016 @ 9:27 AM

  8. Keppra has been a life saver for me. Been taking it since 2008. No problems with it or seizure from the start.. Some people are just fine with it and others are not.. I can’t live without it !!!!!


    Comment by Gayla — April 10, 2016 @ 12:03 AM

  9. It’s great to hear good news! 🙂


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — April 10, 2016 @ 10:21 AM

  10. i have been perscribe keppra very reluctant to take it after i read about side effects. A lot of post were quite old was just wondering if its been improved as i only heard of it last year most post are from 2010


    Comment by Joel Farbon — August 23, 2017 @ 12:07 AM

    • As you can see, there are positive, middle of the road and negative side-effects.

      I don’t think dates matter. Experience is experience, whenever it happens.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — August 23, 2017 @ 9:19 AM

  11. Ya the devil’s pill. Fast acting rage. I was given the pill and not worn about the side effects. That falls completely on my neurologist which i have lost all faith, but hard for me to find another.


    Comment by Richard — March 14, 2018 @ 6:11 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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