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Keppra Withdrawal Help: Timelines, Medications & More

Doctors prescribe Keppra for people who have certain types of seizures.

People might abuse this medication to achieve the sedating effects it can produce. Some people also abuse the drug for the dizziness that can occur.

Abusing Keppra can cause a variety of dangers. One of the biggest issues that people may face is what happens when they abruptly stop taking it. A tapered approach is recommended when getting off of Keppra.

Withdrawal Timeline

There is no official withdrawal timeline for Keppra. Doctors caution that people should not stop taking Keppra without their approval. It is important to be weaned from this medication to reduce the risk of seizures.

The time period in which a person should be weaned from Keppra depends on the dose they take and how long they have been taking the drug. There are no specific guidelines for how a person should be weaned off and how long this should take. The tapering schedule will be designed by the supervising physician for the individual case.

The general recommendation for anticonvulsant medication tapering is one to three months. The doctor determines how much to lower the dose and at what frequency.

People should not attempt to taper themselves off of Keppra on their own. This is especially important if the person has a history of seizures.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

One of the biggest concerns with Keppra withdrawal is experiencing a seizure.

Due to the risk of seizure, a person who is withdrawing from Keppra should be continuously monitored by people who know how to assist if a seizure occurs. Here are a few of the withdrawal symptoms in which to be aware:

  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Infection
  • Nasal congestion
  • Decreased appetite
  • Irritability
  • Becoming aggressive

Can Medications Be Used During Keppra Withdrawal?

There are no medications used during Keppra withdrawal except Keppra itself on a tapering schedule. The guidelines associated with this are designed for people who take the medication as prescribed for seizures. A review of the literature that looked at 25 randomized controlled trials found no taper guidelines

However, many of the studies involved in this literature review looked at a gradual taper protocol. In these trials, the protocol ranges from one month to over four years. However, there was no mention of medications except the anticonvulsant medication the person was taking. 

When someone experiences a seizure, it is important to keep them safe. In some cases, health care staff may use a rescue treatment for acute seizures that are a result of withdrawal. These medicines work quickly to slow down activity in the central nervous system to stop a seizure.

Medicines that might be used for an acute seizure include benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam, diazepam, or midazolam. If a person is still able to take a pill, they might be given orally. There are also sprays, buccal, injectable, and sublingual options for those who are unable to swallow a pill. 

Depending on the severity of the seizure, additional support may be necessary to stabilize the person, such as monitoring their blood pressure and providing assistance with their airway and oxygenation.

What Is the Detox Process Like?

The process varies for everyone.

It will depend on how long the person was taking Keppra, how often they took it, and their dosage levels. The doctor or addiction treatment specialist will evaluate the person’s Keppra use and give more information on what they might expect during this process

It is best to go to a detox center or other medical facility, especially if someone abused this drug at high doses for an extended time. This ensures that if a seizure does happen during the process, the person can receive immediate attention.

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What to Look for in a Detox Center

Since Keppra is not a common drug of abuse, most facilities may not have experience treating withdrawal from it. Keppra may commonly be abused with other substances, so you may need to look for a center that can address polysubstance abuse. 

If you have additional medical conditions, make sure the detox center is able to provide proper care for these conditions simultaneously. This is especially important for any comorbid health conditions that require daily attention, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Look at reviews of the detox center to get insight regarding their reputation. 

Choose a detox center that emphasizes comprehensive treatment. It is imperative to not only treat the Keppra abuse issue but also address any underlying circumstances that might have led to it happening in the first place.

Call the center and ask about which insurance plans they take. If you don’t have insurance or the center does not accept your insurance, inquire about the total cost of treatment and if there are payment plans to use. 

In some cases, you can wean off Keppra use on your own with medical supervision. Do not attempt to stop taking Keppra without first consulting a physician.

Sources

Discontinuing Antiepileptic Drugs. Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago. Retrieved March 2019 from https://epilepsychicago.org/epilepsy/treatment/discontinuing-antiepileptic-drugs/

Voluntary Withdrawal of Medicines for Epilepsy. University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.uwhealth.org/healthfacts/neuro/4438.pdf

(2015) A Review of Withdraw Strategies for Discontinuing Antiepileptic Therapy in Epilepsy and Pain Management. Pharmacy and Pharmacology International Journal. Retrieved March 2019 from https://medcraveonline.com/PPIJ/PPIJ-03-00045.pdf

Using Rescue Treatments. Epilepsy Foundation. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/managing-your-epilepsy/using-rescue-treatments

Emergency Treatment of Acute Seizures and Status Epilepticus. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Retrieved March 2019 from https://adc.bmj.com/content/79/1/78

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