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  • Writer's pictureMichael Bryden

Understanding the Interaction: Keppra and Marijuana

The Role of Keppra in Epilepsy Management

Keppra, or levetiracetam, is a crucial medication for treating various epilepsy types, including focal, myoclonic, and tonic-clonic seizures. Its common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, and mood changes, while severe effects like psychosis or allergic reactions are less frequent.

Keppra and Marijuana

While the interaction of marijuana, particularly THC, with epilepsy medications like Keppra is not fully understood, the role of cannabis-derived treatments in epilepsy has seen significant advancements. Epidiolex, a plant-based treatment derived from cannabis, is the first of its kind approved by the FDA for treating seizures. It's prescribed for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex in patients as young as one year old. Epidiolex's approval in 2018 marked a significant shift in treating medically refractory seizures, especially for Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This highlights the importance of understanding the pharmacology, toxicology, and potential drug-drug interactions of such medications in clinical settings.

Drug Interaction Considerations

Though no direct interactions between cannabis and Keppra are documented on, the combination's effects on the central nervous system warrant careful consideration. The nuanced differences in side effects, adverse effects, and drug-drug interactions between Epidiolex (a CBD medication) and other antiepileptics, including Keppra, are crucial for clinicians to understand.

Research Perspectives: Insights from Stanford Medicine and Beyond

Stanford Medicine's research suggests that THC-like substances may initially reduce seizures but could lead to increased seizure frequency over time. This complex relationship underscores the need for ongoing research into long-term efficacy, safety, and drug interactions of cannabis-derived treatments in epilepsy.

Consulting Healthcare Professionals

For patients considering the use of marijuana or cannabis-derived medications like Epidiolex with Keppra, consulting healthcare professionals is vital. A personalized approach to treatment can ensure safe management of epilepsy, taking into account potential drug interactions and individual patient needs.

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