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Old 10-31-2011, 12:30 AM
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keppra vs generic and depression


Hi everyone! Here's a question...

a history: About seven years ago I was taking Keppra with Tegretol, I don't remember how much keppra. I took keppra for close to a year and stopped only because it wasn't working and my Dr wanted to try something else. Three months ago we decided to give the generic keppra, levetiracetam, a chance- this time with lamotrigine. I'm currently taking 1500mg bid. I've been taking lamotrigine for six years now.

I need to know how many people here have had depressed thoughts with the generic keppra. I've been having such thoughts for the past few months and I don't know if I can blame levetiracetam or other things in my life that are causing stress and can certainly contribute. I don't feel depressed enough to see a shrink and ask for some depression medication, but I don't want it to get to that point. I do not recall having these thoughts when I took keppra seven years ago.

So..
do they have anything to do with this new medication?
is there that much of a difference between keppra and the generic?
could taking it with lamotrigine verses tegretol change anything?

I'm going to get in to see my dr as soon as I can and discuss this, but in the meantime I would like to see if I can get some feedback here. And as I mentioned, perhaps it is just stress that has nothing to do with meds. Thank you.
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:54 AM
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Keppra has the bigger reputation for affecting mood and causing depression, but Lamotrigine can also have that side effect for some folks. So your depression may be due to one or the other med, and/or to the combo of them both.

The generics tend to have more or less of the active ingredient compared to the brand, with variations from batch to batch, so if you're highly sensitive to small fluctuations in medication, the generics might be causing trouble that way. My neurologist said that Lamotrigine has a better reputation than the generics for other anti-epileptic drugs in that it is less likely to give people any problems. I don't know if this is true, but I haven't had have any problems switching to Lamotrigine myself.
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:46 PM
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Yes. The Keppra makes us very susceptible. I find that if I keep stress at a minimum, eat right, stay well hydrated, and get enough rest, the Keppra is much more manageable.
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:47 PM
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In my experience there was a big difference between Keppra and generic. But I might be one of those people..........
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:14 PM
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We ate on generic and balance the mood issues with vitamin b


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Old 11-13-2011, 02:31 AM
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I use generic keppra (on assistance and never been able to afford brand names), and it's worked well for me (the first 3-5 weeks, though I was really sleepy, and would have screaming rage about dumb things like dropping lunch meat on the ground or being late for an appointment that lasted only 30-90 seconds). However, my seizures are not severe, so I'm probably not sensitive to minute variations.

I did have preoccupation about death and dying, sort of an existential depression (not again!) But I was able to use the thoughts to develop a more productive philosophy about life to enrich each moment, but I can see how at a different time or for different circumstances it could've become suicidal depression, so that's something to watch and report to doctors, especially if you have a history of mood disorders.

ETA: also, I'm prescribed folic acid, which apparently helps.
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Old 11-15-2011, 04:40 AM
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i completed a medication course yesterday, and even though one is owned by a company called keppra the active ingredients in both brand name and generic name are exactly the same, it has to be tested to prove it has the same effects etc as the brand name which was around first, although less research goes into the generic named one as it is thought they 'dont have too' because keppra done all the testing costing millions, which is another point to show they are basically the same, the generic probably costs a bit less though as they dont have to make up money that was spend on research and testing x
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:08 PM
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Just finished writing a paper that involved this as a side topic, so, happy to give an opinion here . For most medical conditions - generics don't have much more variation in either the active ingredient or absorption into the system than any two of the same doses of the brand name itself. Anti-epileptic drugs, not so. Keppra/levatiracetam was not the worst offender (that would be Trileptal/oxycarbazepine), nor is everyone who takes generic anti-epilepsy drugs going to have more breakthroughs and/or worse side-effects. But the fact is, generic anti-epilepsy drugs just aren't as consistent in their treatment of epilepsy as generic medications used to treat many other conditions, and the medical community is beginning to acknowledge this.

So when you think you observe that your side-effects are worse on generic Keppra, it is probably because they are.
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:49 PM
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Hello,
If you've been having these thoughts, it can indeed be due only to the current stressful issues in your life.. but it's likely keppra can be influencing how you're handling these situations. I would talk to your neurologist or doctor as soon as you get the chance.
I was in a very similar situation only a month ago - I've been recently diagnosed with epilepsy and was taking keppra (1500 bid) along with Clobazam to help me sleep. But I had noticed, and other people as well, that my mood wasn't normal, and I was having massive swings in my mood. I switched about a month ago to Valproic Acid, which has so far been a great alternative. I think it's too early yet to tell if this medication will prove more effective and lighter on my mood, but I can tell you from experience that the keppra certainly had very negative effects on my mood when I took it. I've been working through a lot of academic stress, and with valproic acid it's been a lot easier to handle. Keppra, stresses in my life were blown way out of proportion than they needed to be, from what I found. I started seeing a psychologist but I now find it unneccessary.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:27 PM
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Changing to generic Keppra XR really screwed me up!! Especially at first, it's better now, but I still have little panic attacks over nothing and I was never like that on brand name Keppra XR.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:08 PM
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Ive never tried the Generic of Keppra, Ive only been on name brand seizure medications all my life. But I have tried lamotrigine AKA Lamictal. I tried that in April of last year and had a really bad experience. It changed my mood, making me feel really depressed, and I also had an allergic reaction to it. I had to get off of it. Since then, Ive been on Keppra XR 3000mgs a day. I also take a Vitamin B-12, and Vitamin B Complex each morning. For me, ive had no problems with the Keppra for the past 13 years.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:44 AM
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I'm going to expand on what I said earlier and give you my history with name brand vs generic, and this is long.
I started Keppra about 7 years ago after bad side effects from lamictal, tegretol, neurontin, depakote, and a few others I can't even remember now. But I had tried a lot, got pregnant by accident while on hormone birth control and was told that depakote and lamictal would make my baby be born with horrible congenital birth defects so had an abortion, then said screw this and dropped all meds for a few years. Had lots of seizures and finally had a horrible day with many grand mals (as well as the partials distracting me all day long) and decided to get back on meds. So I started Keppra under my neurologist's direction because if I got pregnant accidentally again I would know it was safer than those meds. The first few weeks were tough with tiredness and all day head fog and a difficult time waking up - it seemed like I was comatose. But I got over it, and life was so much better! I had to keep upping the dose and finally at 2000mg I was stable again. I found that I have had some rage at times but overall it made me a normal person again. Generic Keppra came on the market and I was forced to take it due to the insurance copay BS I have to deal with making it more pricey and the difference was amazing. All of a sudden I had horrible headaches every single day and I stuttered!!! What I was thinking is not what came out of my mouth, and what I tried to say was interrupted by uh uh uh and t.t.t.t... I just couldn't spit it out. After one month I called my neurologist and he told me that Keppra XR had come out on the market so I made the switch, because that could be covered at the copay price since no generics were available. The only problem I had was that my neurologist prescribed me to take it in the morning and the all day fog returned, so once I took it before bed and slept off the worst of the tiredness I was fine. Hello normal self again! I got pregnant by accident (again, but on barrier birth control) but had a perfectly healthy pregnancy, labor, delivery, and baby, and breastfed him for 15+ months with absolutely no problems. I had to take a lot of folic acid with him and still take 800mcg but life was great. Fast forward to last September. Levetiracetam ER hits the market, my brand name medically necessary prescription doesn't matter anymore and I am forced to take the generic or pay a dispensed as written penalty, so my price goes from $25 for 3 months of meds to $465.81 for 3 months. Figured I'd give the generic a chance. First brand, Actavis, made me break out in hives and get super edgy and freak out over stuff. Anxiety over nothing. I filed an appeal with my insurance company to receive the name brand at copay price since I was having side effects and it was denied. So I decided to pay for the brand name for Keppra XR but only had $155.27 to spend on one month so just did that and decided to try Watson Labs brand the next month. So, I did, and this time no hives. But, the very first night I started having seizures again, the anxiety was amplified by 1000x, I was having full blown panic attacks, my face started to break out like a teenager, fat tongue feeling, couldn't talk right, tingling and numbness in my hands and feet, inability to straighten out my hands and use them correctly, extreme exhaustion (like someone had sucked the life out of me), and migraines again. So, I had a bunch of blood work done to figure out if something else is causing this and everything looks good. My neurologist upped the dose to 2500mg to get the seizures under control. I filed another appeal with insurance, and an external review was denied. They have granted me 4 months of the name brand but only that and in the meantime, no one can tell me anything about the second appeal, if it's been approved, denied, etc. It's like it never happened and they skipped right over that to this external review that was denied. Anyway, in the midst of the worst of the symptoms, I became pregnant accidentally again. I say accidentally because these have all happened while on birth control and through different types of BC. We had many many fears about the baby and at a 9 week appointment discovered that it had died but I had not miscarried yet. I have no idea if the generics caused it ... people say it should not have... but for how messed up I've been, how can I ever be sure? Anyway, after the miscarriage, I decided that I'm not taking the generics anymore. I want to have a healthy baby now and on purpose. So, I have weaned myself down from 2500mg to 2000mg to 1500mg to 750mg and now 500mg. I figure if my insurance will give me 4 months of a 2000mg daily dose, I can make it last 16 months - long enough to get healthy enough to get pregnant again and have a healthy pregnancy. I really hope the 500mg controls the seizures. So far I haven't had any problems and actually feel really good again, which is surprising considering I had a miscarriage one week ago tomorrow morning. Of course the fear remains with having a seizure while pregnant, but... I don't know what to do since even with my insurance I can't afford my meds and it seems like the appeals are all going to be denied.
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Old 01-13-2012, 01:37 PM
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G Girl, Im so sorry you're going through all this crap with the insurance! Is crap like that, that just pisses me off! So far, ive been lucky enough to get the insurance to pay for brand name, as long as my dr doesnt approve the generics. My neurologist is pretty good at letting me make those kind of choices. Once I was put back on the Keppra XR after my first video EEG in march of last year, they let me decided it I would like to try the generic of Keppra XR. After thinking about it, I chose to stay with the name brand, because first off, Ive never tried a generic seizure medication before, and Ive known for years that the name brand Keppra has worked, so I didnt want to screw up and take the chance of the generic not working. But when my dr tried to wean me off of keppra in April of 2011, he had to put me back to the Keppra, and not the Keppra XR. I went from 3000mgs a day down to 2500mgs a day, and suffered from really bad headaches and tingling and numbness feelings in my hands and feet. My dr didnt think nothing was up, at least that It was seizure related. But when the end of May came around, I got to see the dr's assistant and told her about it. I was determined to make this stuff go away! I brought it up, and asked if he was planning on leaving me on the Keppra, (In april his plan was to put me on Lamictal, and wean me off of Keppra, but I had an allergic reaction with the lamictal, and once I was told I was having the allergic reaction, I was down to 2500mgs of the Keppra, the dr thought the 2500mgs a day would hold me over, so he left me there, despite having the tingling feelings in my hands and feet, and headaches) if they could switch me to the Keppra XR and back to 3000mgs? She asked the dr himself, he said sure. Within less than a week, all those symptoms went totally away! I told my mom I knew that stuff wasnt all in my head! My mom then started to see where i was coming from, and she really thought it was in my head too, but after seeing the change in what took place, just going to Keppra XR from Keppra and bumping the dose up 500mgs more a day, it changed me for good!

I forgot to ask you, does your neurologist know you're going down in dose on the Keppra? I wouldnt want something bad to happen to you, and have them not know whats up if something were to happen.
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Carbatrol (400mgs)
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:52 PM
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No, he doesn't. I have wanted to tell him but I want to make the meds last as long as possible. If insurance is going to charge me $25 for as much as I need for 3 months, I'll take it. I believe that it would cost me a lot less (the price per pill) if I were to decide to pay the penalty price for Keppra XR. I have a feeling that I will go back to the generic or have to find another med that works for me eventually. I have self weaned before and stopped taking them completely without telling him. I've even quit cold turkey on Tegretol when I was younger, thank goodness I didn't have a problem then! Knowing what I know now I would never do it - but being 21, ya know...
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