Side Effects of Brivaracetam (Briviact)
Brivaracetam, under brand name Briviact, is an anti-epileptic drug, which is also called an anticonvulsant. It is used together with other medicines to treat partial onset seizures in people with epilepsy who are at least 16 years old. Due to its abuse and dependence potential, Briviact is a federally controlled substance. It should be kept in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away Briviact is against the law as it may harm others. Briviact may induce suicidal thoughts or actions in 1 in 500 people taking it.
Serious Side Effects
Briviact may cause serious side effects as the FDA reports. These include nervous system problems, such as drowsiness, tiredness, dizziness, and balance and coordination problems, mental (psychiatric) symptoms, i.e., mood and behavior changes such as aggression, agitation, anger, anxiety, apathy, mood swings, depression, hostility, and irritability.
Irritability and anxiety are common with Briviact, and can be severe. People who take Briviact can also get psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are really not there), delusions (false or strange thoughts or beliefs), and unusual behavior.
Common Side Effects
The FDA also published the common side effects:
- Tired feeling
Warnings Before Taking Briviact
You should inform your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements, particularly, rifampin or seizure medications, such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), levetiracetam or phenytoin (Dilantin).
Do not take Briviact if you have known allergies to it. Before taking Briviact, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you have or had depression, mood problems, or suicidal thoughts or behavior, liver problems, have abused or been dependent on prescription medicines, street drugs, or alcohol, any other medical problems, and if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
When to Contact Your Doctor
The FDA recommends contacting a healthcare provider immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Thoughts about suicide or dying
- Attempts to commit suicide
- New or worse depression, anxiety, or irritability
- Agitated or restless feelings
- Panic attacks
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Aggressive, angry, or violent behavior
- Acting on dangerous impulses
- Extreme increased activity of talking (mania)
- Other unusual behavior or mood changes
It is not known if Briviact will harm the unborn baby so inform your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking it.
Briviact may cause drowsiness, tiredness, dizziness, and problems with your balance and coordination so it is important for you to not drive or operate heavy machinery until you are sure about these effects.
About Pharmacogenetic Testing
Briviact is primarily metabolized by the polymorphism CYP2C19 in the body. Individuals possessing genetic variations in CYP2C19, who are known as “CYP2C19 Poor Metabolizers”, can have 22% to 42% higher blood levels of Briviact compared to individuals with normal CYP2C19 activity and hence may require dose reduction. For this reason, pharmacogenetic testing to determine such individuals can potentially provide valuable information to the healthcare provider to optimize Briviact treatment.
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With your new knowledge of how your genes respond to medications, your prescriber and pharmacist will work together to create the best treatment plan for you. A treatment plan with Rxight® will prevent adverse drug reactions, provide the optimal dosage, take away any medicines that are harmful, and apply the right medications for present and future treatments.
Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry
Read more about Rxight® DNA Testing for Medications