Changes to your levetiracetam tablets-switching from branded to generic levetiracetam
What has changed?
In the past it was recommended that all antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) should be prescribed by brand name. This is because, for some AEDs, there is a chance that switching to a different manufacturer could cause loss of seizure control or could result in side effects. However, recent guidelines from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) state that it is not necessary to prescribe all AEDs by brand name – it depends on the particular medicine. For many AEDs it is quite safe to switch between different manufacturers of a particular drug.
What about levetiracetam?
The MHRA has advised that it is usually unnecessary to maintain patients on a specific brand and therefore we are recommending levetiracetam is prescribed generically for most patients.
Why switch to generic?
It is the Department of Health’s policy that medicines should be prescribed generically in all appropriate circumstances. The government ensures that generic medicines are made to the same high standard as branded medicines. They contain exactly the same drug and are as safe and effective as the branded product, but at a lesser cost to the health service. This helps us to make better use of limited health service resources.
Does the generic medicine look different to the brand?
A range of generic levetiracetam products are available and some may look different to the brand you are currently taking. If you have any queries please speak to your community pharmacist.
What does this mean for me?
Your prescriber will consider your own particular circumstances before deciding whether you are suitable for changing to generic levetiracetam. You will also have the opportunity to discuss the change with a doctor or pharmacist before deciding if you wish to try the generic.
Is there any experience of other patients being swiched in the past?
Yes, most patients in England are already on the generic version of levetiracetam.
Patient information leaflet produced by HSCB Pharmacy and Medicines Management Team