Experience of Subcutaneous Levetiracetam in Palliative Care

Mariana Gaviria-Carrillo, Laura Mora-Muñoz, Andres Felipe Diaz-Forero, Juliana Vargas-Osorio, Viviana Torres-Ballesteros, Jhonatan Estrada, Alberto Vélez Van Meerbeke, Jesús Hernán Rodríguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Seizures are common in palliative care patients and its control is essential in the management of these patients as it helps to reduce suffering at the end of life. Subcutaneous levetiracetam has been used off-license for seizure control in palliative care. Objective: The objective of the study was to describe our experience with subcutaneous levetiracetam in two hospitals in Bogota, Colombia. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of patients treated with subcutaneous levetiracetam in two hospitals in Colombia during 2019-2021. Data were extracted from medical records, and participants were followed up as outpatients. Results: Twenty-one patients were included into the study. No severe adverse effects or rise in ictal frequency were documented. Twelve patients died during hospitalization and nine continued treatments as outpatients. The principal diagnosis was structural focal epilepsy. The daily dose of levetiracetam ranged from 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg, and the duration of treatment varied among subjects between 1 and 360 days. Conclusion: Subcutaneous levetiracetam was well tolerated and effective in controlling seizures in palliative care when oral administration or intravenous access was not an option. Randomized controlled trials are needed to elucidate the efficacy and tolerability of subcutaneous levetiracetam in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-95
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Principles and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Epilepsy
  • Levetiracetam
  • Palliative care
  • Subcutaneous levetiracetam
  • Piracetam/therapeutic use
  • Seizures/drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Levetiracetam/therapeutic use
  • Anticonvulsants/therapeutic use


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