Keppra and Pregnancy
The FDA has classified Keppra as a pregnancy Category C medication, meaning the medicine may not be safe for use during pregnancy. Animal studies involving Keppra and pregnancy showed that the medication may increase the risk of miscarriages, low fetal weight, and birth defects. Therefore, if you are taking Keppra and pregnancy occurs, your healthcare provider will consider the benefits and risks before making a recommendation.
Is Keppra Safe During Pregnancy?Keppra® (levetiracetam) may not be safe for use during pregnancy. In animal studies that evaluated the effects of using Keppra during pregnancy, the drug caused various problems.
Keppra and Pregnancy Category CThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C is given to medications that have not been studied in pregnant humans, but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. Also, medications that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
Keppra was classified as a pregnancy Category C drug due to problems seen in animal studies. When given to pregnant rats, Keppra increased the risk of minor skeletal problems and slow growth (both before birth and after). In very high doses, Keppra also increased the risk of behavior problems and death in the newborn rats. When given to pregnant rabbits, Keppra increased the risk of miscarriages, low fetal weight, and birth defects.
However, it is important to note that animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. Therefore, a pregnancy Category C medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the pregnant woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child. Keppra may not be the best choice for pregnant women with epilepsy, as it is only intended for use in combination with other seizure medications. It is generally accepted that taking a single seizure medication (rather than two or more) is best for pregnant women.