The effect of the antiepileptic drug, levetiracetam, on rapid motor learning was tested in 10 healthy, right-handed volunteers (age, 22 to 43 years) by investigators from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, and Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. Maximum pinch force of the left thumb and index finger was determined by a pinch gauge, and the average pinch force of 5 trials was calculated before and after 30 minutes of practice at 0.5 Hz. Either 3000 mg of levetiracetam or placebo was administered 1 hour before the experiment. With placebo, pinch practice significantly increased pinch acceleration (152% +/-14%), but no increase was observed after levetiracetam (101%+/-14%). [1]

COMMENT. Levetiracetam, a suppressant of motor cortex excitability, may interfere with rapid motor learning when administered to normal volunteers in a single daily dose. Previous studies (cited by the authors) have shown that this adverse effect on practice-related motor cortex plasticity is not observed with the AED, lamotrigine, although it too suppresses motor cortex excitability. These results may not apply to patients receiving long-term AED therapy.

In a clinical study of the effectiveness of levetiracetam in partial epilepsies, patients who were older at the onset of seizures did better than those with younger onset (51 vs 27 years). Also, patients with temporal lobe seizures were better controlled than those with frontal lobe localization. [2]