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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Taking levipil 500 along with encorate crono 200 for epilepsy. How long should I continue this medicine?

Answered by
Dr. Sudhir Kumar


Practicing since :1994

Answered : 5579 Questions

Posted on Mon, 17 Dec 2012 in Epilepsy
Question: QUESTION: Please refer to medical history. Decmax dosage will end in next 16 days (no problem here). But both Levipil 500 and Encorate Crono 200 seems to work on seizures/fits and they are advised for "2 years" at HCG (by the Radio Oncologist who did the RadioTherapy). Levipil 500 was prescribed by the Manipal surgeon - post surgery and HCG doctors do not want to change that. Do we need to continue both Levipil 500 and Encorate crono 200 together (what is the advantage really of using 2 medicines which seems to address the same issue of seizures/fits)? How long should these be continued? Can they be stopped in near future (if yes, any serious problems anticipated?) - and if they can be stopped should the dosage be reduced slowly?
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 53 minutes later

Thank you for posting your query.

I must congratulate you for asking a very relevant question.

Regarding the use of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), there are two basic rules:

1. Use a single drug as far as possible,

2. Use the lowest possible effective dose.

Regarding the use of AEDs in cases of brain tumors, most doctors may not use any AED till the person has had a fit. However, several doctors use AED to prevent the first fit.

In any case, single drug would suffice in her.

My preference would be levipil (levetiracetam). This is because it is very safe and does not have any significant interactions, when given along with other medications. Levipil may be required till there is a significant size tumor present in the brain.

Encorate chrono (valproate) can be stopped in her, as it is not required. Moreover, it is responsible for some side effects, especially menstrual irregularities. It can be abruptly stopped, as she is on a low dose.

I hope it helps. Please get back if you have any more queries.

Best wishes,
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology) XXXXXXX Consultant Neurologist
Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Sudhir Kumar 1 hour later
Thank you Doctor, your answer helps a big way. So I understand continuing 1-0-1 dosage of Levipil 500 is ok (and no need to reduce dosage of that further to something like 1-0-0 or 0-0-1)?

Another follow up question is - if you have seen the symptoms I have mentioned, one major one which is simply not going off (it started about 3 weeks back and has probably peaked off in last 2-3 days) - is the face swelling and bloating of the belly (similar tightness of skin noted both in face and belly). The onco-medical doctor suggested during the 1st week that the steroid (Decmax) is the cause and the face swelling is a typical "moon face syndrome" (the belly bloating was not present then, it has just come up in last 7-8 days) and that it will go off as the steroids are tapered off.

From 1-1-1 of Decmax 4 mg dosage we came down to 1-0-1 on 20th Nov for a week, then to 1-0-0 from 27th for another week (then 1-0-0 on alternate days for last 2 weeks starting 4th Dec). But we have not seen any improvements - in fact it has become more puffed up and the belly has also expanded in last 3-4 days.

Question: Is Levipil or Encorate Chrono has anything to do with this?
PanD which she was taking was stopped by Doctors on 21st - can this by any chance play any role (slight suspicion because PanD was supposed to be for gastric ailments I presume. But there is no passing of wind/gas - so wondering why the belly is bloated).
Is Decmax the only reason for this? If so, do we have to wait till it finishes its course (that will take another 2.5 weeks) or we can do something in the interim?

Thanks and regards

Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 12 minutes later

I am really amazed at your knowledge, khub bhalo!

Regarding your queries/clarifications:

1. She should take LEVIPIL 500 mg twice daily (morning and night). This is the lowest effective dose. In case she gets fits, it may be increased (to a maximum of 1500 mg twice daily).

2. The side effects are related to steroids, and would go off once the steroids (decmax) are completely stopped. There is no need to do someting in the interim. There is also no need to worry regarding that.

3. Sodium valproate (encorate) is not the cause of those side effects. In any case, we are going to stop that.

4. PAN D is also a safe drug, and is not the cause of those side effects.

I hope it helps. I would be pleased to answer if you have any more queries.

Best wishes,
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology)

(PS- My colleague at CMC Vellore, Dr XXXXXXX XXXXXXX is a neurologist at Manipal Hospital, Bangalore. In case of any emergency, you may get in touch with him.)
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Sudhir Kumar 25 minutes later
Dear Dr. XXXXXXX Please accept a heartfelt thanks from me and my wife, you have cleared all the clouds from our minds. I shall also get in touch with Dr. XXXXXXX at an opportune moment.

Thank you for your kind words, I don't have much knowledge, but I like to do studies and research on the topic and check out with authorities on the subject, like yourself, from time to time to clear my doubts. This is the most important thing in my life since the past 2.5 months now and I devote time in studying the disease, the treatments, and also alternate add-on treatment paths as well.

Thanks again, all my questions are answered as of now and I am proceeding to close the question as "answered" as per requirements of this website. But I would love to keep in touch with you in future.

thanks and regards
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 4 minutes later
Thank you for your insights, and I wish every family member (of a patient) is like you, so that the patients' life can improve (and our jobs that much easier and more enjoyable!).

I would be glad to keep in touch. My email is YYYY@YYYY

You may also go through my blog, where I try to write a few articles for patients and care givers ( WWW.WWWW.WW , as and when I get some free time!

Best wishes to your wife for speedy recovery,

Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology)
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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