If you have partial-onset seizures, your doctor may recommend Briviact. It’s a prescription drug used in adults and some children to help their seizures.

Partial-onset seizures affect only one part of the brain. So symptoms can vary depending on which part of your brain is affected. To learn about possible symptoms of partial-onset seizures, see “What is Briviact used for?” below.

Briviact basics

The active ingredient in Briviact is brivaracetam. At this time, you can only get Briviact in the brand-name form. It’s not yet available as a generic drug.

Briviact belongs to a group of drugs called anticonvulsants.

Briviact comes as tablets and a liquid solution, either of which are taken by mouth. It’s also available as a liquid solution that can be given as an intravenous (IV) infusion. (This is an injection into your vein given over time.)

Read on to learn more about side effects, dosage, and more for this medication.

Like most drugs, Briviact may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Briviact may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you have
  • other medications you take

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Briviact. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Briviact can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Briviact’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects of Briviact that have been reported include:

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Briviact can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Briviact, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Briviact that have been reported include:

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Side effect focus

Learn more about some of the side effects Briviact may cause.

Nausea and vomiting

You may experience nausea and vomiting while you’re taking Briviact. Nausea and vomiting were common side effects reported by people taking this medication in studies.

What might help

If you experience nausea and vomiting, talk with your doctor about ways to reduce these side effects. They may recommend taking your dose of Briviact with food to reduce stomach upset. They may also recommend taking other medications with Briviact to reduce nausea and vomiting.

Feeling sleepy

Briviact may make you feel sleepier than usual, and can cause you to feel very tired. Sleepiness was a common side effect reported in studies of people taking Briviact.

The higher your dose of Briviact, the more likely it is to make you sleepy. This side effect can happen at any time. But sleepiness is most likely when you first start Briviact. You should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this drug affects you.

What might help

If you get very sleepy from Briviact, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to reduce this side effect.

Changes in mental health

Briviact can cause changes in mental health, such as:

Changes in mental health are common with Briviact and some can be serious. In rare cases, people taking Briviact may experience suicidal thoughts or actions. It’s very important to tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your mental health.

What might help

In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you take a medication to improve your mood. Other times, they may recommend that you speak with a therapist about your mental health.

If you have serious mental health changes, your doctor may recommend that you stop taking Briviact. In this case, they’ll likely recommend a different medication to treat your partial-onset seizures.

Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes to your mental health. Briviact can sometimes cause these side effects to occur, and it’s best to treat them as quickly as possible.

SUICIDE PREVENTION

If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Briviact.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Briviact. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Find answers to some common questions about Briviact.

What should I know about Briviact’s alternatives, such as Keppra and Vimpat?

There are many different treatment options for partial-onset seizures besides Briviact, including:

  • levetiracetam (Keppra)
  • lacosamide (Vimpat)

While they’re all seizure medications, they work in different ways to prevent seizures.

Both Vimpat and Briviact are controlled substances, due to the risk of misuse. (With misuse, a drug is taken in a way other than how it’s prescribed.) But Keppra isn’t a controlled substance. Certain rules are in place for prescribing controlled substances because of their risk for misuse.

The dosing and side effects for these medications may also differ. Also, you should not stop taking any of them without first talking with your doctor. Suddenly stopping a seizure medication can increase your risk of seizures.

If you have questions about Briviact compared with other seizure medications, such as Keppra or Vimpat, talk with your doctor. They’ll be able to recommend the best treatment option for you.

Does Briviact cause weight loss or weight gain?

No, Briviact is not known to cause changes in body weight. But sometimes your doctor may recommend you take Briviact along with other medications to help prevent seizures. And it’s possible for other seizure medications to cause changes in body weight.

For example, topiramate (Topamax) can cause weight loss. But divalproex (Depakote) can cause weight loss or weight gain.

If you gain or lose weight while taking this medication, talk with your doctor about possible causes. They may be able to recommend ways to minimize these changes.

How does Briviact work? What is its half-life?

Briviact’s mechanism of action (how it works), is not exactly known. It’s thought to bind to a protein in your brain, helping to stop partial-onset seizures from occurring.

This medication has a half-life of about 9 hours. This means that 9 hours after taking a dose of Briviact, half of the dose will be out of your system.

Is Briviact a benzodiazepine?

No, Briviact is not a benzodiazepine. Instead, Briviact belongs to a group of medications called anticonvulsants. It works by reducing the amount of abnormal electrical activity in your brain.

Benzodiazepines are a group of drugs that also work in your brain to treat conditions such as seizures and anxiety. But benzodiazepines work differently than Briviact. They also have different doses and side effects.

Will I have withdrawal symptoms if I stop taking Briviact?

It’s not likely that you’ll have withdrawal symptoms when stopping Briviact. Withdrawal was not reported in studies of people taking and then stopping this drug.

But you should not suddenly quit taking Briviact. Because this medication works to prevent seizures, stopping it suddenly may increase your risk of them occurring.

If you need to stop taking Briviact, talk with your doctor about the best way to do so. They’ll likely recommend slowly decreasing your dose so your body can adjust to the change. They may also recommend starting a different medication to manage your seizures.

Are there long-term side effects with Briviact?

It’s possible to experience long-term side effects from Briviact. But most side effects that may occur with this drug are short-term.

Some side effects, such as sleepiness and dizziness, may occur throughout your treatment with Briviact. But once you stop taking this medication, your side effects will likely go away.

If you have questions about specific side effects and how long they may last, talk with your doctor.

Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Briviact that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.

Forms and strengths

Briviact is available as both a tablet and a liquid solution that are taken by mouth. It’s also available as a liquid solution that can be given as an intravenous (IV) infusion at a doctor’s office. (This is an injection into your vein given over time.)

Briviact oral tablets come in strengths of:

  • 10 milligrams (mg)
  • 25 mg
  • 50 mg
  • 75 mg
  • 100 mg

Briviact oral liquid solution comes as 10 mg of drug per milliliter (mL) of liquid.

Briviact injectable solution comes as 50 mg of drug per 5 mL of liquid.

Recommended dosages

Before you start Briviact treatment, your doctor will recommend the best dosing schedule for you. Depending on how effective the medication is, they may eventually recommend dosing changes up to the maximum dosage.

Typically you’ll take a dose of Briviact tablets or liquid solution twice daily. But it’s possible your doctor may have you start with a certain dosage and then change it based on how the drug is working.

Briviact injections are only recommended for short-term use if the tablets or liquid solution can’t be used. Injections are also given twice daily at the same dosage as tablets or liquid solution.

Questions about Briviact’s dosage

  • What if I miss a dose of Briviact? If you miss your dose of Briviact, take it as soon as you remember. But, if it’s almost time for your next dose, it may be best to skip the missed dose. Never take two doses of Briviact at once to make up for a missed dose. If you have questions about when to take your next dose after missing a dose, call your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Will I need to use Briviact long term? Yes, in most cases Briviact is used as a long-term treatment to prevent partial-onset seizures.
  • How long does Briviact take to work? As soon as you take your first dose of Briviact, the medication begins to work in your body. But it may take time for you to notice a decrease in your number of seizures.

Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use. To find current prices for Briviact tablets (or other forms) in your area, visit GoodRx.com.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Briviact manufacturer’s website to see if they have support options.

You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.

Briviact is a seizure medication used to prevent partial-onset seizures. This is the only indication (use) that Briviact is prescribed for.

If you have seizures that occur more than one time, this may be referred to as epilepsy.

People with partial-onset seizures have symptoms such as:

  • unusual head or eye movements
  • muscle tightening
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there)

Partial-onset seizures affect only one part of the brain. So symptoms can vary depending on which part of your brain is affected.

How Briviact works isn’t exactly known. It’s thought to bind to a protein in your brain, helping to stop partial-onset seizures from occurring.

Briviact is approved for use in adults and children ages 1 month and older.

Before starting Briviact, be sure to talk with your doctor. Tell them about any other medications you take or other medical conditions you have. They’ll be able to help you determine if Briviact is safe for you.

Interactions

Taking a medication with certain vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the medication works. These effects are called interactions.

Before taking Briviact, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Briviact.

Interactions with drugs or supplements

Briviact can interact with several types of drugs, such as:

This list does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with Briviact. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these interactions and any others that may occur with use of Briviact.

Warnings

Briviact may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Briviact. Factors to consider include those shown below.

Mental health conditions. Briviact may cause a change in your mental health, such as depression or changes in mood. In some cases this can be serious, such as suicidal thoughts or actions. If you have or have had any mental health conditions, Briviact may worsen the condition. Talk with your doctor to determine if Briviact may be the best treatment option for you. In some cases, your doctor may recommend more frequent monitoring of your mental health. Other times, they may recommend a different treatment option for you.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Briviact or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Briviact. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Liver problems. If you have liver problems, talk with your doctor before starting Briviact. This medication is removed from your body through your liver. If you have liver problems, it’s possible for this drug to build up in your body. Your doctor will be able to determine if Briviact is a safe treatment option for you.

Briviact and alcohol

If you drink alcohol while you’re taking Briviact, you may experience more side effects from the medication. For example, Briviact can cause:

Alcohol can also cause these symptoms. So, drinking alcohol and taking Briviact may make these side effects worse.

Also, drinking alcohol while taking Briviact may cause other problems, such as difficulty with memory or attention.

Before taking Briviact, discuss drinking alcohol with your doctor. They may be able to recommend how much alcohol, if any, may be safe for you.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It isn’t known if Briviact is safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. There isn’t currently enough information on whether the drug is safe or what effects it may cause in these instances.

There’s a pregnancy registry available for antiepileptic (seizure) medications called the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry. The pregnancy registry is a collection of information taken by people who are pregnant while taking antiepileptic drugs. This collection can help determine if a drug may be safe to take during pregnancy or what effects it may cause. To learn more about the pregnancy registry, see its webpage or call 888-233-2334.

If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning either, talk with your doctor before starting Briviact.

Your doctor will explain how you should take Briviact. They’ll also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Taking Briviact

How you’ll take Briviact depends on the form your doctor prescribes. Read below for more information.

Taking Briviact tablets

If you’re taking Briviact tablets, you should swallow your dose whole, twice daily. Be sure to take the tablets with liquid, such as water.

Taking Briviact liquid solution

If you take Briviact liquid solution by mouth, use a measuring spoon or other device to measure your dose. You shouldn’t use a household spoon, as these often vary in size. If needed, Briviact solution can also be given through a tube in your nose or belly. If taken through one of these tubes, Briviact will also be given twice daily.

Be sure to throw away Briviact liquid solution within 5 months of first opening it. You should not take any Briviact solution that’s been open for 5 months or longer.

Receiving Briviact injections

If you’re receiving Briviact as an injection, your doctor will administer your dose to you. You’ll receive your dose through a vein, usually in your arm.

Briviact injections are usually only given short term, and they’re also given twice daily. Your doctor will likely transition you to tablets or liquid solution taken by mouth as soon as you can take Briviact by mouth.

Accessible medication containers and labels

If it’s hard for you to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies may provide medication labels that:

  • have large print
  • use braille
  • contain a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text into audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that offers these options if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

Also, if you’re having trouble opening your medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to put Briviact in an easy-open container. Your pharmacist may also recommend tools to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.

Taking Briviact with other drugs

Your doctor may recommend that you take Briviact alone to treat your partial-onset seizures. Or they may recommend taking Briviact with other seizure medications to treat your condition.

Examples of other seizure medications may include:

Before you start Briviact, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan for you. This will include whether you should take Briviact alone or with other medications.

Questions about taking Briviact

  • Can Briviact be chewed, crushed, or split? You should not chew, crush, or split Briviact tablets. These tablets should be taken whole. If you have trouble swallowing the Briviact tablet, this medication is also available as liquid solution that can be taken by mouth.
  • Should I take Briviact with food? You can take your dose of Briviact with or without food.
Questions for your doctor

You may have questions about Briviact and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.

Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:

  • Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
    • How will Briviact affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
  • If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.

Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.

Yes, it’s possible that Briviact may sometimes be misused. With misuse, a drug is taken in a way other than how it’s prescribed.

Briviact is a controlled substance, which means it’s a drug the government regulates. This is because Briviact may cause dependence* and this may lead to misuse. (With dependence, your body needs a drug to function normally.)

It’s also considered misuse if Briviact is taken by someone other than who it was prescribed for. This is why it’s important to store Briviact safely, as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist.

If you have questions or concerns about the risk of misusing Briviact, talk with your doctor.

Don’t take more Briviact than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:

What to do in case you take too much Briviact

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Briviact. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.

If you have partial-onset seizures, your doctor may recommend Briviact. It’s a prescription drug used in adults and some children to help their seizures.

Before you start taking Briviact, discuss your other medical conditions and any medications you take with your doctor. They’ll be able to help you determine if Briviact may be a safe treatment option for your partial-onset seizures.

Here are some questions you may wish to ask them:

  • How can I treat side effects from Briviact?
  • Am I at an increased risk of side effects due to my other medical conditions?
  • What should I do if I become pregnant while taking Briviact?
  • Can my dose be increased if Briviact doesn’t help me?

If you’d like to learn more about epilepsy and seizure treatment options, check out this article.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.