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Sohn YH, Jung HY, Kaelin-Lang A, Hallett M. Effect of Levetiracetam on Rapid Motor Learning in Humans. Arch Neurol. 2002;59(12):1909–1912. doi:10.1001/archneur.59.12.1909
The human motor cortex (M1) has a role in motor learning. Antiepileptic drugs that suppress M1 excitability may affect learning, presumably by inhibiting long-term potentiation. Levetiracetam, a new antiepileptic drug with a unique preclinical profile, also suppresses M1 excitability, but in a way that is different from other antiepileptic drugs. The effect of levetiracetam on motor learning has yet to be addressed.
To investigate whether levetiracetam alters rapid motor learning in humans.
We measured pinch force and acceleration and motor excitability before and after 30 minutes of pinch practice at 0.5 Hz in 10 healthy volunteers. Either 3000 mg of levetiracetam or placebo was administered 1 hour before the experiment.
After practice, pinch acceleration was significantly increased with placebo, but not with levetiracetam. All other measures showed no significant change.
Levetiracetam interferes with rapid motor learning; this is consistent with a negative influence on long-term potentiation.
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