Effect of Levetiracetam on Rapid Motor Learning in Humans | Epilepsy and Seizures | JAMA Neurology | JAMA Network
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Original Contribution
December 2002

Effect of Levetiracetam on Rapid Motor Learning in Humans

Author Affiliations

From the Human Motor Control Section (Drs Sohn, Jung, and Hallett) and Human Cortical Physiology Section (Dr Kaelin-Lang), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md; and Department of Neurology and Brain Research Institute, Yonsei University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea (Dr Sohn).

Arch Neurol. 2002;59(12):1909-1912. doi:10.1001/archneur.59.12.1909

Background  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.

Objective  To investigate whether levetiracetam alters rapid motor learning in humans.

Methods  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.

Results  After practice, pinch acceleration was significantly increased with placebo, but not with levetiracetam. All other measures showed no significant change.

Conclusion  Levetiracetam interferes with rapid motor learning; this is consistent with a negative influence on long-term potentiation.