I went in this week for my yearly well visit with my primary care doctor. I’ve been on Keppra (an anti-epileptic drug) since November of 2014. I was in for my yearly well visit in March of 2016. Yet it was just at this visit this past week that my doctor told me that she likes to do a yearly blood test on patients who are on anti-consultants. They can be hard on the liver or kidneys.
I don’t mind getting a blood test at all. She did a wide panel to run several tests. I had to fast for 12 hours before the blood draw. I was a little frustrated that nobody had bothered to tell me that I should have that test done yearly until after I was on medication for over 2.5 years. I have no reason to suspect that I’m having any problems with it, but I just like to be informed about possible problems. I also had just assumed that if there were any risks or anything that should be checked in on with Keppra that my neurologist would address it during those visits. I’ve seen my neurologist four times since my seizures in 2014, including my yearly visit just back in February. Yet she, nor anyone else had mentioned that a yearly blood test would be a good idea.
From a quick google search, I found that Keppra is filtered through the kidneys while some other anti-epileptic drugs are filtered through the liver. So depending on your medication you may be looking more at liver function than kidney. Either way, I wanted to post here because I know I get a decent amount of traffic to my posts about epilepsy. I thought others might be in a similar boat of not knowing that they should have their blood levels taken yearly. If you are on an anti-epileptic drug and haven’t had your blood levels taken I would recommend asking your doctor to see if it’s something that you should have tested.
Edit to add:
I have no idea how likely it is to really cause problems in the ‘average’ person, I didn’t think to ask that. I assume it’s probably pretty rare and that most people can take epilepsy medication without kidney or liver problems arising. But just that it happens often enough that my doctor thinks it needs checked yearly is often enough in my view that someone should have told me earlier. I try to take my health pretty seriously so if the standard of care is that I need a certain test once a year I want to make sure I get it once a year and I wasn’t able to do that because nobody told me about it for the first 2.5 years. That frustrates me.