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Seizures in palliative medicine: brivaracetam
  1. Katie Rebecca Bond1,
  2. Emily Rea1 and
  3. Charlotte Lawthom2,3
  1. 1 Palliative Care, Aneurin Bevan Health Board, Newport, UK
  2. 2 Neurology, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Newport, Newport, UK
  3. 3 Institute of Life Sciences, Swansea University, Swansea, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Katie Rebecca Bond, Palliative Care, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Newport NP18 3XQ, UK;{at}


Seizures occur in around 13% of patients with cancer and can be distressing for family members to witness. In those unable to manage regular antiepileptic medications, midazolam can be administered subcutaneously using a syringe driver, but this may cause sedation. Brivaracetam is a newer drug licensed as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of partial-onset seizures with or without secondary generalisation and for restricted use in those with refractory epilepsy. It is associated with fewer behavioural or psychiatric side effects than levetiracetam, has a very low incidence of drug interactions and the maximal dose can be accommodated in a single syringe driver. We present three cases from 2019 to 2020 where subcutaneous brivaracetam has been successfully used in a Specialist Inpatient Palliative Care setting to manage seizures. Brivaracetam dosing is 1:1 conversion from oral:subcutaneous, with syringe driver doses ranging from 150 mg to 300 mg/24 hours being successfully used, with no adverse effects observed.

  • hospice care
  • neurological conditions
  • seizures
  • drug administration

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  • Contributors KRB reviewed the patient notes, wrote the case studies and gained consent from family members. KRB also wrote the abstract and sections of the introduction and discussion. ER wrote large sections of the introduction and discussion, along with doing a literature search and referencing the article. KRB, ER and CL were all involved in reviewing and editing the article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.