for people ages up to 1 month (full criteria)
at San Diego, California and other locations
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Jeff J Gold, M.D. PhDMBBChir Richard H Haas



The main purpose of this study is to determine the maximum safe tolerated dose of LEV in the treatment of neonatal seizures. Our hypothesis is that optimal dosing of Levetiracetam (LEV) to treat neonatal seizures is significantly greater than 60mg/kg. This study will be an open label dose-escalation, preliminary safety and efficacy study. There will be a randomized control treatment component. Infants recognized as having neonatal seizures or as being at risk of developing seizures will be recruited and started on continuous video EEG monitoring (CEEG). Eligibility will be confirmed and consent will be obtained. In the first 2 phases of the study, neurologists will identify neonates with mild-moderate seizure burden (less than 8 minutes cumulative seizure activity per hour), appropriate for study with LEV, and exclude patients with higher seizure burden where treatment with PHB is more appropriate. Phase 3 of the dose escalation will only proceed if additional efficacy of LEV has been demonstrated in phases 1 and 2. In Phase 3 we will recruit neonates with seizures of greater severity up to 30 minute seizure burden/hour. This will make the final results of study more generalizable.

If seizures are confirmed, enrolled subjects will receive 60mg/kg of LEV. Subjects whose seizures persist or recur 15 minutes after the first infusion is complete, subjects will then be randomized in the dose escalation study. Patients in the dose escalation study will be randomly assigned to receive either higher dose LEV or treatment with the control drug PHB in a 3:1 allocation ratio, stratified by site.

Funding Source- FDA OOPD

Official Title

A Phase IIb Dose Escalation Study of Levetiracetam for the Treatment of Neonatal Seizures



Primary Aim: To determine the recommended maximal safe dose of LEV in the setting of neonatal seizures of mild to moderate severity.

If 60mg/kg LEV does not control seizures, subjects will be randomised to receive either additional LEV or PHB. LEV dose will be escalated in 30mg/kg increments to a maximal dose of 150mg/kg total loading dose. We will use a continual reassessment method to determine the maximal safe and tolerated dose.

Secondary/exploratory aims:

  • To study the pharmacokinetics of high dose LEV in neonates with seizures of mild to moderate severity.
  • To estimate the additional efficacy of higher doses of LEV in neonates with seizures of mild to moderate severity.
  • To improve technologies for the prompt detection of neonatal seizures: We will assess the latest version of Persyst's neonatal seizure detector.

Research Design

This is a Phase IIb, open label dose-escalation, preliminary safety and efficacy study. An active drug treatment control arm (PHB group) is included in the study design. This study is not designed or powered to compare high dose LEV and PHB groups, however, the randomized control group will help with interpretation of adverse events and seizure cessation efficacy seen in the high dose escalation group. This is particularly important because of the high rates of morbidity in neonates with seizures.

24-hour seizure control endpoint: cEEG reviewed by a neurophysiologist will be used for assessing 24-hour seizure control. Treatment will be considered effective in achieving 24-hour seizure control if there is a seizure burden less than 30 seconds in the 24 hours following the dose. Change in seizure burden in 2-hour post treatment period will also be assessed.

Intervention If seizure activity occurs participants will be enrolled and will receive 60mg/kg LEV.

If seizures continue babies will then be randomised to receive either:

  • Additional LEV at a higher dose (30 mg/kg, 60 mg/kg, or 90 mg/kg depending on the stage of the study), OR
  • PHB at 20-40 mg/kg. Maintenance treatment will continue for 5 days, either IV or orally if baby is tolerating feeds.

LEV discontinuation or addition of PHB: there are multiple criteria for transition to, or addition of, PHB treatment if required for seizure control.


Neonatal Seizure, Neonatal Encephalopathy, Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, Seizure Newborn, Seizures, Brain Diseases, Brain Ischemia, Brain Hypoxia-Ischemia, Levetiracetam, Phenobarbital, Levetiracetam Injection, Phenobarbital Sodium Injection


You can join if…

Open to people ages up to 1 month

  • at risk for seizures or suspected to be having seizures;
  • all seizure aetiologies except correctable metabolic abnormalities such as hypoglycaemia and hypocalcaemia;
  • Term neonates (corrected gestational age between 35 and 44 weeks, postnatal age less than 28 days);
  • weight > 2200g.
  • Parental ability to comprehend and provide written informed consent

You CAN'T join if...

  • Cumulative seizure burden of 8 minutes/ hour or more in phases 1 and 2, Cumulative seizure burden of 30 minutes/hour or more in phase 3;
  • Renal failure defined as anuria in the first 24 hours of life;
  • Subjects in whom death seems imminent;
  • Seizures caused by correctable metabolic abnormality, such as hypocalcaemia, hypoglycaemia.


  • University of California, San Diego accepting new patients
    San Diego California 92093 United States
  • University of Minnesota accepting new patients
    Minneapolis Minnesota 55455 United States
  • Auckland City Hospital accepting new patients
    Auckland 1023 New Zealand
  • Middlemore Hospital accepting new patients
    Auckland 1050 New Zealand

Lead Scientists at UCSD


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Diego
Phase 2 research study
Study Type
Expecting 133 study participants
Last Updated