Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2015 Apr;13(1):83-93. 10.9758/cpn.2015.13.1.83.

The Influence of Levetiracetam in Cognitive Performance in Healthy Individuals: Neuropsychological, Behavioral and Electrophysiological Approach

  • 1Brain Mapping and Sensory Motor Integration, Institute of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IPUB/UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 2Bioscience Department (EEFD/UFRJ), School of Physical Education, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 3Biomedical Engineering Program, COPPE, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 4Institute of Applied Neuroscience (INA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 5Brain Mapping and Plasticity Laboratory, Federal University of Piaui, Teresina, Brazil.
  • 6Laboratory of Psychophysiology, Faculdade da Saude, UMESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • 7Veiga de Almeida University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 8Movement Disorders and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Unit, Hospital General Dr. Manuel Gea Gonzalez, Mexico D.F., Mexico.
  • 9Neurology Department, Hospital General Ajusco Medio, Mexico D.F., Mexico.


The present study sought to analyze the influence of Levetiracetam (LEV) in cognitive performance by identifying the changes produced by LEV in reaction time, in neuropsychological assessment of attention and memory and in absolute theta power in frontal activity.
Twelve healthy subjects (5 men and 7 women; mean age, 30.08 years, standard deviation, 4.71) were recruited for this study. The neuropsychological tests: Trail Making Test (A and B), Digit Span (direct and indirect numerical orders/working memory); Stroop test (inhibitory control of attention); Tower of London (planning and decision-making) and a quantitative electroencephalography were applied in 2 different days after and before the participants ingested the capsule of placebo or 500 mg LEV.
A two-way-ANOVA was implemented to observe the interaction between conditions (placebo or LEV 500 mg) and moments (pre- and post-ingestion of LEV or placebo). The data were analyzed by the SPSS statistical package (p<0.05). For the neuropsychological parameter, the Trail Making Test (A) was the only test that showed significant difference for condition in the task execution time (p=0.026). Regarding the reaction time in the behavioral parameter, an interaction between both factors (p=0.034) was identified through a two-way-ANOVA (condition versus moment). Electrophysiological measures showed a significant interaction for electrodes: F7, F3, and FZ.
The findings showed that LEV promotes an important cognitive enhancement in the executive functions.


Levetiracetam; Neuropsychological tests; Reaction time; Electroencephalography; Absolute theta

MeSH Terms

Executive Function
Neuropsychological Tests
Reaction Time
Stroop Test
Trail Making Test
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