Methotrexate Elimination When Coadministered With Levetiracetam

Ann Pharmacother. 2016 Dec;50(12):1016-1022. doi: 10.1177/1060028016661572. Epub 2016 Aug 10.


Background: Delayed elimination of methotrexate was previously reported in 2 patients receiving concomitant levetiracetam.

Objective: To explore the potential interaction between methotrexate and levetiracetam in patients receiving high-dose methotrexate.

Methods: This retrospective study reviewed the records of 81 adults receiving 280 cycles of methotrexate to determine the effects of levetiracetam on methotrexate elimination. Institutional review board approval was obtained.

Results: Levetiracetam was administered in 33 (12%) cycles of methotrexate. Patients receiving levetiracetam had significantly lower 24-hour methotrexate concentrations compared with those not receiving levetiracetam (2.91 vs 7.37 µmol/L, P = 0.005). Despite this difference, concentrations at 48 and 72 hours were similar between groups. Times to nontoxic methotrexate concentration (<0.1 µmol/L) were the same regardless of the presence of levetiracetam. The frequency of delayed elimination at 24, 48, and 72 hours was similar in both groups as was the frequency of delayed elimination at any time point. Cox regression demonstrated that levetiracetam was not a significant predictor of time to nontoxic methotrexate concentration (P = 0.796; HR = 1.058; 95% CI = 0.692-1.617), and logistic regression demonstrated that levetiracetam was not a significant predictor of delayed elimination at any time point. Levetiracetam use was similar between groups when comparing patients experiencing delayed elimination at any time point with those without delayed elimination (13% vs 10%, respectively, P = 0.527).

Conclusion: This study does not support the previous reports of a significant interaction between levetiracetam and methotrexate. A clinically significant interaction is unlikely in those without additional risk factors for delayed elimination.

Keywords: drug interactions; drug monitoring; methotrexate; pharmacokinetics; seizures.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage*
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / blood
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levetiracetam
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Methotrexate / blood
  • Methotrexate / pharmacokinetics*
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Piracetam / administration & dosage
  • Piracetam / analogs & derivatives*
  • Piracetam / therapeutic use
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Levetiracetam
  • Methotrexate
  • Piracetam