Decision to fund levetiracetam injection for people experiencing seizures in the community

Medicines Decision

What we’re doing

We're pleased to announce a decision to fund levetiracetam injection in the community for people experiencing seizures. There will be no funding restrictions for levetiracetam injection.

This will reduce the need for acute hospital admissions for management of seizures and allow people to spend more time with their family and whānau at home.

Any changes to the original proposal?

This decision was subject to a consultation dated 17 April, which closed on 1 May 2024.

We would like to thank everybody who took the time to provide us with their feedback. All feedback was supportive of the proposal, and highlighted the benefit this would have for individuals experiencing seizures, their families, and the healthcare sector.

We have decided to list levetiracetam injection without any restrictions. This means everyone who may need it can access it readily. Our original proposal limited funded access to those experiencing seizures while receiving palliative care. We received a request for wider access outside of palliative care. Our clinical advisors told us there is a group of people who experience seizures outside of palliative care and would benefit from levetiracetam if their current treatment has not controlled their seizures. Therefore, we have decided to fund levetiracetam injection without restrictions.

This change removes a potential access barrier for people who require levetiracetam injection. More details of the feedback we received, and our responses, can be found at the end of this notification.

Who we think will be most interested

  • Family, whānau and friends of people experiencing seizures
  • Healthcare professionals involved in hospice and palliative care communities
  • Healthcare professionals involved in seizure management
  • Hospital and community pharmacists and Health New Zealand hospitals
  • Wholesalers and pharmaceutical suppliers

Detail about this decision

The following presentation of levetiracetam will be listed in Section B of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 July 2024 as follows (ex-manufacturer, excl. GST);




Pack size

Price and subsidy


Inj 100 mg per ml, 5 ml vial




Levetiracetam injection is approved for intravenous use for those experiencing seizures as an alternative for people when oral administration is not possible. A full list of approved indications can be found in the Medsafe datasheet linked below.

Medsafe datasheet for levetiracetam injection 100 mg per ml(external link)

Any other prescribing or use must follow section 25 of the Medicines Act 1981(external link).

Our response to what you told us

We’re really grateful for the time people took to respond to this consultation. All feedback we received was supportive of the proposal. A summary of the main themes raised in feedback and our responses to the feedback received are set out in the table below.


Pharmac Comment

Support for funding

All responses were supportive of funding levetiracetam injection in the community. Responses highlighted it would help preserve consciousness for people receiving palliative care.

This means people can spend more time awake with their families, whānau and friends.

A number of responses noted this would prevent people needing to go to hospital and reduce the time people stay in hospitals.

We acknowledge people’s support for this proposal. We are pleased to be able to increase funded access to a medicine for New Zealanders experiencing seizures.

Proposed endorsement

A respondent highlighted there would be potential benefit for people experiencing seizures outside of palliative care. Feedback highlighted levetiracetam injection is used for seizure control in status epilepticus, for some people who need another medicine after midazolam treatment.

Based on this feedback, levetiracetam injections will be funded without restriction. This will allow funded access to levetiracetam injections for any appropriate use. This could include emergency use in the community for status epilepticus.

Subcutaneous administration

A respondent expressed concerns around subcutaneous administration, as this would be an unapproved use. They considered there would be a need for structured guidelines and protocols to support the administration by specialists.

Levetiracetam is only approved for intravenous use for those experiencing seizures. The full detail of approved indications can be found on the Medsafe datasheet.

Levetiracetam will be funded for any appropriate use. Anyone prescribing medicines, including levetiracetam, should be prescribing within their scope of practice and should follow relevant legislation, clinical guidelines, and safety procedures.

We intend to share this feedback with the relevant groups who review and provide prescribing and safety guidelines.

Stock in community pharmacy

A respondent expressed that there should be either claimable wastage or whole pack dispensing, as stock would not be routinely held in pharmacies and would need to be ordered in on a case-by-case basis.

We have considered this feedback and have not applied claimable wastage or whole pack dispensing at this time.

Levetiracetam injection is supplied in a pack of 10 vials. Unopened vials of levetiracetam injection have a shelf-life of 24 months. We consider it likely that pharmacies would be able to dispense all vials in a pack prior to expiry. We intend to monitor this and could consider applying wastage in the future if pharmacies are not able to reasonably dispense all stock before expiry.

If you have any questions about this decision, you can email us at; or call our toll free number (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday) on 0800 660 050.