Peculiar Case of Levetiracetam and Etiracetam α-Ketoglutaric Acid Cocrystals: Obtaining a Stable Conglomerate of Etiracetam

Fanny George, Bernadette Norberg, Koen Robeyns, Johan Wouters, Tom Leyssens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this contribution, we demonstrate that it is possible to obtain the lactol tautomer of alpha-ketoglutaric acid (AKGA) in the solid state by cocrystallizing it with Leviteracetam, a chiral nootropic drug used to treat epilepsy. In addition, we show that a cocrystal can be isolated with the racemic equivalent of Levetiracetam, Etiracetam (Eti), in which AKGA stays in the keto-form. We also report the existence of a cocrystal conglomerate in the Etiracetam-AKGA system, which is more stable than the racemic cocrystal at room temperature. The existence of a stable conglomerate is put in relation to the enantiospecificity of the Levetiracetam cocrystals, which is likely related to the ability of the Etiracetam enantiomers to stabilize one lactol tautomer at a time in solution or to promote its formation by hydrogen bonding. By comparing the peculiarities of the system in hand to the general behavior of cocrystallizing chiral systems with and without zwitterionic coformers, we suggest that for a pseudoquaternary cocrystal (made up of two racemate compounds) to exist the pseudoternary combinations (made up of one racemate and an enantiomer of the second compound) should exist and the enantiomers of the two compounds should form a diastereomeric pair at the binary level, rather than behave enantiospecifically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5273-5282
Number of pages10
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2016


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