HUMAN & EXPERIMENTAL TOXICOLOGY, vol.31, no.10, pp.971-980, 2012 (SCI-Expanded)
The present study aimed at determining the differences in plasma concentrations of traditional antiepileptics such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, and valproic acid in patients receiving monotherapy and combination therapy. In addition, the effect of gender and age on plasma drug concentration was evaluated in these patients. For this purpose, plasma trough concentrations obtained during routine therapeutic monitoring of these drugs were assessed retrospectively. The average plasma concentrations reached the apparent therapeutic ranges, except for the average plasma concentration of phenytoin, which was below the therapeutic range in patients who received only phenytoin or in combination with the other agents. Phenytoin when combined with carbamazepine or valproic acid significantly decreased the average plasma concentrations of these drugs to subtherapeutic concentrations. The results showed that plasma carbamazepine concentrations were higher in men than in women, whereas plasma concentrations of valproic acid and phenytoin were higher in women than in men. The difference in this regard between men and women was found to be statistically significant for phenytoin. The difference between the average plasma concentrations of carbamazepine, phenytoin, and valproic acid among age groups was not significant. In conclusion, our study measured the average plasma antiepileptic drug concentrations in patients with epilepsy who were receiving monotherapy and combination therapy and were routinely monitored, and has thus shown the importance of drug monitoring in the evaluation of the effectiveness of these drugs.