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A quantitative gas-liquid chromatographic method for the simultaneous determination of phenobarbital, primidone and diphenylhydantoin in human serum is described. A double extraction is employed to improve the removal of interfering substances. The N,N-dimethyl derivatives of the compounds are prepared by "oncolumn" methylation with 50% Methelute. Decomposition of phenobarbital to N-methyl-a-phenylbutyramide was negligible if the contact time with Methelute was less than 10 min. The drugs were stable in serum for at least two weeks. This procedure provides a rapid, sensitive, selective and accurate method for the routine determination of serum concentrations of three of the most commonly prescribed anticonvulsant drugs.
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N-Desmethylmethsuximide (NDM), the active metabolite of the antiepileptic agent methsuximide, has been analyzed by gas-liquid chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) in the past. This study compares methods using two commercially available immunoassays for ethosuximide, the enzyme multiplied immunoassay technique (EMIT) and fluorescence polarization immunoassay (FPIA), with an HPLC method for the measurement of NDM concentrations in serum. Within-day precision studies, utilizing low therapeutic (15.0 mg/L) and toxic (45.0 mg/L) NDM concentrations (n = 20), resulted in coefficients of variation (CVs) of 4.6 and 4.2%, respectively, for EMIT and 5.4 and 3.2%, respectively, for FPIA. Day-to-day precision studies (n = 10) resulted in CVs of 7.6 and 5.5%, respectively, for EMIT and 3.5 and 2.4%, respectively, for FPIA. No interference was observed from toxic concentrations of acetaminophen, caffeine, carbamazepine, methsuximide, phenobarbital, phensuximide, phenytoin, primidone, salicylate, and valproic acid in the EMIT and FPIA procedures. There was good linear correlation between EMIT and HPLC NDM determinations of 50 patient samples (r = 0.970; y = 0.96 x + 0.03), and a similar correlation between FPIA and HPLC NDM determinations in 48 patient samples (r = 0.975; y = 0.91 x + 1.24). Using ethosuximide reagents, both EMIT and FPIA systems can be adapted to reliably measure NDM serum concentrations.
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Using a newly developed microdialysis probe which allows continuous monitoring of drugs in blood, we have studied the pharmacokinetics of various antiepileptic drugs (carbamazepine, and its primary metabolite carbamazepine-epoxide, phenytoin primidone and phenobarbitone) in 5 patients (2 male, 3 female, aged 40-50 years) with intractable epilepsy. It was observed that microdialysate pharmacokinetic profiles were comparable to those obtained by direct blood sampling. Furthermore, patients found the microdialysis probe highly acceptable and desirable and indeed preferable to that of blood sampling.
The variety of drug induced patterns of pathological eye movements is reviewed with emphasis on hydantoins, barbiturates, carbamazepine, benzodiazepines, amitriptyline and alcohol. These different substances may be analogous or distinct in their site of action within the labyrinths, brain stem and cerebellum. Ocular oscillations are described in correlation to drug uptake or serum levels such as positional, downbeat, gaze evoked, periodic alternating nystagmus as well as saccadic pursuit, slowing down of saccades, alteration of VOR gain or suppression by fixation, internuclear and complete ophthalmoplegia. Most of the ocular motor disturbances are possibly due to a pharmacologically induced transient dysfunction of the vestibulo-cerebellar flocculus loop.
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A 20-year-old woman with known Kearns-Sayre syndrome was transferred to the emergency department due to syncopal episodes. The electrocardiogram on admission showed complete atrioventricular block. The diagnosis of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy was made when she was 14 years old. At the time of the initial diagnosis, she displayed a normal electrocardiogram pattern. At the age of 17, electrocardiogram recordings demonstrated right bundle branch block with left anterior fascicular block and a prolonged QTc interval of 485 milliseconds (Figure). She was taking coenzyme Q10, oral nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (reduced), piribedil, amantadine, and primidone. Transthoracic echocardiography revealed normal wall motion of both ventricles and mitral valve prolapse without regurgitation. A permanent dual-chamber pacemaker was immediately implanted.
Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder and has an unknown etiology. Here we report that gamma-aminobutyric acidA (GABA(A)) receptor alpha1-/- mice exhibit postural and kinetic tremor and motor incoordination that is characteristic of essential tremor disease. We tested mice with essential-like tremor using current drug therapies that alleviate symptoms in essential tremor patients (primidone, propranolol, and gabapentin) and several candidates hypothesized to reduce tremor, including ethanol; the noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist MK-801; the adenosine A1 receptor agonist 2-chloro-N6-cyclopentyladenosine (CCPA); the GABA(A) receptor modulators diazepam, allopregnanolone, and Ro15-4513; and the L-type Ca2+ channel antagonist nitrendipine. Primidone, propranolol, and gabapentin reduced the amplitude (power) of the pathologic tremor. Nonsedative doses of ethanol eliminated tremor in mice. Diazepam, allopregnanolone, Ro15-4513, and nitrendipine had no effect or enhanced tremor, whereas MK-801 and CCPA reduced tremor. To understand the etiology of tremor in these mice, we studied the electrophysiological properties of cerebellar Purkinje cells. Cerebellar Purkinje cells in GABA(A) receptor alpha1-/- mice exhibited a profound loss of all responses to synaptic or exogenous GABA, but no differences in abundance, gross morphology, or spontaneous synaptic activity were observed. This genetic animal model elucidates a mechanism of GABAergic dysfunction in the major motor pathway and potential targets for pharmacotherapy of essential tremor.
A total of 84 reports of SJS and 80 of TEN related to 9 antiepileptic drugs were studied. Reports were mainly associated with phenytoin (SJS: 28; TEN: 43), lamotrigine (SJS: 37; TEN: 20) and carbamazepine (SJS: 14; TEN: 16). Other antiepileptic drugs involved were: valproate, phenobarbital, oxcarbazepine, levetiracetam, primidone and gabapentin. Patients were of a median age of 40 [1-87] and 57.3% of them were women. Cases related to phenytoin were more common in older men and to lamotrigine in younger women. The latency period of SJS and TEN did not exceed the first month of treatment and, in most of the analysed reports, the outcome was recovery.
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In a retrospective study the results of therapy in 60 children with so-called benign partial epilepsies are reported. It has been shown that the assessment of the therapeutic effect has to include the EEG, especially in epilepsies with atypical course. Carbamazepine has no effect on the EEG, in epilepsies with atypical course (atypical benign partial epilepsy, Landau-Kleffner syndrome, epilepsy with continuous spikes and waves during slow sleep [CSWS]) carbamazepine usually has no effect either on the seizures or on the EEG, on the contrary, in some cases both may even get worse. In our experience, the drug of choice in all types of benign childhood epilepsy is sulthiame, if necessary in combination with clobazam. Other drugs previously administered, including carbamazepine, should be dropped quickly. If the treatment with sulthiame or sulthiame/clobazam in children with atypical course is not effective, ACTH-therapy should be considered as soon as possible. These results should be confirmed in a prospective randomized study.
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Both seizures and antiepileptic drugs may induce disturbances in hormonal system. Regarding endocrine effects of anticonvulsants, an interaction of these drugs with gonadal, thyroid, and adrenal axis deserves attention. Since majority of antiepileptic drugs block voltage dependent sodium and calcium channels, enhance GABAergic transmission and/or antagonize glutamate receptors, one may expect that similar neurochemical mechanisms are engaged in the interaction of these drugs with synthesis of hypothalamic neurohormones such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH). Moreover some antiepileptic drugs may affect hormone metabolism via inhibiting or stimulating cytochrome P-450 iso-enzymes. An influence of antiepileptic drugs on hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis appears to be sex-dependent. In males, valproate decreased follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) but elevated dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) concentrations. Carbamazepine decreased testosterone/sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) ratio, whereas its active metabolite--oxcarbazepine--had no effect on androgens. In females, valproate decreased FSH-stimulated estradiol release and enhanced testosterone level. On the other hand, carbamazepine decreased testosterone level but enhanced SHBG concentration. It has been reported that carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine or joined administration of carbamazepine and valproate decrease thyroxine (T4) level in patients with no effect on thyrotropin (TSH). While valproate itself has no effect on T4, phenytoin, phenobarbital and primidone, as metabolic enzyme inducers, can decrease the level of free and bound thyroxine. On the other hand, new antiepileptics such as levetiracetam, tiagabine, vigabatrine or lamotrigine had no effect on thyroid hormones. With respect to hormonal regulation of metabolic processes, valproate was reported to enhance leptin and insulin blood level and increased body weight, whereas topiramate showed an opposite effect. In contrast to thyroid and gonadal hormones, only a few data concern antiepileptic drug action in HPA axis. To this end, no effect of antiepileptic drugs on adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)/cortisol circadian rhytmicity was found. Valproate decreased CRH release in rats, whereas lamotrigine stabilized ACTH/cortisol secretion. Moreover, felbamate was found to inhibit stress-induced corticosterone release in mice. Interestingly, recent data suggest that felbamat and some other new antiepileptic drugs may inhibit transcriptional activity of glucocorticoid receptors. Summing up, the above data suggest that traditional antiepileptic drugs may cause endocrine disturbances, especially in gonadal hormones.
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In two children treated for hypoglycemia and convulsions with diazoxide and diphenylhydantoin, therapeutic serum diphenylhydantoin levels were not achieved despite doses of diphenylhydantoin of 17 and 29 mg/kg/day, respectively. After diazoxide was discontinued, serum diphenylhydantoin levels were within the therapeutic range in each patient with doses of 6.6 and 10 mg/kg/day, respectively. Serum diphenylhydantoin fell to undetectable levels within four days after experimental reinitiation of diazoxide administration in one patient. Although the mechanism for the effect of diazoxide on serum concentrations of diphenylhydantoin is uncertain, an increased rate of metabolism of diphenylhydantoin is suggested by our findings. Decreased plasma protein binding of diphenylhydantoin, induced by diazoxide, was observed and may play a role.
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Many methodologies have been developed for determining anticonvulsant drug levels in human serum. Unfortunately, most procedures are either time consuming or subject to a variety of interferring substances. The "Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Technique" (EMIT) system has been evaluated for its speed, sensitivity, accuracy, and precision. When compared with a gas-liquid chromatographic procedure, the EMIT assay appeared to yield results which were statistically comparable for the drugs diphenylhydantoin, phenobarbital, and primidone. The EMIT assay also demonstrated no significant interference when challenged with extraordinarily high levels of potentially cross reacting drugs. Results obtained with the EMIT assay correlated well with GLC data and rank it as an attractive alternative to many of the existing procedures now being used.
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Four siblings have various congenital malformations attributable to the teratogenic effect of anticonvulsant drugs. Their mother has 23-year history of continuous medication for seizures. Since the malformations noted in her four offspring are more extensive and severe in each subsequent child, the question arises as to the possible cumulative effect of antiepileptic drugs in producing congenital malformations. The observations in this family strongly support the need to carefully evaluate all offspring of mothers receiving anticonvulsant drugs.
Concerning the antiepileptic drugs which alter thyroid hormone homeostasis, it is highly probable that the mechanism of induction of uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferases (UGT) is involved, at least partially, in such an alteration. However, it is not possible to estimate the relative contribution of the UGT induction by these drugs on the total alteration observed in thyroid hormone levels, as other mechanisms not investigated, or not examined in the present article, could contribute.
Plasma arginine vasopressin concentrations were determined by radio-immunoassay in 112 adult epileptics who were taking carbamazepine, phenytoin, primidone, or sodium valproate in long-term monotherapy, and in 19 controls. No significant difference was found between the groups, but some epileptics taking carbamazepine and primidone showed low values. Serum concentrations of carbamazepine did not correlate with the concentrations of plasma arginine vasopressin. In conclusion, there was no evidence of a stimulating effect of chronic carbamazepine medication or a special inhibiting effect of phenytoin on the release of vasopressin arginine from the posterior pituitary.
The effect of antiepileptic drugs on the EEG was studied in a review of 23 controlled trials with therapeutic drug monitoring and serial EEG observations. There is a good correlation of suppression of paroxysmal discharges and an increase in the plasma concentrations of diazepam, phenobarbital, phenytoin, alone or in combination with phenobarbital or primidone. The correlation is variable during treatment with carbamazepine and in patients with focal discharge receiving sodium valproate or a delayed response to sodium valproate treatment. An increase in beta activity is correlated with a raised plasma concentration of clonazepam, phenytoin and phenobarbital, but not in all patients receiving these drugs. The degree and the localization of cerebral impairment seem to influence the drug-induced fast EEG response. Slowing of background occurs with high plasma concentrations of diazepam, phenytoin, alone or in combination with phenobarbital or primidone. The correlation of paroxysmal discharges with clinical seizure frequency is good for phenobarbital, phenytoin, alone or in combination. The correlation is variable for carbamazepine and the delayed response to sodium valproate. A slowing of background activity is correlated with clinical drug toxicity due to carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital and primidone treatment in most patients.
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The accuracy and precision of methods for the measurement of the anticonvulsants phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, carbamazepine, ethosuximide, and valproate in human serum were assessed in 297 laboratories that were participants in the United Kingdom National External Quality Assessment Scheme (UKNEQAS).
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The importance of HLA-B*15:02 genotyping to avoid carbamazepine induced SJS/TEN and molecular modeling to predict the role of HLA-B*15:0 and AEDs induced SJS/TEN are investigated.
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Many antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) produce sexual impairments. Of commonly prescribed AEDs, primidone produces the greatest impairments. Here we examined the effects of primidone on male rat sexual behavior. Sexually-experienced male rats received administration of either vehicle or primidone. After baseline measures were obtained, the effects of daily primidone treatment on home cage sexual performance were assessed three times over the course of 14 days. Motor activity and sucrose preference were also assessed during this time period. Results indicate that primidone impaired copulation but not sexual motivation. Specifically, animals receiving primidone displayed fewer ejaculations, required more time to achieve an intromission, and displayed fewer intromissions per attempted mount as evidenced by a lower intromission ratio. However, animals treated with primidone also chose a goal box containing a sexually-receptive female in an x-maze as often as animals receiving vehicle. The lower intromission ratio suggests an inability to achieve intromissions perhaps as a result of impaired erectile function. Primidone did not affect motor activity or sucrose consumption, an additional measure of natural reward. Together, these data indicate that primidone impairs male sexual activity and suggest that these impairments result primarily from changes in erectile function and not changes to mechanisms mediating motivation.
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Using the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Compendium of Data Sheets and Summaries of Product Characteristics (SPC) 1998 and the Medicines Compendium 2002, licensed medicines available in the UK in the calendar years 1998 and 2002 were examined.
Propranolol and primidone are widely used, effective agents in essential tremor although they are not tolerated by all patients. In the present study, the effectiveness of alprazolam, a triazole analog of benzodiazapine class, and acetazolamide, a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, were investigated as symptomatic treatments for essential tremor. We studied 22 patients with essential tremor in a double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled design. The patients received in random order alprazolam, acetazolamide, primidone and placebo for four weeks, each separated by a two-week washout period. The study demonstrated that alprazolam was superior to placebo and equipotent to primidone, whereas there was no statistically significant difference between acetazolamide and placebo. The mean effective daily dose of alprazolam was 0.75 mg and there was not any troublesome side effect reported by the patients on alprazolam. Alprazolam can be used as an alternative agent in elderly essential tremor patients who can not tolerate primidone or propranolol.
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All outcome measures including ADL, FTRS, and NHPT of dominant and nondominant hands improved. The mean ADL changed from 51.8 at baseline to 36.8 after 12 weeks. FTRS was 14.8 at baseline, which reduced to 9.5 during this period. These changes were statistically significant. Although the time of the NHPT showed some improvement, it did not reach a statistically significant point after 6 weeks.The drug was well tolerated in all patients, and mild drowsiness reported by the patients disappeared at the end of the study.
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Essential tremor can cause significant functional disability in some patients. The arms are the most common body part affected and cause the most functional disability. The treatment of essential tremor includes medications, surgical options and other forms of therapy. Presently there is no cure for essential tremor nor are there any medications that can slow the progression of tremor. Treatment for essential tremor is recommended if the tremor causes functional disability. If the tremor is disabling only during periods of stress and anxiety, propranolol and benzodiazepines can be used during those periods when the tremor causes functional disability. The currently available medications can improve tremor in approximately 50% of the patients. If the tremor is disabling, treatment should be initiated with either primidone or propranolol. If either primidone or propranolol do not provide adequate control of the tremor, then the medications can be used in combination. If patients experience adverse effects with propranolol, occasionally other beta-adrenoceptor antagonists (such as atenolol or metoprolol) can be used. If primidone and propranolol do not provide adequate control of tremor, occasionally the use of benzodiazepines (such as clonazepam) can provide benefit. Other medications that may be helpful include gabapentin or topiramate. If a patient has disabling head or voice tremor, botulinum toxin injections into the muscles may provide relief from the tremor. Botulinum toxin in the hand muscles for hand tremor can result in bothersome hand weakness and is not widely used. There are other medications that have been tried in essential tremor and have questionable efficacy. These drugs include carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (e.g. methazolamide), phenobarbital, calcium channel antagonists (e.g. nimodipine), isoniazid, clonidine, clozapine and mirtazapine. If the patient still has disabling tremor after medication trials, surgical options are usually considered. Surgical options include thalamotomy and deep brain stimulation of the thalamus. These surgical options provide adequate tremor control in approximately 90% of the patients. Surgical morbidity and mortality for these procedures is low. Deep brain stimulation and thalamotomy have been shown to have comparable efficacy but fewer complications have been reported with deep brain stimulation. In patients undergoing bilateral procedures deep brain stimulation of the thalamus is the procedure of choice to avoid adverse effects seen with bilateral ablative procedures. The use of medication and/or surgery can provide adequate tremor control in the majority of the patients.
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For patients presenting predominantly or purely with tremor, the correct diagnosis of tremor-dominant Parkinson's disease (PD) versus essential tremor (ET) is very important for prognosis and effective therapy. ET tremor is usually characterized by symmetric bilateral postural and kinetic tremor, which may respond to low alcohol consumption. Many patients have a family history of ET tremors. Medical treatment with primidone or beta-blockers effectively controls ET tremor, but in many cases no treatment is needed at all. The typical tremor form of PD is an asymmetric rest tremor, which is treated with dopaminergic agents such as levodopa. Differential diagnosis of ET and PD may be difficult in a subset of PD patients who present with additional postural and kinetic tremor and in a minority of ET patients who show a clear asymmetry of their postural and kinetic tremor. In some patients with ET, the tremor can later become severe and even require treatment with deep brain stimulation.
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Reagents are now available for the measurement of a range of antiepileptic drugs by fluorescence polarisation immunoassay using the Roche Cobas Fara II analyser. Evaluation data are presented that demonstrate that these assays represent a convenient, cost-effective, and analytically reliable alternative to other commercially available systems for the measurement of drugs during therapeutic drug monitoring. The use of a general-purpose analyser, the opportunity to perform different drug assays simultaneously, and long calibration stability confer significant benefits on these methods. These are especially applicable for the laboratory that undertakes only small or moderate numbers of such investigations during therapeutic drug monitoring.
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Of 196 children with febrile convulsions, 6.9 were placed on phenobarbital, 4-5 mg/kg/day b.i.d., and 32 on primidone, 15-20 mg/kg/day b.i.d. The remaining 95 children were given sodium valproate; the dosage was 20-25 mg/kg/day b.i.d. in 38 of them, 20-25 mg/kg/day t.i.d. in 24 of them, and 30 mg/kg/day b.i.d. in 33 patients. Recurrence rate of febrile convulsions during one year were not statistically different among these five groups. However, the dosage regimen of valproate of 20-25 mg/kg/day b.i.d. was relatively inferior to the other regimens of valproate in the prophylactic effect. This may be explained by the facts that when the same daily dosage of sodium valproate was given, the daily fluctuation of plasma levels was greater with the b.i.d.-regimen than with the t.i.d.-regimen, and that when the dosage interval was the same, the minimum plasma level of the day was lower with the smaller daily dosage regimen than with the larger one.