Pharmacokinetic interactions with antiepileptic drugs

Author(s): Perucca E


A large number of pharmacokinetic interactions with antiepileptic drugs have been reported in recent years. Among the interactions affecting the disposition of anticonvulsants, the most important are probably those resulting in inhibition of the metabolism of phenytoin, phenobarbitone and carbamazepine. Drugs which have been shown to inhibit the metabolism of these anticonvulsants and to precipitate clinical signs of intoxication in epileptic patients include sulthiame, valproic acid, chloramphenicol, certain sulphonamides, phenylbutazone, isoniazid and propoxyphene. Interactions affecting the plasma protein binding of antiepileptic drugs are less likely to cause long-lasting alterations in response, but they are important because they change the relationship between serum drug concentrations and clinical effect. Anticonvulsant agents may induce important alterations in the pharmacokinetics of other drugs. Phenytoin and phenobarbitone may decrease the gastrointestinal absorption of frusemide and griseofulvin, respectively. Many of the drugs used in the treatment of the adult epilepsies, including phenytoin, phenobarbitone, primidone and carbamazepine, are potent inducers of the hepatic microsomal enzymes. This results in an increased rate of metabolism and decreased clinical efficacy of a number of drugs, including dicoumarol, steroid oral contraceptives, metyrapone, glucocorticoid agents, doxycycline, quinidine and vitamin D.

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