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Epilepsy Res. 1999 Apr;34(2-3):161-8.

Blood and cerebrospinal fluid pharmacokinetics of the novel anticonvulsant levetiracetam (ucb L059) in the rat.

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  • 1University Department of Clinical Neurology, Institute of Neurology, London, UK.


The temporal pharmacokinetic interrelationship of levetiracetam in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was studied after acute intraperitoneal administration of levetiracetam (20, 40 and 80 mg/kg), using an animal model that permits concurrent blood and CSF sampling in freely moving rats. After administration, levetiracetam rapidly appeared in both serum (time to maximum concentration (Tmax) mean range 0.25 0.50 h) and CSF (Tmax mean range 1.33-1.92 h), suggesting ready penetration of the blood brain barrier. Both serum and CSF levetiracetam concentrations rose essentially linearly and dose-dependently, suggesting that transport across the blood-brain barrier is not rate limiting over the levetiracetam concentration range observed in the present study. However, while apparent elimination half-life (t1/2) values for both serum and CSF were dose-independent (mean value range 1.8-2.8 and 4.4-4.9 h, respectively), t1/2 values for CSF were significantly larger. As the serum free/total serum levetiracetam concentration ratio (free fraction) was 1.01+/-0.02 (mean+/-S.E.M.), it can be concluded that levetiracetam is not protein bound. Furthermore, the free fraction was indistinguishable from that of the CSF/serum levetiracetam concentration ratio at equilibrium. It can be concluded that the kinetics of levetiracetam, in the rat, is simple and, thus, dosing strategies in studies designed to elucidate its mechanism of action should be straightforward.

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