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Clin Ther. 2004 Dec;26(12):2056-65.

Effect of zonisamide on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a combination ethinyl estradiol-norethindrone oral contraceptive in healthy women.

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  • 1Elan Pharmaceuticals Inc., 7475 Lusk Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.



Several antiepileptic drugs have clinically significant pharmacokinetic interactions with oral contraceptives (OCs) that may result in contraceptive failure.


The aim of this study was to assess the effect of zonisamide on the pharmacokinetics of the individual components of a combination OC (ethinyl estradiol [EE] 0.035 mg and norethindrone [NOR] 1 mg) and on pharmacodynamic variables that may be increased in the event of reduced contraceptive efficacy (concentrations of serum luteinizing hormone [LH], follicle-stimulating hormone [FSH], and progesterone).


This was a single-center, open-label, 1-sequence, crossover study. Healthy, premenopausal women received the combination OC for three 28-day cycles (combination OC for 21 days, followed by placebo for 7 days). Following stabilization on the OC during the first cycle, blood was collected during cycle 2 for the determination of serum EE and NOR profiles (day 14) and serum LH, FSH, and progesterone concentrations (days 13-15). Starting on day 15 of cycle 2, zonisamide was administered orally at 100 mg/d and titrated to a target dose of 400 mg/d. EE and NOR profiles and serum LH, FSH, and progesterone concentrations were obtained again in cycle 3 (in the presence of zonisamide) and compared with those from cycle 2 (in the absence of zonisamide).


Thirty-seven healthy premenopausal women (mean age, 26.1 years [range, 18-51 years]; mean body weight, 65.5 kg [range, 50.4-93.1 kg]; mean height, 165.8 cm [range, 152.4-182.9 cm]) received > or =1 dose of zonisamide. Of the 33 subjects (89.2%) who completed the study, 26 (78.8%) underwent titration to a stable zonisamide dose of 400 mg/d. For EE, the mean (SD) AUC over a 24-hour dosing interval (AUC(tau)) was 1139 (317) pg.h/mL in cycle 2 and 1143 (312) pg.h/mL in cycle 3; the mean C(max) in the respective cycles was 133 (39) and 141 (46) pg/mL. For NOR, the corresponding values were 140 (48) and 159 (46) ng.h/mL for AUC(tau) and 21 (5.4) and 23 (6.7) ng/mL for C(max). The 90% Cls for the geometric mean ratios (cycle 3:cycle 2) for AUC(tau) and C(max) fell within the accepted range for lack of interaction (0.80-1.25). There were no increases in LH, FSH, or progesterone concentrations between cycle 2 and cycle 3.


In these healthy volunteers, steady-state zonisamide dosing had no clinically significant effect on the pharmacokinetics of EE or NOR. There was no pharmacodynamic evidence that zonisamide is likely to reduce the contraceptive effectiveness of OCs containing EE and NOR.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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