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Medicine (Baltimore). 2014 Aug;93(7):e46. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000000046.

High phenobarbital clearance during continuous renal replacement therapy: a case report and pharmacokinetic analysis.

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  • 1Departments of Clinical Pharmacology (SR) and Anesthesia and Intensive Care (LS), and Neuropediatrics (KW), Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, SE-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden.


Phenobarbital is an old antiepileptic drug used in severe epilepsy. Despite this, little is written about the need for dose adjustments in renal replacement therapy. Most sources recommend a moderately increased dose guided by therapeutic drug monitoring.A 14 year old boy with nonketotic hyperglycinemia, a rare inborn error of metabolism, characterized by high levels of glycine, epilepsy, spasticity, and cognitive impairment, was admitted to the emergency department with respiratory failure after a few days of fever and cough. The boy was unconscious at admittance and had acute renal and hepatic failure.Due to the acute respiratory infection, hypoxic hepatic and renal failure occurred and the patient had a status epilepticus.The patient was intubated and mechanically ventilated. Continuous renal replacement therapy was initiated. Despite increased phenobarbital doses, therapeutic levels were not reached until the dose was increased to 500 mg twice daily. Therapeutic drug monitoring was performed in plasma and dialysate. Calculations revealed that phenobarbital was almost freely dialyzed.Correct dosing of drugs in patients on renal replacement therapy may need a multidisciplinary approach and guidance by therapeutic drug monitoring.

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