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Aust N Z J Med. 1987 Dec;17(6):574-9.

Plasma concentrations of unbound valproate and the management of epilepsy.

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Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, VIC.


The range of protein binding of valproate and the use of unbound and total plasma concentrations of the drug were studied in an outpatient population of 70 epileptics. The unbound fraction of plasma valproate ranged from 4.2% to 11.7% with a median of 7.1%. A non-linear relationship was found between unbound and total plasma valproate concentrations and was best described by a cubic regression (r2 = 0.88). This concentration dependent protein binding was also demonstrated by a linear relationship between total plasma valproate concentration and unbound fraction (r = 0.46). As expected, there was no correlation across the patient population between plasma concentrations of valproate and seizure frequency. In an individual patient, however, plasma valproate levels usually correlated with change in clinical status, although this correlation was no better for unbound levels than total levels. There were only three patients in whom unbound valproate levels correlated better with clinical effect than total levels, whereas there were six patients in whom total levels correlated better than unbound levels. It is therefore concluded that monitoring sodium valproate therapy with unbound concentrations is rarely helpful and the routine use of unbound valproate levels cannot be advocated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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