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J Neurochem. 1993 Apr;60(4):1244-50.

Amino acid levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of newly diagnosed epileptic patients: effect of vigabatrin and carbamazepine monotherapies.

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Department of Neurology, University of Kuopio, Finland.


We studied the CSF amino acid levels of 42 patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy before treatment with antiepileptic medication and during monotherapy with either vigabatrin or carbamazepine. The present study shows that patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy have elevated levels of the excitatory amino acid glutamate in CSF. Vigabatrin monotherapy effectively prevents the appearance of seizures in patients with high baseline CSF glutamate levels. In these patients, vigabatrin not only elevates the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid, but also decreases the elevated levels of glutamate in CSF, which may also be important to the antiepileptic efficacy of vigabatrin. Patients with low CSF glutamate levels did not benefit from vigabatrin-induced changes in amino acid levels and successful monotherapy with carbamazepine did not affect CSF amino acid levels. The elevation of gamma-aminobutyric acid is thus not the only way to achieve seizure control and there are several factors underlying the generation and control of seizures. Follow-up of the patients with high baseline glutamate CSF levels will show if the observed abnormalities are related to the severity of epilepsy in individual patients and if early treatment with vigabatrin of these patients could prevent the development of intractable epilepsy.

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