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Clin Pharmacokinet. 1996 Jul;31(1):29-46.

The clinical pharmacokinetics of the newer antiepileptic drugs. Focus on topiramate, zonisamide and tiagabine.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pavia, Italy.


Following the introduction of felbamate, gabapentin, lamotrigine, oxcarbazepine and vigabatrin in the early 1990s, other new antiepileptic drugs have been advancing in clinical development. Those most extensively evaluated to date include topiramate, zonisamide and tiagabine. Topiramate, licensed recently in the UK, acts multifactorially through the blockade of sodium channels and kainate/AMPA receptors, enhancement of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic transmission and inhibition of carbonic anhydrase. It is well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and negligibly bound to plasma proteins. When used as a monotherapy, topiramate is eliminated primarily in the urine in an unchanged form with a half-life of 20 to 30 hours; elimination is faster in patients receiving concurrent medication with enzyme-inducing anticonvulsants, in whom the extent of biotransformation becomes more prominent. Zonisamide, which has been commercially available in Japan for some years, also has a multifactorial mode of action, possibly involving the blockade of sodium channels, T-type calcium channels and inhibition of carbonic anhydrase. It is rapidly absorbed, 50% bound to plasma proteins and is eliminated predominantly by biotransformation; zonisamide has a half-life of 50 to 70 hours in monotherapy patients, or 25 to 35 hours in patients comedicated with enzyme-inducing anticonvulsants. Tiagabine, a nipecotic acid derivative which inhibits GABA reuptake, is rapidly and completely absorbed after oral intake. It is highly (96%) bound to plasma proteins and it is eliminated primarily by cytochrome P450 3A-mediated oxidation, with a half-life of about 7 hours in healthy volunteers. Tiagabine metabolism is also enhanced by concurrent medication with enzyme-inducing anticonvulsants, resulting in a need to use dosages larger than those required in monotherapy or valproic acid (sodium valproate)-treated patients. Additional investigational antiepileptic agents included in this article are rufinamide (CGP 33101), fosphenytoin, levetiracetam, losigamone, remacemide and stiripentol. All these drugs have undergone early characterisation with respect to pharmacokinetic features and interaction potential.

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