Effect of felbamate on clobazam and its metabolite kinetics in patients with epilepsy

Manuela Contin, Roberto Riva, Fiorenzo Albani, Agostino Baruzzi

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The authors report preliminary findings on the effect of the new generation antiepileptic drug (AED) felbamate (FBM) on steady state plasma concentrations of clobazam (CLB), a benzodiazepine (frequently used as add-on therapy in patients with refractory epilepsy) and its active metabolite n- desmethyl-clobazam (N-CLB). The authors prospectively collected plasma samples from 66 children and adults with epilepsy receiving chronic CLB therapy. On the basis of concomitant AEDs, patients were divided into three subgroups otherwise comparable for age and weight-adjusted daily dose of CLB: group A (n = 22), receiving CLB monotherapy or CLB plus AEDs without inducing properties of cytochrome P450 (CYP) metabolism, namely valproic acid (VPA) or lamotrigine (LTG); group B (n = 28), receiving CLB plus AED inducer polytherapy (carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin), even associated with VPA (n = 9) or LTG (n = 12); group c (n = 16), receiving CLB plus FBM, associated with AED inducers, VPA or LTG. Level to weight-adjusted dose ratio (L/D) of CLB in groups B and C was twofold lower compared to group A (p <0.001). L/D of N-CLB was twofold higher in group B and fivefold in group C compared to group A (p <0.001). The metabolite-to-parent drug ratio shifted from a median value of 2.8 in group A to 13 in group B, and up to 29 in patients receiving polytherapy with FBM (p <0.001). These data confirm previous reports of a significant increase in CLB clearance in patients receiving AED inducers, leading to an accumulation of its main metabolite. They also provide novel evidence of a further marked increase in N-CLB plasma concentrations in patients receiving FBM cotherapy. From a clinical point of view, this finding should be kept in mind in explaining possible toxicity in patients on complex AED polytherapy. Furthermore, knowledge of the in vivo interaction between CLB and FBM could help in identifying the CYP isoforms involved in the metabolism of both CLB and N-CLB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-608
Number of pages5
JournalTherapeutic Drug Monitoring
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


  • Clobazam
  • Felbamate
  • Kinetic interaction
  • N-desmethyl-clobazam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pharmacology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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