Oxcarbazepine: Pharmacokinetic interactions and their clinical relevance

A. Baruzzi, F. Albani, R. Riva, F. Andermann, S. Schwabe, M. J. McLean, P. Lloyd, A. Baruzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antiepileptic drug (AED) interactions are a common problem during epilepsy treatment. Oxcarbazepine (OCBZ) is a keto homologue of carbamazepine (CBZ) with a completely different metabolic profile. In humans, the keto group is rapidly and quantitatively reduced to form a monohydroxy derivative (MHD), which is the main active agent during OCBZ therapy. MHD is eliminated by renal excretion, glucuronidation and, marginally, by hydroxylation to a diol derivative. This metabolic profile, and in particular the limited involvement of oxidative microsomal enzymes, suggests that OCBZ may have fewer drug interactions compared with traditional AEDs. This possibility has been investigated in experimental studies and, retrospectively, in data obtained from clinical trials. The capacity of OCBZ to induce microsomal enzymes of the P-450 family has mostly been examined by use of antipyrine and CBZ kinetics as markers. The results suggest that OCBZ has little enzyme inducing capacity. In clinical trials in which OCBZ was substituted for CBZ, plasma concentrations of concomitant AEDs were increased, possibly as a consequence of total or partial de-induction. OCBZ interference with other drugs has been evaluated for warfarin, felodipine, and oral contraceptives, three medications strongly influenced by enzyme-inducing AEDs. OCBZ does not modify the anticoagulant effect of warfarin, whereas some reduction in felodipine concentration and a clinically significant reduction of contraceptive drug levels and efficacy were observed. Polytherapy with established AEDs does not significantly modify OCBZ disposition (MHD kinetics); however available information is not extensive. Finally, the action on OCBZ kinetics of a group of drugs (verapamil, cimetidine, erythromycin, dextropropoxyphene, and viloxazine) known to inhibit the metabolism of some AEDs has been studied. None of the drugs caused kinetic modifications likely to be of clinical relevance. OCBZ has a favorable metabolic profile and fewer drug interactions compared with established AEDs. These findings should be confirmed by more clinical trials and use.

Original languageEnglish
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Drug interactions
  • Drug metabolism
  • Drug toxicity
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Pharmacokinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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