Plasma concentration of topiramate correlates with cerebrospinal fluid concentration

Ther Drug Monit. 2001 Oct;23(5):529-35. doi: 10.1097/00007691-200110000-00006.


The authors examined the ratio between the plasma and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentration of topiramate in 14 adults with epilepsy. Simultaneous trough samples of venous blood and CSF were collected and analyzed as total and unbound concentrations. Concomitant levels were also analyzed of lamotrigine (n = 5) and the relevant oxcarbazepine metabolite, 10-hydroxycarbazepine (n = 3). There was a close correlation between the plasma and the CSF concentration for both the total and unbound concentration of topiramate. The median CSF/plasma ratio of total topiramate was 0.85. The free topiramate concentration in plasma was not different from the free topiramate concentration in CSF. The CSF/plasma ratios showed little variation and were independent of the plasma level for both the total and the unbound levels. The unbound fraction of topiramate was 84% in plasma and 97% in CSF. The CSF concentrations of lamotrigine and 10-hydroxycarbazepine were 50% and 61% of the plasma concentrations, respectively. For topiramate, there is a close correlation between the plasma concentration and the CSF concentration. There does not seem to be a saturable carrier mechanism restricting topiramate transport across the blood-brain barrier. The concentration of topiramate in CSF is equal to the unbound proportion of topiramate in plasma, implying that the delivery of topiramate to the brain occurs via transfer from the unbound plasma pool. Plasma is thus a relevant matrix for therapeutic drug monitoring of topiramate.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / blood
  • Anticonvulsants / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Carbamazepine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Carbamazepine / blood
  • Carbamazepine / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Carbamazepine / metabolism
  • Carbamazepine / pharmacokinetics
  • Carbamazepine / therapeutic use
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fructose / analogs & derivatives*
  • Fructose / blood
  • Fructose / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Fructose / pharmacokinetics*
  • Fructose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lamotrigine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Prospective Studies
  • Topiramate
  • Triazines / blood
  • Triazines / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Triazines / pharmacokinetics
  • Triazines / therapeutic use


  • 10,11-dihydro-10-hydroxycarbamazepine
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Triazines
  • Topiramate
  • Fructose
  • Carbamazepine
  • Lamotrigine
  • Oxcarbazepine