Therapeutic drug monitoring of the newer antiepileptic drugs

Ther Drug Monit. 2003 Jun;25(3):347-63. doi: 10.1097/00007691-200306000-00016.


The aim of the present review is to discuss the potential value of therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) of the newer antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) felbamate, gabapentin, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, tiagabine, topiramate, vigabatrin, and zonisamide. Studies of the relationship between serum concentrations and clinical efficacy of these drugs are reviewed, and the potential value of TDM of the drugs is discussed based on their pharmacokinetic properties and mode of action. Analytical methods for the determination of the serum concentrations of these drugs are also briefly described. There are only some prospective data on the serum concentration-effect relationships, and few studies have been designed primarily to study these relationships. As TDM is not widely practiced for the newer AEDs, there are no generally accepted target ranges for any of these drugs, and for most a wide range in serum concentration is associated with clinical efficacy. Furthermore, a considerable overlap in drug concentrations related to toxicity and nonresponse is reported. Nevertheless, the current tentative target ranges for felbamate, gabapentin, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine (10-hydroxy-carbazepine metabolite), tiagabine, topiramate, vigabatrin, and zonisamide are 125 to 250 micromol/L, 70 to 120 micromol/L, 10 to 60 micromol/L, 35 to 120 micromol/L, 50 to 140 micomol/L, 50 to 250 nmol/L, 15 to 60 micromol/L, 6 to 278 micromol/L, and 45 to 180 micromol/L, respectively. Further systematic studies designed specifically to evaluate concentration-effect relationships of the new AEDs are urgently needed. Although routine monitoring in general cannot be recommended at present, measurements of some of the drugs is undoubtedly of help with individualization of treatment in selected cases in a particular clinical setting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / blood*
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Monitoring / methods*
  • Drug Monitoring / statistics & numerical data
  • Epilepsy / blood
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Humans


  • Anticonvulsants