Pharmacokinetic of antiepileptic drugs in patients with hepatic or renal impairment

Clin Pharmacokinet. 2014 Jan;53(1):29-49. doi: 10.1007/s40262-013-0107-0.


Many factors influence choice of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including efficacy of the drug for the indication (epilepsy, neuropathic pain, affective disorder, migraine), tolerability, and toxicity. The first-generation AEDs and some newer AEDs are predominately eliminated by hepatic metabolism. Other recent AEDs are eliminated by renal excretion of unchanged drug or a combination of hepatic metabolism and renal excretion. The effect of renal and hepatic disease on the dosing will depend on the fraction of the AED eliminated by hepatic and/or renal excretion, the metabolic isozymes involved, as well as the extent of protein binding, if therapeutic drug monitoring is used. For drugs that are eliminated by renal excretion, methods of estimating creatinine clearance can be used to determine dose adjustments. For drugs eliminated by hepatic metabolism, there are no specific markers of liver function that can be used to provide guidance in dosage adjustments. Based on studies with probe drugs, the hepatic metabolic enzymes are differentially affected depending on the cause and severity of hepatic disease, which can aid in predicting dose adjustment when clinical data are not available. Several AEDs are also associated with laboratory markers of mild hepatic dysfunction and, rarely, more severe hepatic injury. In contrast, the risk of renal injury from AEDs is generally low. In general, co-morbid hepatic or renal diseases influence the decision for the selection of an AED. For some patients dosing changes to their existing AEDs may be appropriate. For others, a change to another AED may be a better option.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism*
  • Liver Diseases / metabolism*


  • Anticonvulsants