Distribution of sodium valproate in normal whole blood and in blood from patients with renal or hepatic disease

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1985;28(4):447-52. doi: 10.1007/BF00544365.


Sodium valproate at a concentration of 300 mumol/l in whole blood, partitioned between the red blood cell and plasma to produce a red blood cell/plasma partition ratio of 0.20. Red blood cell uptake was proportional to percent free drug in plasma and uptake was maximal when plasma was replaced by buffer, producing a red blood cell/buffer ratio of 0.87. Reduction of plasma protein binding by plasma dilution, by increasing the total sodium valproate plasma concentration, or by renal or hepatic disease in 24 patients, caused a predictable rise in red blood cell uptake of drug. The red blood cell represented a relatively small compartment for free sodium valproate in blood, however uptake of the drug into this compartment increased considerably in states of reduced plasma protein binding. Because the concentration of drug in the red blood cell reflects free drug concentration in plasma, the red blood cell may serve as an indicator of free drug changes in blood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Liver Diseases / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Binding
  • Valproic Acid / blood*


  • Blood Proteins
  • Valproic Acid