The effects of antiepileptic drugs on serum zinc and copper levels in children

J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 1995;6(3-4):265-9. doi: 10.1515/jbcpp.1995.6.3-4.265.


The results of previous studies that examined serum trace metal status of epileptic patients receiving antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy were variable. We measured serum zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) levels in 52 epileptic children who were treated with either carbamazepine (CBZ) or valproic acid (VPA) or with a combination of CBZ and VPA. Serum Zn levels were significantly lower in the epileptics than in the two control groups which consisted of 7 untreated epileptics and 12 normal children (p < 0.05). Combination therapy and monotherapy with CBZ increased serum Cu levels (p < 0.05). No significant alteration in serum Cu levels was observed with VPA monotherapy. Serum Zn and serum Cu concentrations of the untreated epileptics were not significantly different from those of normal controls. Our results indicate that serum trace metal homeostasis may be affected by AED therapy, but not by the convulsive disorder itself.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage*
  • Carbamazepine / administration & dosage*
  • Carbamazepine / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Copper / blood*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Epilepsy / blood
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Valproic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Valproic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Zinc / blood*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Carbamazepine
  • Valproic Acid
  • Copper
  • Zinc