Serum concentrations of lamotrigine in epileptic patients: the influence of dose and comedication

Ther Drug Monit. 1996 Oct;18(5):523-31. doi: 10.1097/00007691-199610000-00001.


Lamotrigine (LTG) is a new antiepileptic drug (AED), chemically unrelated to the drugs in current use. Previous studies have shown that LTG has only a limited effect on other AEDs, but its own metabolism can be strongly induced or inhibited by the comedication. We investigated the influences of carbamazepine (CBZ), phenytoin (PHT), phenobarbital (PB), valproic acid (VPA), and combinations of these drugs on the serum concentration of LTG. A total of 588 blood samples from 302 patients were analyzed. The mean duration of LTG therapy was 141 +/- 137 days (mean +/- SD). A patient was only considered twice in this study if his or her comedication had been changed. The LTG serum concentration in relation to LTG dose/body weight (level-to-dose ratio, LDR, microgram/ml/mg/kg) was calculated and compared for different drug combinations. The results showed that comedication had a highly significant (p < 0.001) influence on the LTG serum concentrations. The mean LDR for LTG was 0.32 (LTG + PHT) < 0.52 (LTG + PB) approximately equal to 0.57 (LTG + CBZ) < 0.98 (LTG mono) approximately equal to 0.99 (LTG + VPA + PHT) < 1.67 (LTG + VPA + CBZ) approximately equal to 1.80 (LTG + VPA + PB) < 3.57 (LTG + VPA (<, p < 0.05; approximately equal to, p > 0.05, multiple comparisons). The mean LTG concentrations in patients on comedication with VPA were about two times higher than on patients on LTG monotherapy or on comedication without VPA (5.0 vs. 2.6 micrograms/ml), despite the LTG doses being half as high (3.0 vs. 5.9 mg/kg). The correlations of the serum concentrations and doses of CBZ, PB, PHT, and VPA with the LDR of LTG were only weak or not significant. Furthermore, the distribution of LTG serum concentrations and dosages was compared with the tentative therapeutic range for the LTG concentration (1-4 micrograms/ml), proposed by some investigators, and the recommendations for the LTG dosage. Remarkable discrepancies were observed. The comedication has an important influence on the LTG concentration and should be considered in LTG dosage.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage*
  • Anticonvulsants / blood*
  • Body Weight
  • Carbamazepine / administration & dosage
  • Carbamazepine / blood
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Epilepsy / blood*
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lamotrigine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenobarbital / administration & dosage
  • Phenobarbital / blood
  • Phenytoin / administration & dosage
  • Phenytoin / blood
  • Sex Factors
  • Triazines / administration & dosage*
  • Triazines / blood*
  • Valproic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Valproic Acid / blood


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Triazines
  • Carbamazepine
  • Valproic Acid
  • Phenytoin
  • Lamotrigine
  • Phenobarbital