Revised Winter-Tozer equation for normalized phenytoin concentrations in trauma and elderly patients with hypoalbuminemia

Ann Pharmacother. 1997 Mar;31(3):279-84. doi: 10.1177/106002809703100301.


Objective: To develop a revised equation reflecting the current practice of measuring unbound phenytoin at room temperature, and to evaluate the revised Winter-Tozer method of predicting normalized total phenytoin concentrations in two groups of patients with hypoalbuminemia-elderly nursing home patients and critically ill head trauma patients.

Design: Albumin, unbound phenytoin, and total phenytoin concentrations were obtained from two sources: prospectively from a group of elderly nursing home patients and by a retrospective chart review of trauma patients enrolled in a previous double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Setting: Community nursing homes; a university-affiliated urban teaching hospital.

Participants: Elderly nursing home patients (n = 46) taking chronic phenytoin therapy and patients enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study (n = 58) evaluating the use of phenytoin to prevent posttraumatic seizures.

Main outcome measures: Prediction error analysis was performed by using the methods proposed by Sheiner and Beal. Bias and precision were evaluated by calculating the mean prediction error (MPE) and root mean squared error (RMSE), respectively.

Results: The Winter-Tozer equation consistently overpredicted the normalized phenytoin concentration in the elderly nursing home population (MPE = 3.2, RMSE = 5.9) and the trauma patients (MPE = 3.3, RMSE = 4.8). The equation was revised to reflect the increased protein binding of phenytoin with decreased temperature and resulted in significantly decreased bias in both groups of patients.

Conclusions: The revised equation is useful in predicting normalized phenytoin concentrations in both elderly nursing home patients and critically ill trauma patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anticonvulsants / blood*
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / blood
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / drug therapy
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenytoin / blood*
  • Phenytoin / therapeutic use
  • Seizures / blood
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Seizures / prevention & control*
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Serum Albumin
  • Phenytoin