Objective: To investigate the pharmacokinetics of the four stereoisomers of valnoctamide, a mild tranquilizer endowed with anticonvulsant properties.
Methods: Racemic valnoctamide, 400 mg, was administered orally to seven healthy subjects and to six patients with epilepsy stabilized with long-term carbamazepine therapy. In the patients with epilepsy, valnoctamide kinetics was also reassessed after 8-day oral dosing at a dosage of 600 mg daily. Plasma samples were assayed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry with use of a capillary column coated with chiral stationary phase that enabled baseline resolution of the four stereoisomers, designated hereafter as A, B, C, and D (where A and C, together with B and D, represent enantiomeric pairs).
Results: In healthy subjects, stereoisomers A, C, and D showed similar kinetics, with an apparent oral clearance (CL/F) of about 4 1/2 L/hr, a half-life (t1/2) of about 10 hours, and an apparent volume of distribution (VSS/F) of about 65 L. However, stereoisomer B showed a much higher clearance (8.7 +/- 0.9 L/hr) and a shorter t1/2 (5.8 hours). For all stereoisomers, CL/F values in patients with epilepsy were about tenfold higher than those found in healthy subjects. Compared with healthy subjects, patients with epilepsy also showed shorter t1/2 values and higher VSS/F values for each of the stereoisomers. After 7-day dosing, CL/F values at steady state were lower than those determined in the same patients after a single dose.
Conclusions: Valnoctamide exhibits enantioselectivity and diastereoselectivity, an observation that may have important practical implications if pharmacodynamic differences between stereoisomers are also found. The observed pharmacokinetic differences between healthy subjects and patients with epilepsy are likely to be related to induction of metabolism of valnoctamide stereoisomers by carbamazepine.