European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 125–132 | Cite as

Disposition of valproic acid in man

  • R. Gugler
  • A. Schell
  • M. Eichelbaum
  • W. Fröscher
  • H. -U. Schulz


The pharmacokinetics of valproic acid (VPA) have been studied in 6 healthy subjects following a single 600 mg dose, and after multiple doses over 12 days (1200 mg daily) of enteric-coated sodium valproate. A time lag before absorption of 1 to 2 h was observed in each subject, and then absorption was rapid, peak concentrations being recorded 3 to 4 h after administration of the dose. The plasma level decline was biphasic with a terminal half-life of 15.9±2.6 h in the single dose and 17.3±3.0 h in the multiple dose experiments. There was no evidence of dose dependent kinetics or autoinduction. Total plasma clearance was 0.0064±0.0011 l/kg×h. The apparent volume of distribution was small at 0.15±0.2 l/kg. The mean steady state plasma concentration (Css) reached after 4 days was 81.3±13.0 µg/ml. Css observed was lower than Css predicted (99.2±14.7 µg/ml) from single dose kinetics (p<0.001). The difference was probably due to a reduction in plasma protein binding at higher concentrations. VPA concentration in saliva was between 0.4 and 4.5% of the total plasma concentration and was not equal to the concentration of unbound drug in plasma (6.7±0.8% unbound). 3.2% of the dose was excreted in urine as the parent drug and 21.2% as conjugated metabolites.

Key words

Valproic acid pharmacokinetics saliva concentration urinary excretion serum protein binding 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Gugler
    • 1
  • A. Schell
    • 1
  • M. Eichelbaum
    • 1
  • W. Fröscher
    • 1
  • H. -U. Schulz
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Medicine and NeurologyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

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