Oxcarbazepine (GP 47680, 10, 11-dihydro-10-oxo-5H-dibenz[b, f]azepine-5-carboxamide) is an antiepileptic drug registered worldwide by Novartis under the trade name Trileptal®. Trileptal® is approved as adjunctive therapy or monotherapy for the treatment of partial seizures in adults and in children. In the US, Trileptal® is approved as adjunctive therapy in adults and in children ≥4 years of age and as monotherapy in adults and in children.
Trileptal® is currently marketed as 150, 300 and 600mg film-coated tablets for oral administration. A 60 mg/mL (6%) oral suspension formulation has also been registered worldwide.
Oxcarbazepine and its pharmacologically active metabolite, 10-monohydroxy derivative (MHD; 10, 11-dihydro-10-hydro-carbamazepine; GP 47779) show potent antiepileptic activity in animal models comparable to that of carbamazepine (Tegretol®) and phenytoin. Oxcarbazepine and MHD have been shown to exert antiepileptic activity by blockade of voltage-dependent sodium channels in the brain.
Oxcarbazepine is rapidly reduced by cytosolic enzymes in the liver to MHD, which is responsible for the pharmacological effect of the drug. This step is mediated by cytosolic arylketone reductases. MHD is eliminated by conjugation with glucuronic acid. Minor amounts (4% of the dose) are oxidised to the pharmacologically inactive dihydroxy derivative (DHD). The absorption of oxcarbazepine is complete. In plasma after a single oral administration of oxcarbazepine the mean apparent elimination half-life (t½) of MHD in adults was 8–9h. Food has no effect on the bioavailability of the highest strength of the final market image tablet (600mg). At steady state MHD displays predictable linear pharmacokinetics at doses ranging from 300 to 2400mg. In children with normal renal function, renal clearance of MHD is higher than in adults, with a corresponding reduction in the terminal t1/2 of MHD. Consequently, although no special dose recommendation is needed, an increase in the dose of oxcarbazepine may be necessary to achieve similar plasma levels to those in adults. In patients with moderate to severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance <30 mL/min), the elimination t½ of MHD is prolonged with a corresponding 2-fold increase in area under the concentration-time curve. Therefore, a dose reduction of at least 50% and a prolongation of the titration period is necessary in these patients. Mild-to-moderate hepatic impairment does not affect the pharmacokinetics of MHD. Based on in vitro and in vivo findings and compared with antiepileptic drugs such as carbamazepine, phenytoin and phenobarbital, oxcarbazepine has a low propensity for drug-drug interactions. In vitro, MHD inhibits the cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2C19 (ki [inhibition constant] = 88 μmol/L). At oxcarbazepine doses above 1.2g, a 40% increase in the concentration of phenytoin and a 15% increase in phenobarbital levels were observed. Oxcarbazepine/MHD at high doses may slightly increase phenobarbital and phenytoin plasma concentrations. Therefore, when using high doses of oxcarbazepine an adjustment in the dose of phenytoin may be required. In vitro, MHD is only a weak inducer of uridine diphospate (UDP)-glucuronyltransferase (UDPGT) and therefore is unlikely to have an effect on drugs that are mainly eliminated by conjugation through the UDPGT enzymes (e.g. valproic acid and lamotrigine). Weak interactions between MHD and antiepileptic drugs that are strong inducers of CYP enzymes have been identified. Carbamazepine, phenobarbital and phenytoin have been shown to reduce MHD levels by 30–40% when coadministered with oxcarbazepine, with no decrease in efficacy. Oxcarbazepine decreases the plasma hormone levels (ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel) of oral contraceptives and may therefore have the potential to cause oral contraception failure.
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This study had no funding.
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Flesch, G. Overview of the Clinical Pharmacokinetics of Oxcarbazepine. Clin. Drug Investig. 24, 185–203 (2004). https://doi.org/10.2165/00044011-200424040-00001
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