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Abstract

The teratogenicity of carbamazepine (CBZ) was investigated in Sprague-Dawley CD rats at doses of 0, 200, 400, and 600 mg/kg administered by gavage in corn oil on days 7–18 of gestation in a dosage volume of 2 ml/kg. The CBZ-600 dose was maternally toxic in that dams in this group weighed 30.6% less than controls by E20. This group had significantly increased resorptions, reduced live fetal weight (51.6% less than controls), and increased skeletal and visceral abnormalities. The CBZ-400 dose also significantly reduced maternal weight gain during gestation to 26.6% less than controls by E20. No significant increase in resorptions occurred in this group; live fetuses weighed 42.9% less than controls and showed an increase in visceral, but not skeletal, abnormalities. The CBZ-200 dose did not significantly affect maternal weight gain or increase resorptions or fetal abnormalities but did reduce fetal body weight (20.3% less than controls). Maternal serum total CBZ concentrations 1 hr after the final dose were 22.9, 27.9, and 34.4 μg/ml for the 200, 400, and 600 mg/kg groups, respectively. These levels were little changed 6 h post-treatment. CBZ was 65–70% serum protein bound across dose groups. Human therapeutic levels of CBZ are 4–12 μg/ml and the drug is typically 80% serum protein bound. This suggests that abnormalities in rats occur at concentrations well above the human therapeutic range. However, a no-effect level was not found for fetal body weight. Further experiments will be required to determine how much lower doses will need to be in order to find a no-effect level for fetal body weight. Nevertheless, the present data suggest that CBZ is not potent at inducing malformations in rats.