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Keywords:

  • carbamazepine;
  • slow-release;
  • controlled-release;
  • anti-epileptic drugs

Abstract The tolerability and pharmacokinetics of a new controlled-release (CR) formulation of carbamazepine (CBZ), were assessed in a multicentre, double-blind, cross-over trial, carried out in 48 epileptic patients (21 men, 27 women; mean age 34.2 years) on conventional CBZ monotherapy, but without complete seizure control (n = 22) or with intermittent side effects (n = 4), or with both (n = 22). Eligible patients were randomized to conventional CBZ or CR CBZ, each given in sequence at individualized daily doses, subdivided into the lowest number of administrations. Each period of the cross-over consisted of a first phase of optimal dose finding (lasting up to two months) and a second one of maintenance (lasting one month) used for evaluation. At the end of each period, a 10-h plasma CBZ and CBZ-epoxide concentration profile, as well as the tolerability and the efficacy of the drugs, were evaluated. The mean CBZ daily dose increased by 16% during the administration of the CR formulation. Fluctuations of total CBZ and 10, 11-epoxide plasma level daily profiles at steady-state were significantly (p < 0.001) lower during CR CBZ treatment, leading to a significant (p < 0.001) decrease in intermittent side effects (6 patients on CR CBZ vs 26 on conventional CBZ). Finally, 38 patients on CR CBZ (vs 15 patients on conventional CBZ) were treated with a b.i.d. regimen.