Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacogenetics of Carbamazepine in Children
Carbamazepine is an effective antiepileptic drug for the treatment of partial and convulsive generalised epilepsy in adults and children. The pharmacokinetic profile in children is similar to that in adults, but the half-life in long term paediatric therapy is between 6 and 12 hours, compared with 15 hours in adults. Autoinduction is present. The most common adverse effects are neurological and dose-related, and occur in up to 50% of patients treated, usually on dosage initiation or dose elevation. Most dissipate over time and require no alteration in dosage. Idiosyncratic effects include hypersensitivity, hepatic and haematological reactions. A benign leucopenia occurs in 10 to 12% of adults and children and appears to be unrelated to aplastic anaemia which occurs in approximately 1 in 575,000 treated patients per year. Carbamazepine is reported to have cognitive and behavioural advantages over other antiepileptic drugs. Overall, carbamazepine has become a major antiepileptic drug in children as well as adults.