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Journal of Pharmacological Sciences
Vol. 97 (2005) , No. 4 pp.489-493
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A Theoretical Method for Normalizing Total Serum Valproic Acid Concentration in Hypoalbuminemic Patients
Jesús Hermida1) and J. Carlos Tutor1)
1) Central Laboratory, University Hospital Clinic, Santiago de Compostela
ABSTRACT:  In patients with hypoalbuminemia, the total serum concentration of valproic acid may offer poor clinical information; however, very few clinical laboratories routinely analyze the free concentration of the drug. The aim of this study was to design a procedure to normalize the total concentration of valproic acid according to the level of serum albumin and using previously published free fraction values. In 121 adult patients, with albumin levels of 18 – 41 g/L, the total concentration of valproic acid was normalized using the derived equation: CN = αHCH/6.5, where αH is the free fraction of the drug corresponding to the patient’s particular albuminemia and CH is the total concentration of valproic acid. The value of 6.5 corresponds to the free fraction of the drug for a serum albumin of 42 g/L (percentile 50 of the reference range). For total concentrations lower than 75 mg/L, the predicted normalized valproic acid concentrations were reasonably concordant with the observed normalized concentrations calculated using the data from a protein-binding study. In a significant number of cases, subtherapeutic concentrations of the drug became therapeutic and even supratherapeutic when corrected according to the albumin levels. Furthermore, cases with therapeutic drug concentrations frequently became supratherapeutic when normalized. The limitations and clinical aplications of the proposed formula for normalizing the total concentration of valproic acid are presented. It is concluded that it may be useful for the posological management of hypoalbuminemic patients when the free concentration of the drug is not available, and decisions have to be made based on the total serum concentration.
Keywords:valproic acid, hypoalbuminemia, dose adjustment, ultrafiltration

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