Improved CNS tolerability following conversion from immediate-to extended-release carbamazepine

A. D. Miller, G. L. Krauss, F. M. Hamzeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives - Tolerability of 'narrow therapeutic ratio' (NTR) antiepileptic drugs may improve with uniform drug delivery. We determined whether conversion from immediate-release carbamazepine (IR-CBZ) to extended-release carbamazepine (ER-CBZ) decreased the incidence of CNS side-effects associated with drug concentration oscillations. Methods - We compared CNS side effects and seizure frequency for patients with partial-onset seizures (n = 61) treated with IR-CBZ for ≥1 year with conversion to ER-CBZ for ≥1 year. We compared tolerability findings with absorption variability of the formulations. Results - Incidence of CNS side-effects decreased from 49% during IR-CBZ treatment to 20% following conversion to ER-CBZ. Patients also had improved tolerability of high doses (≥1200 mg/day) during ER-CBZ treatment. Pharmacokinetic analysis showed absorption and drug concentration were much more variable for the immediate-release formulation. Conclusions - This study suggests that ER-CBZ formulations, with smoother drug delivery and less variable absorption, provide improved CNS tolerability compared with immediate-release formulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-377
Number of pages4
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Antiepilepsy drugs
  • Carbamazepine
  • Drug toxicity
  • Epilepsy
  • Seizures
  • Side effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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