High dose gabapentin in refractory partial epilepsy: clinical observations in 50 patients.
Wilson EA. Sills GJ. Forrest G. Brodie MJ.
University Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Western Infirmary, Glasgow, UK.
Fifty patients with refractory partial seizures took part in a prospective, observational study of adjuvant gabapentin (GBP) in increasing doses. Thirty-three were started on 400 mg GBP daily with further weekly increments of 400 mg until seizures came under control for at least 6 months or to the limit of tolerability. A further 17 patients, not fully controlled on low dose GBP, followed the same regimen. All patients took the drug three times daily. Comparisons were made with seizure numbers during a 3-month baseline during which antiepileptic medication remained unchanged. Overall, 24 of the 50 patients documented a seizure reduction of 50% or more. Fifteen did so at or below 2400 mg GBP daily. Three of these patients became seizure-free. The remaining nine appeared to respond to higher daily doses of GBP (1:2800 mg; 3:3600 mg; 1:4000 mg; 1:4800 mg; 3:6000 mg), with two becoming seizure-free. Side-effects most commonly reported included tiredness, dizziness, headache and diplopia. On GBP doses exceeding 3600 mg daily, three patients developed flatulence and diarrhoea and two more had myoclonic jerks. Mean circulating GBP concentrations (mg/l) at each 1200 mg dose level were as follows: 1200 mg-4.1; 2400 mg-8.6; 3600 mg 13.2; 4800 mg 15.5; 6000 mg-17.2. In six patients, including three taking 6000 mg daily, GBP concentrations continued to rise linearly at each dosage increment. Although limited, our results do not support the suggestion that GBP absorption is saturable. High dose GBP may be effective in controlling seizures in patients with refractory partial epilepsy.