Antiseizure Medication use in Gastric Bypass Patients and Other Post-Surgical Malabsorptive States

Caitlin S. Brown, Alejandro A. Rabinstein, Erin M. Nystrom, Jeffrey W. Britton, Tarun D. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Healthcare professionals are encountering an increasing number of patients who have undergone bariatric surgeries. Antiseizure medications (ASM) have a narrow therapeutic window, and patients with malabsorptive states receiving ASM present a complex situation as the pharmacokinetics of these drugs have only been studied in patients with a normal functioning gastrointestinal tract. Patients with malabsorptive states may have altered pharmacokinetics, and there is limited literature to guide drug selection and dosage adjustment in patients with malabsorptive states. This review highlights pharmacokinetic parameters of common ASM, and considerations when managing patients on them. The effect of pH, lipophilicity, absorption, and metabolism should be taken into account when selecting and managing ASMs in this patient population. Based on these parameters, levetiracetam, and topiramate have fewer issues referable to absorption related to bariatric surgery while oral formulations of phenytoin, carbamazepine, oxcarbamazepine and valproic acid have reduced absorption due to effects of bariatric surgery based on the pharmacokinetic properties of these medications. Extended formulations should be avoided and ASM serum concentrations should be checked before and after surgery. The care of patients with epilepsy who are scheduled to undergo bariatric surgery should be guided by a multidisciplinary team including a pharmacist and a neurologist who should be involved in the adjustment of the ASMs throughout the pre-surgical and post-surgical periods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100439
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior Reports
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antiseizure medications
  • Gastric bypass
  • Malabsorption
  • Pharmacokinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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