Background: Seizures are aetiologically and clinically heterogeneous neurological disorders that are
currently treated using a wide array of drugs, belonging to equally heterogeneous chemical classes. Some of them
are known as “antiepileptic drugs” (AEDs), due to their main field of use, while others (such as benzodiazepines) are
frequently used for other conditions as well as for seizures. Due to their different chemical properties and mechanisms
of activity, the metabolic characteristics of anti-seizure drugs can vary widely, also producing big differences
in terms of safety, efficacy and therapeutic suitability.
Methods: Scopus and PubMed databases were searched for the most significant papers centered on metabolism and
analysis of the following antiepileptics: carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin, ethosuximide,
gabapentin, vigabatrin, topiramate, levetiracetam and valproic acid.
Results: The most important studies on the metabolic characteristics of several AEDs are reported and briefly discussed
in this review; moreover, the analytical methods used to determine biological levels of these drugs during
therapy are also described and commented upon, and their main characteristics highlighted. Other AEDs, and notes
on polypharmacy, will be included in the second part of this series.