Clobazam therapeutic drug monitoring: A comprehensive review of the literature with proposals to improve future studies

Jose De Leon, Edoardo Spina, Francisco J. Diaz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Clobazam was recently approved for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in the United States. There is no published review article focused on clobazam therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) in English. METHODS: More than 200 clobazam articles identified by a PubMed search were carefully reviewed for information on clobazam pharmacokinetics. Clobazam is mainly metabolized by a cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzyme, CYP3A4, to its active metabolite, N-desmethylclobazam. Then, N-desmethylclobazam is mainly metabolized by CYP2C19 unless the individual has no CYP2C19 activity [poor metabolizer (PM)]. RESULTS: Using a mechanistic approach to reinterpret the published findings of steady-state TDM and single-dosing pharmacokinetic studies, 4 different serum clobazam concentration ratios were studied. The available limited steady-state TDM data suggest that the serum N-desmethylclobazam/clobazam ratio can be useful for clinicians, including identifying CYP2C19 PMs (ratio >25 in the absence of inhibitors). There are 3 possible concentration/dose (C/D) ratios. The clobazam C/D ratio has the potential to measure the contribution of CYP3A4 activity to the clearance of clobazam from the body. The N-desmethylclobazam C/D ratio does not seem to be a good measure of clobazam clearance and should be substituted with the total (clobazam + N-desmethylclobazam) C/D ratio. CONCLUSIONS: Future clobazam TDM studies need to use trough concentrations after steady state has been reached (>3 weeks in normal individuals and several months in CYP2C19 PMs). These future studies need to explore the potential of clobazam and total C/D ratios. Better studies on the relative potency of N-desmethylclobazam compared with the parent compound are needed to provide weighted total serum concentrations that correct for the possible lower N-desmethylclobazam pharmacodynamic activity. Standardization and more studies of C/D ratios from clobazam and other drugs can be helpful to move TDM forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-47
Number of pages18
JournalTherapeutic Drug Monitoring
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • CYP2C19
  • CYP3A4
  • anticonvulsant
  • clobazam
  • drug monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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