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Phenytoin intravenous loading doses are administered in status epilepticus to rapidly achieve therapeutic levels. Accurately assessing phenytoin levels after the initial load can be challenging because of its complex pharmacokinetic profile and nonstandardized weight-based loading doses.The objectives of this analysis were to determine the incidence of patients achieving goal phenytoin levels after the initial loading dose and characterize factors that contribute to achieving the goal level.This single-center, retrospective cohort analysis was approved by our institutional review board and included adult patients who received a phenytoin load from May 2016 to March 2021. Patients were excluded if no total phenytoin level was drawn within 24 hours of the load, if the maintenance dose was given before the first level was drawn, or if the patient was on phenytoin before the load. The major endpoint was the percentage of patients achieving a corrected goal phenytoin level of ≥10 mcg/mL after the initial load. Multivariate regression was used to determine predictors of achieving the goal phenytoin level.Of the 152 patients included, 139 patients (91.4%) achieved a corrected goal level after the first load. Patients at goal received a significantly higher median weight-based loading dose (19.1 mg/kg [15.0-20.0] vs 12.6 mg/kg [10.1-15.0], P < 0.01). The multivariate analysis identified weight-based dosing as a statistically significant predictor of achieving the corrected goal level (odds ratio, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.12-1.53; P < 0.01).Most patients achieved a corrected goal phenytoin level after the initial load. A higher median weight-based loading dose was shown to be a predictor of achieving the goal level and should be encouraged for rapid seizure termination. Future studies are warranted to confirm patient-specific factors that affect rapid achievement of the goal phenytoin level.


Christine S Kim, Lena K Tran, Melanie Z Goodberlet, Paul M Szumita, Kaylee K Marino. Evaluation of Goal Phenytoin Levels After an Initial Intravenous Loading Dose at an Academic Medical Center. The Annals of pharmacotherapy. 2023 May 25:1060028023117457010600280231174570

PMID: 37231739

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