Some previous studies have indicated that valproate (VPA) might change the pharmacokinetics and enhance the effects of propofol. We evaluated whether clinical VPA therapy affected the propofol blood level, the protein-unbound free propofol level, and/or the anesthetic effects of propofol in the clinical setting. The subjects were divided into the control group (not medicated with antiepileptics), the mono-VPA group (medicated with VPA alone), and the poly-VPA group (medicated with VPA, other antiepileptics, and/or psychoactive drugs). General anesthesia was induced via the administration of a single bolus of propofol and a remifentanil infusion, and when the bispectral index (BIS) exceeded 60 sevoflurane was started. There were no significant differences in the total blood propofol level at 5, 10, 15, and 20 min or the protein-unbound free propofol level at 5 min after the intravenous administration of propofol between the 3 groups. However, the minimum BIS was significantly lower and the time until the BIS exceeded 60 was significantly longer in the poly-VPA group. In the multivariate regression analysis, belonging to the poly-VPA group was found to be independently associated with the minimum BIS value and the time until the BIS exceeded 60. Clinical VPA therapy did not influence the pharmacokinetics of propofol. However, multi-drug therapy involving VPA might enhance the anesthetic effects of propofol.
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