“[Physicians] need to know what their patients are all about. The goal is always seizure freedom, and you have to balance that with toxicity from the medications.”

With a wide variety of factors and properties playing a role in the way the medicines are absorbed into the body in epilepsy, getting a measurement of antiepileptic blood levels can be an extremely useful tool for assessing how the medicines are working for an individual patient.

At the American Epilepsy Society’s (AES) annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, Lynn Liu, MD, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Rochester, gave a presentation detailing how protein binding can affect blood levels, identifying the peaks and troughs of medication half-lives, and how comorbidities impact the absorption of medications. She also spoke about how to best determine blood levels for women with epilepsy who are seeking to get pregnant.

At the AES meeting, Liu spoke with NeurologyLive about what physicians should know about when to take blood levels and what can be gleaned from them. As well, she shared some of her advice for treating patients with epilepsy and focusing on the patient.