• The usefulness of plasma antiepileptic drug concentrations in treatment of epilepsy has been established, and many laboratories provide this service. A "blind" survey utilizing pooled patient plasma samples was conducted among 197 laboratories in the United States and Canada to establish the interlaboratory reproducibility. Three "patient specimens" containing different amounts of phenobarbital, phenytoin (diphenylhydantoin), primidone, and ethosuximide were employed; 112 laboratories reported results within five weeks. The average cost for analyzing four drugs in a single sample was $43.27. Half of the laboratories reported results outside ± 1 standard deviation of the mean of five reference laboratories. Wide interlaboratory variability must be considered by the practicing physician. Until certified antiepileptic drug standards in a biologic matrix are available from the National Bureau of Standards, a volunteer quality control program among laboratories is needed.
Pippenger CE, Penry JK, White BG, Daly DD, Buddington R. Interlaboratory Variability in Determination of Plasma Antiepileptic Drug Concentrations. Arch Neurol. 1976;33(5):351–355. doi:10.1001/archneur.1976.00500050037007