This is the first simulation study applying MCS technique to evaluate dosing of lacosamide for seizure management in critically ill patients. We gathered all necessary PK parameters from previous published PK studies conducted in adult critically ill patients receiving CRRT, including body weight, Vd, non-renal clearance, and SC/SA to evaluate and establish dosing regimens [12,13,14]. We modeled our simulation using KDIGO recommended effluent rates of 20–25 mL/kg/h, and also applied the higher intensive effluent flow rate of 35 mL/kg/h into the model [21, 22]. All necessary parameters were incorporated into pharmacokinetic models to predict lacosamide disposition in critically ill patients receiving CRRT for 72 h. The correlations between pharmacokinetic parameters were applied in the models to create population-specific virtual patients.
As mentioned, critically illness have an impact on drug dosing in these patients. Volume of distribution of hydrophilic agents tends to be increased due to fluid accumulation and hypoalbuminemia [9, 10]. Larger Vd causes subtherapeutic drug concentrations and may lead to treatment failure. Giving higher doses can be suggested to achieve PK/PD targets. However, the Vd values gathered from the previous studies in our model was 0.61 ± 0.12 L/kg [12,13,14] which was similar to the healthy volunteers of 0.6 L/kg [2, 25]. Therefore, lacosamide dosing regimens may not be greatly affected in critically ill patients due to the comparable Vd between critically ill and normal population.
We assumed that the critically ill patients with CRRT have a renal clearance of 0 mL/min in our model. Therefore, total lacosamide clearance was derived from two major factors, including CRRT and non-renal clearance. CRRT clearances (CVVH and CVVHD clearance) were calculated via the equations mentioned in Method section. Non-renal clearance retrieved from previously published pharmacokinetic studies was 16.31 ± 6.09 mL/min [12,13,14] and was then utilized in the models. As for the non-renal clearance in healthy subjects, it was approximate to be about 60% of total body clearance of 2 L/h [8, 25], which is 20 mL/min, and is similar to the values extracted from the available pharmacokinetic studies in critically ill patients receiving CRRT. Therefore, the contribution of non-renal clearance in lacosamide dosing adjustment in critically ill patients is relatively minimal.
The typical lacosamide dosing regimens were recommended for 200–400 mg daily. The dose as high as 600 mg/day have been utilized and may be beneficial in some patients [2, 8, 25, 26]. Unfortunately, no standard guidelines of therapeutic drug monitoring of lacosamide exist due to the lack of the exact correlation between serum concentrations and therapeutic efficacy. May and colleages  provided the correlation between serum and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) samples from 21 patients receiving lacosamide for epilepsy management. The optimal correlation was described as the mean CSF-to-serum ratio of 0.897 ± 0.193 in the daily dose range of 50–600 mg. They suggested the serum concentration of lacosamide may be an important indicator of central nervous system concentration to estimate therapeutic efficacy . Therapeutic drug monitoring of lacosamide was proposed by some experts with the lacosamide concentration ranging from 5 to 10 mg/L [7, 15]. Laveille and colleagues proposed that the trough concentration producing half the maximum seizure frequency reduction (EC50) was 4.6 mg/L . Therefore, we infer that the minimum concentration of approximately 5 mg/L is required to attain seizure control. Moreover, Kropeit and colleagues  conducted a pharmacokinetic study to reveal lacosamide concentrations after receiving oral and IV lacosamide of 200 mg single dose. The mean maximum concentration was 5.95 + 1.49 mg/L with AUC of 80.25 mg*h/L and there were not statistically different between both oral and IV administrations. Horstmann et al.  also conducted a pharmacokinetic study using 400 and 600 mg of lacosamide. The mean concentrations were 8.7 + 1.8 and 14.3 + 2.3 mg/L, respectively. The AUCs of the 2 doses were reported as 143 + 27 and 231 + 49 mg*h/L, respectively . Based on the pharmacokinetic studies and recommendations from the experts, we decided to adopt the concentration range of 5–10 mg/L as our targeted trough concentrations and use into our models to represent the lacosamide doses of 200–400 mg daily which are doses recommended by clinical literature for general patients. As presented in previous pharmacokinetic studies, the AUC target range of 80.25–143 reflects the dosing regimens of 200–400 mg daily. In addition, some patients who need additional benefits from increasing the dose up to 600 mg/day, the higher AUC range of 143–231, which equates to the doses of 400–600 mg/day, may be required. Therefore, we decided using both standard and higher AUCs of 80.25–143 and 143–231 mg × hour/L to ensure the accuracy of our models in addition to the trough concentrations as pharmacodynamic targets. Our results showed that regardless of the standard AUC target or trough concentration ranges used, the optimal dosing recommended were similar, as shown in Table 4. While using the higher AUC target range, larger dose is required to achieve the pharmacodynamic target, as shown in Table 4.
The maximum dose of lacosamide of 400 mg and 600 mg are recommended in United States and European Union, respectively. Some suggested doses in Table 4 especially in high pharmacodynamic target group exceed the maximum dose of 600 mg/day. Ben-Menachem and colleagues  explored the long-term safety and tolerability of lacosamide monotherapy in patients with epilepsy in the dose range of 200–600 mg/day. The daily lacosamide dose up to 600 mg was defined to be generally well-tolerated . Therefore, when the lacosamide dose above 600 mg is needed to control seizure in patients who require high pharmacodynamic target and receiving CRRT, closely monitoring of lacosamide adverse events is absolutely recommended in patients with epilepsy. In addition, there was a pharmacokinetic study conducted by Cawello and colleagues  to identify the bioequivalence of intravenous and oral lacosamide formulations. 200 mg of oral and IV infusion lacosamide formulations were given to healthy volunteers. It showed that bioequivalence was demonstrated for IV and oral formulations in terms of AUC and maximum concentration (Cmax) . Direct conversion from oral to IV lacosamide, or vice versa, is possible. However, pharmacokinetic changes in critically ill patients are challenging for drug dosing especially in absorption process . Changes in gastric pH, delayed gastric emptying, drug–food interactions, and/or altered efflux transporter activity play major contributions to unreliable absorption. Therefore, the IV route of administration is strongly recommended .
Presently, the recommended dosing regimens of lacosamide for patients receiving CRRT are only based on two case reports [12, 13]. Franquiz and colleagues  presented a case study of the patient with status epilepticus and multiorgan failure undergoing CRRT with the effluent rate of 2.3 L/h who was prescribed 400 mg/day of lacosamide. Lacosamide was effectively removed via CRRT with the sieving coefficient was 0.8 ± 0.06. Vd and non-renal clearance were identified as 0.7 L/kg and 13.42 mL/min . The second case report was published by Wieruszewski and colleagues . The patient developed nonconvulsive status epilepticus and received CRRT with the same effluent rate and was prescribed lacosamide 400 mg intravenously daily. The Vd, non-renal clearance and sieving coefficient were reported as 0.69 L/kg, 25.20 mL/min and 0.69 for which they were similar compared to the first case report [12, 13]. Notably, their dosing recommendations were done based on only PK parameters without utilizing pharmacodynamics outcomes, while in our study, we applied both PK and PD, and combined the MCS technique to amplify the outcomes of efficacy and toxicity. Consequently, our recommended maintenance doses of 100–150 mg every 8 h with the standard KDIGO-recommended flow rates were different to the regimen from both case reports of 200 mg twice daily.
Recently, Kalaria and colleagues  conducted a pharmacokinetic study of lacosamide use in critically ill patient receiving CRRT to establish a lacosamide dosing protocols from PK parameters in 7 critically ill patients undergoing CVVH. The average of SC, Vd and non-renal clearance were 0.79, 0.58 L/kg and 15.50 mL/min, respectively . They proposed the protocol of lacosamide dosing regimens for patients receiving CRRT depending on effluent flow rates and lower or higher exposure dosing regimen . The dosing protocol was based on PK parameters and a PD target of 94 mg × hour/L. In our study, we included both PD targets (trough concentration, standard and aggressive AUCs) and applied MCS to define the optimal dosing regimens [7, 15, 23, 24]. Our results showed when the effluent rate is higher as 35 mL/kg/h, a higher lacosamide dose of 200 mg three times daily was required. Similarly, if the higher AUC is chosen to better seizure control, the larger doses is needed. Consequently, we recommended the optimal dosing regimens for adult critically ill patients CRRT based on effluent rates and PD targets in Table 4.
In addition, we tested the effect of body weights on achieving the PTAs using log-binomial regression to define risk ratios, the body weight range of 60–100 kg was found to have a good correlation to attain the PTA target compared to patients with more than 100 kg. The finding was aligned with the results from two landmark randomized controlled studies [4, 5] of lacosamide to evaluate the efficacy and safety for partial-onset seizures. Both trials showed the similar results in significant improvement of seizure control when lacosamide was prescribed as 400–600 mg daily in the patients with average body weights in the range of 74.5–81.0 kg [4, 5]. Consequently, when lacosamide was used in these patients, those three factors as body weight, desired pharmacodynamic target and effluent flow rate should be considered for clinicians to determine drug dosing modification in patients receiving CRRT, especially in patients weighed > 100 kg.
Limitations of our study were listed as follows: (1) we defined the optimal dosing regimens using available published PK studies, such as body weights, non-renal clearance, sieving coefficient and volume of distribution. All combined pharmacokinetic data were only from adult patients. Therefore, our recommendation should be applied for the patients who match our assumptions. (2) our dosing recommendations are suggested in anuric patients. If lacosamide is used in patients with higher renal clearance, the dose should be adjusted. (3) the pharmacokinetic changes in critically ill patients are dynamic and depends on individual patient conditions, we recommend closely monitoring of lacosamide concentrations. (4) To our knowledge, there is no standard guideline for lacosamide therapeutic drug monitoring and desired target lacosamide concentrations. However, the trough concentration producing half the maximum seizure frequency reduction was 4.6 mg/L as presented by Laveille and colleagues . In addition, Svendsen and colleagues  conducted a pharmacokinetic study using therapeutic drug monitoring data of lacosamide from The Norwegian Prescription Database. They revealed that the average lacosamide concentration in patients with modest and good efficacy should be at least 5.71 mg/L, while non-responders had an average lacosamide concentration as 4.65 mg/L . This concentration is aligned with our lacosamide target range of 5–10 mg/L. Hence, monitoring of clinical conditions would be required to assure lacosamide efficacy and toxicity. Clinical validation of this finding is needed.
In conclusion, we suggested optimal lacosamide dosing in critically ill patients undergoing CRRT depending on different modalities and the pharmacodynamic targets in Table 4. The effluent rate as 35 mL/kg/h required higher lacosamide doses. Three main factors as total clearance, volume of distribution, and body weight are responsible for lacosamide dosing modification to achieve the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic targets. Pharmacokinetic changes in critically ill patients owing to pathophysiologic variability need to be aware for lacosamide prescription to avoid treatment failure or drug toxicity. Moreover, larger doses than our recommendations with closely drug monitoring would be considered in the patients with body weight more than 100 kg.