Seizure medications should be tailored to each patient, as the difference between a therapeutic dose and a toxic one is quite small. Now, researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have developed a breath test that can quickly provide information on the optimal approach to drug treatment for patients with epilepsy. Their test provides information about drug levels in the body, as well as drug metabolites and other metabolic signs, which can help doctors predict if someone is responding properly to a drug or if they need a modified dose.
Patients with epilepsy taking seizure medications should tread a fine line. “A little too little and not effective. A little too much and it becomes toxic, “said Pablo Sinues, a researcher involved in the project, in a press release. To complicate matters, patients respond to therapy differently, depending on how they metabolize the drug’s molecules. your body, which means doctors need to adjust the dose for each patient.
In the case of children, who experience changes in metabolism as they grow older, this may require periodic dose control and adjustment. Currently, blood tests are used to identify the amount of a pharmacological compound that is in the blood, but this does not show the full picture. Also, kids are not big fans of needles.
The philosophy behind this new technology is breathing before blood and consists of a high-resolution mass spectrometry system that allows breathing metabolites to be measured in real time. The results are instantaneous and do not require laboratory analysis, providing an indication of the metabolites present in someone’s breathing in small amounts.
“You might think it’s like the breathalyzer test the police use when they stop drivers,” Sinues said. “Because alcohol is present at high respiratory concentrations, only a small device is needed. But we are looking for a drop in 20 pools.” The technique not only provides an indication of drug levels in the user’s body, but also provides information on how they respond to therapy.
For example, the study found that certain metabolic pathways of amino acids are active in patients suffering from drug side effects and also identified a metabolic signature for patients who do not achieve a good therapeutic effect of the drug. The technology is not yet suitable for general use, but researchers are working to develop it further so that it can be clinically available.
Study the magazine Communications Medicine: Personalized therapeutic management of epileptic patients guided by metabolic pathway-guided respiration
Via: University of Basel