Valproic acid (VPA), a widely used antiepileptic drug, has a narrow therapeutic range of 50-100 μg/mL and shows large individual variability. It is very important to monitor the trough VPA concentration using a reliable method. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a rapid gas chromatographic (GC) technique for VPA quantification in human plasma and to compare it with the traditional immunoassay method. VPA extraction from human serum was efficient by dichloromethane and hydrochloric acid using octanoic acid as an internal standard. GC analysis was performed using a gas-chromatograph equipped with a flame ionization detector (GC/FID). VPA detection and quantification were accomplished isothermally at 135°C on a Gs-BP 100% dimethylpolysiloxane capillary column (10 m×0.53 mm ID, 2.65 μm film thickness, Supelco, Bellefonte, PA). Injection port and detector temperature were 280°C. Retention times of VPA and internal standard were 1.83 min and 2.33 min, respectively. The calibration curve was linear over the concentration range of 5-320 μg/mL, with a lower limit of detection of 1.25 μg/mL. The internal and inter-day precision was less than 5.3% and 6.1%, respectively, and the accuracy was below 2.8%. VPA recovery was 94.6%. A quick and accurate method for VPA determination in human plasma was developed and validated. It resulted sufficiently selective and sensitive.
Valproic acid; human plasma; immunoassay; gas chromatography.