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Epilepsy Society’s Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Unit awarded accreditation


The Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Unit (TDMU) at Epilepsy Society's headquarters in Chalfont St Peter has been awarded accreditation by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS).

The award is the first of its kind given to a UCLH "pathology; clinical biochemistry" provider, as well as being the first awarded to any London-based hospital.

Philip Patsalos head of Epilepsy Society’s Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM) unit said: " I believe this is a great achievement and accolade. We are the first University College London Hospitals “pathology; clinical biochemistry” provider to achieve UKAS accreditation and we are indeed the first in London! No other London-based NHS hospital has yet to be UKAS accredited. This is a real tribute to the vital work which we do at Epilepsy Society, analysing antiepileptic drug levels which are used clinically to guide patient management so as to ensure that drug efficacy is maximised and side effects are kept to a minimum. "

Why and how TDM is used

Therapeutic drug monitoring is the clinical analysis of drug levels that allows a person's AED therapy to be individualised to their own therapeutic range.

By measuring serum/plasma drug levels from a blood sample, TDM can be used to adjust the patient’s individual dosage and schedule to their own therapeutic requirement. In this way, drug efficacy is maximised and side effects minimised.

TDM not routine treatment

TDM is not routinely available to everyone with seizures, however it is particularly useful in certain cases.  It will be used to determine if a person with seizures is taking their prescribed dose of medication correctly, or to check drug concentrations when a person is switching brands of medication. 

TDM important for children, women and the elderly

TDMU is especially important in children, women, and the elderly.  The way a child absorbs and distributes a drug will change as they get older. In women, pregnancy or the oral contraceptive pill can affect levels of drug concentration and seizure control.  And under-dosing, over-dosing, missed doses and make-up doses are common in older adults which can alter drug concentrations and effectiveness.

Epilepsy Society's TDMU was recently able to identify that a new brand of phenobarbital used in some parts of Africa was putting the lives of epilepsy patients at risk because the drug had been falsified and only contained an "extremely low concentration" of the active ingredient.

Find out more

Read more about the work of our Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Unit.

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