Summary

Objectives

Children and adults are likely to be among the casualties in a civilian nerve agent exposure. This study evaluated the efficacy of valnoctamide (racemic‐VCD), sec‐butylpropylacetamide (racemic‐SPD), and phenobarbital for stopping nerve agent seizures in both immature and adult rats.

Methods

Female and male postnatal day (PND) 21, 28, and 70 (adult) rats, previously implanted with electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes were exposed to seizure‐inducing doses of the nerve agents sarin or VX and EEG was recorded continuously. Five minutes after seizure onset, animals were treated with SPD, VCD, or phenobarbital. The up‐down method was used over successive animals to determine the anticonvulsant median effective dose (ED50) of the drugs.

Results

SPD‐ED50 values in the VX model were the following: PND21, 53 mg/kg (male) and 48 mg/kg (female); PND28, 108 mg/kg (male) and 43 mg/kg (female); and PND70, 101 mg/kg (male) and 40 mg/kg (female). SPD‐ED50 values in the sarin model were the following: PND21, 44 mg/kg (male) and 28 mg/kg (female); PND28, 79 mg/kg (male) and 34 mg/kg (female); and PND70, 53 mg/kg (male) and 53 mg/kg (female). VCD‐ED50 values in the VX model were the following: PND21, 34 mg/kg (male) and 43 mg/kg (female); PND28, 165 mg/kg (male) and 59 mg/kg (female); and PND70, 87 mg/kg (male) and 91 mg/kg (female). VCD‐ED50 values in the sarin model were the following: PND21, 45 mg/kg (male), 48 mg/kg (female); PND28, 152 mg/kg (male) 79 mg/kg (female); and PND70, 97 mg/kg (male) 79 mg/kg (female). Phenobarbital‐ED50 values in the VX model were the following: PND21, 43 mg/kg (male) and 18 mg/kg (female); PND28, 48 mg/kg (male) and 97 mg/kg (female). Phenobarbital‐ED50 values in the sarin model were the following: PND21, 32 mg/kg (male) and 32 mg/kg (female); PND28, 58 mg/kg (male) and 97 mg/kg (female); and PND70, 65 mg/kg (female).

Significance

SPD and VCD demonstrated anticonvulsant activity in both immature and adult rats in the sarin‐ and VX‐induced status epilepticus models. Phenobarbital was effective in immature rats, whereas in adult rats, higher doses were required that were accompanied by toxicity. Overall, significantly less drug was required to stop seizures in PND21 animals than in the older animals, and overall, males required higher amounts of drug than females.

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