Acetazolamide and topiramate lower intracranial pressure through differential mechanisms- the effect of acute and chronic administration

Connar Stanley James Westgate, Christina Kamp-Jensen, Ida Marchen Egerod Israelsen, Trine Toft-Bertelsen, Jonathan Henry Wardman, Christian Ahm Jensen, Bjarne Styrishave, Nanna MacAulay, Rigmor Højland Jensen, Sajedeh Eftekhari*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Diseases of raised intracranial pressure (ICP) cause severe morbidity and mortality. Multiple drugs are utilised to lower ICP including acetazolamide and topiramate. However, the evidence for their use is unclear. We aimed to assess the ICP modulatory effects and molecular effects at the choroid plexus (CP) of acetazolamide and topiramate.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Female rats were implanted with telemetric ICP probes for physiological, freely moving 24/7 ICP recordings. Randomised cross-over studies were performed, where rats received acute (24 h) high doses of acetazolamide and topiramate, and chronic (10 days) clinically equivalent doses of acetazolamide and topiramate, all via oral gavage. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) secretion assays, and RT-qPCR and western blots on in vitro and in vivo CP, were used to investigate drug actions.

KEY RESULTS: We demonstrate that acetazolamide and topiramate achieved maximal ICP reduction within 120 min of administration, and in combination doubled the ICP reduction over a 24-h period. Chronic administration of acetazolamide or topiramate lowered ICP by 25%. Topiramate decreased CSF secretion by 40%. Chronic topiramate increased the gene expression of Slc12a2 and Slc4a10 and protein expression of the sodium-dependent chloride/bicarbonate exchanger (NCBE), whereas chronic acetazolamide did not affect the expression of assessed genes.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Acetazolamide and topiramate are effective at lowering ICP at therapeutic levels. We provide the first evidence that topiramate lowers CSF secretion and that acetazolamide and topiramate may lower ICP via distinct molecular mechanisms. Thus, the combination of acetazolamide and topiramate may have utility for treating raised ICP.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)70-86
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Acetazolamide/pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Intracranial Pressure/physiology
  • Rats
  • Topiramate/pharmacology
  • intracranial pressure
  • acetazolamide
  • cerebrospinal fluid
  • choroid plexus
  • topiramate


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