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July 1979

Valproic Acid: Review of a New Antiepileptic Drug

Author Affiliations

From the Neurology Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, Gainesville, Fla (Drs Bruni and Wilder); and the Department of Neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville (Drs Bruni and Wilder).

Arch Neurol. 1979;36(7):393-398. doi:10.1001/archneur.1979.00500430023002

• Valproic acid is a new antiepileptic drug. It has a marked effect on generalized spike-wave discharges. The exact mechanism of action is uncertain; however, some evidence suggests an effect on the metabolism of γ-aminobutyric acid. It is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Concurrent administration with phenobarbital may result in elevated phenobarbital plasma concentrations. Administration with phenytoin sodium may transiently result in lower total phenytoin plasma levels. Side effects are generally mild and include fatigue, GI disturbances, weight gain, a fine postural and resting tremor, mild thrombocytopenia, and an increase in hepatic enzymes. Platelet counts and liver function monitoring should be done during valproic acid therapy. Drowsiness may be seen in patients receiving other antiepileptic drugs concurrently.

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