Article

A case of hyperammonemic encephalopathy after 11 years of valproate therapy.

Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.76). 07/2008; 28(3):361-2. DOI: 10.1097/JCP.0b013e31817275b6
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Valproic acid is a widely-used first-generation antiepileptic drug, prescribed predominantly in epilepsy and psychiatric disorders. VPA has good efficacy and pharmacoeconomic profiles, as well as a relatively favorable safety profile. However, adverse drug reactions have been reported in relation with valproic acid use, either as monotherapy or polytherapy with other antiepileptic drugs or antipsychotic drugs. This systematic review discusses valproic acid adverse drug reactions, in terms of hepatotoxicity, mitochondrial toxicity, hyperammonemic encephalopathy, hypersensitivity syndrome reactions, neurological toxicity, metabolic and endocrine adverse events, and teratogenicity.
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    ABSTRACT: A patient with an early diagnosed epilepsy Valproic acid is one of the most widely used antiepileptic drugs. Hyperammonemic encephalopathy is a rare, but potentially fatal, adverse drug reaction to valproic acid. A patient with an early diagnosed epilepsy, treated with valproic acid, experienced an altered mental state after 10 days of treatment. Valproic acid serum levels were within limits, hepatic function tests were normal but ammonia levels were above the normal range. Valproic acid was stopped and the hyperammonemic encephalopathy was treated with lactulose 15 ml twice daily, metronidazole 250 mg four times daily and L-carnitine 1 g twice daily. Monitoring liver function and ammonia levels should be recommended in patients taking valproic acid. The constraints of the pharmaceutical market had to be taken into consideration and limited the pharmacological options for this patient's treatment. Idiosyncratic symptomatic hyperammonemic encephalopathy is completely reversible, but can induce coma and even death, if not timely detected. Clinical pharmacists can help detecting adverse drug reactions and provide evidence based information for the treatment.
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