Tolerability of Divalproex Sodium in Elderly Psychiatric Patients with Mixed Diagnoses
This study addresses the tolerability of divalproex sodium in elderly psychiatric inpatients with various Axis I diagnoses, using structured assessments. A chart review for a 7-month period on a geropsychiatry inpatient unit identified 13 patients who had been treated with divalproex sodium. All 13 patients received standardized ratings on the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI), Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), Rating Scale for Side Effects (RSSE), and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) on admission and discharge, which were compared using paired t-tests for 12 of the 13 patients. The thirteenth patient was withdrawn from valproate prior to discharge after developing a delirium thought to be secondary to a divalproex-phenytoin interaction. All of the remaining 12 patients tolerated divalproex sodium well with no significant change in MMSE scores (P = .486), CMAI scores (P = .0546), or RSSE scores (P = .124). The change in BPRS score was found to be significant (P = .004). Based on the present study and previously reported case series, divalproex sodium appears to be well tolerated in an elderly psychiatric population.
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