J Korean Epilepsy Soc.  2001 Dec;5(2):165-171.

Factors Related to Weight Changes after Valproic Acid Administration in Epileptic Children Treated with Valproic Acid

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Pusan National University, Pusan, Korea. weareone@hyowon.pusan.ac.kr


PURPOSE: Weight gain is a common side effect of valproic acid (VPA) that leads to discontinuation in some patients, but its incidence and correlates have been rarely studied in children. This study was undertaken to investigate factors related to weight changes in children treated with VPA.
We have analyzed mean weight standard deviation score (SDS) retrospectively and interviewed 39 childhood epileptic patients attending Pusan National University Hospital on VPA monotherapy followed over 36 months. Putative risk factors including sex, age, duration of VPA administration, mean weight SDS score at diagnosis, dose of VPA administration, seizure type (generalized or partial), and etiology (idipathic or symptomatic) were statistically analyzed.
Thirty nine children (23 boys, 16 girls) were treated with VPA monotherapy. Mean age of patients at diagnosis was 6.18+/-3.74 years, and mean weight SDS at diagnosis was 0.54+/-1.17. After the administration of VPA, mean weight SDS was significantly increased (p<0.05). Increase in mean weight SDS was significant in children with negative mean weight SDS at diagnosis, idiopathic epilepsy, partial seizure, and also significant in children below 1 year old. Mean weight SDS was well correlated with the dose of VPA administration after 18 months of VPA monotherapy (p<0.05).
Our data indicate that VPA monotherapy significantly increased body weight of patients treated for epilepsy. It will be better, if possible, combination therapy of VPA with other antiepileptic drugs (such as vigabatrin, carbamazepine, gabapentin) which can lead to weight gain.


Valproic acid monotherapy; Mean weight standard deviation score
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