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Metabolic changes during treatment with valproate in humans: implication for untoward weight gain.

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This study was initiated to elucidate the mechanisms behind valproate-induced weight gain. Eight patients with epilepsy were studied with identical examination programs before and during the end of the first month of treatment with sodium valproate (VPA). The measurements included registration of food intake, indirect calorimetry, and determination of pancreatic and thyroid hormones, catecholamines, albumin, electrolytes, glycerol, and free fatty acids. Measurements were performed both at the basal condition and during a 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). After the start of VPA treatment, the mean levels during the OGTT of plasma glucose and catecholamines were significantly decreased by 7% and 25%, respectively (P less than .05). The mean ratio of insulin to glucagon decreased by 37% (P less than .01). During the glucose load, the decreases in free fatty acids were less pronounced after the start of VPA treatment, whereas the mean levels of glycerol were found to be unchanged. We detected no differences between the two periods with regard to total energy intake or macronutrient selection, energy expenditure, or thyroid hormones. As VPA is known to affect the concentration of carnitine in humans, it is hypothesized that a possible VPA-induced deficiency of the beta-oxidation of fatty acids is important for the development of obesity in epileptic patients in long-term treatment with VPA, but changes in catecholamines or other hormones might also be of importance.
Translated title of the contributionMetabolic changes during treatment with valproate in humans: implication for untoward weight gain.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMetabolism
Volume41
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)666-670
Number of pages5
ISSN0026-0495
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ID: 32559258