The Adverse Effect Profile and Efficacy of Divalproex Sodium Compared With Valproic Acid: A Pharmacoepidemiology Study
J Clin Psychiatry 1999;60(4):232-236
© Copyright 2015 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
Purchase This PDF for $40.00
If you are not a paid subscriber, you may purchase the PDF.
(You'll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
Receive immediate full-text access to JCP. You can subscribe to JCP online-only ($86) or print + online ($156 individual).
With your subscription, receive a free PDF collection of the NCDEU Festschrift articles. Hurry! This offer ends December 31, 2011.
If you are a paid subscriber to JCP and do not yet have a username and password, activate your subscription now.
As a paid subscriber who has activated your subscription, you have access to the HTML and PDF versions of this item.
Click here to login.
Did you forget your password?
Still can't log in? Contact the Circulation Department at 1-800-489-1001 x4 or send email
Background:Divalproex sodium has been reported to be better tolerated than valproic acid. To our knowledge, no study has examined whether significant differences in the tolerability and efficacy exist between these preparations in psychiatric patients. The objective of the present study was to compare the tolerability and efficacy of divalproex sodium with those of valproic acid in psychiatric inpatients.
Method:Information gathered retrospectively from the medical records of 150 patients treated with divalproex sodium was compared with that of 150 patients treated with valproic acid. These medical records were photocopied, and any mention of divalproex sodium or valproic acid treatment was concealed. A series of demographic and clinical characteristics were compared.
Results: Patients treated with divalproex sodium compared with patients treated with valproic acid were less likely to have gastrointestinal side effects (14.7% vs. 28.7%, p = .003), specifically anorexia (6.0% vs. 14.7%, p = .012), nausea or vomiting (6.7% vs. 16.7%, p = .007), and dyspepsia (11.3% vs. 22.0%, p = .013). Divalproex sodium-treated patients compared with valproic acid-treated patients were less likely to have discontinued their medication because of side effects (4.0% vs. 12.7%, p = .0066). Twelve (63.2%) of 19 patients who discontinued valproic acid because of gastrointestinal side effects were subsequently treated with divalproex sodium, of whom only 2 continued to have gastrointestinal side effects. There were no differences in efficacy between the 2 drugs.
Conclusion:Divalproex sodium was better tolerated than valproic acid in inpatients with a variety of diagnoses and taking concomitant medications. Patients treated with divalproex sodium compared with patients treated with valproic acid were less likely to experience gastrointestinal side effects and to have discontinued their medication because of an adverse event.