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Original Research

Associations of Valproate Doses With Weight Gain in Adult Psychiatric Patients: A 1-Year Prospective Cohort Study

Claire Grosu, PhD; William Hatoum, PharmD; Marianna Piras, PharmD, PhD; Nermine Laaboub, PhD; Setareh Ranjbar, PhD; Franziska Gamma, MD, MSc; Kerstin J. Plessen, PhD; Armin von Gunten, MPhil, MD; Martin Preisig, MD, MPH; Philippe Conus, MD; and Chin B. Eap, PhD

Published: March 27, 2024


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate valproate dose association with weight change, blood glucose, lipid levels, and blood pressure in a psychiatric population.

Methods: Data from 215 patients taking valproate for up to 1 year were collected from 2 longitudinal studies that monitored metabolic variables between 2007 and 2022. Linear mixed-effect models and logistic regressions were used to analyze the associations between valproate doses and metabolic outcomes.

Results: An increase in valproate dose of 500 mg was associated with a weight change of +0.52% per month over a year (P < .001). The association between valproate dose and weight change was evident both before and after 3 months of treatment. Weight increase was greater for treatment durations of < 3 months compared to ≥ 3 months (+0.56%, P < .001 and +0.12%, P = .02 per month, respectively). Using piecewise regression, a significant association between dose and weight gain was observed in patients receiving doses equal to or above the median dose (1,300 mg/d), with a +0.50% increase in weight for each dose increment of 500 mg (P = .004). Among men, each 500 mg dose increment was associated with weight increases of +0.59% per month (P = .004), whereas a trend was observed for women (+0.40%, P = .09). No associations were found between valproate doses and blood glucose, lipid levels, or blood pressure over a 6-month treatment period.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence that valproate dose, mainly for doses at or above 1,300 mg/d, is associated with weight gain in psychiatric patients, suggesting that the lowest effective doses should be prescribed to minimize weight gain.

J Clin Psychiatry 2024;85(2):23m15008

Author affiliations are listed at the end of this article.

Volume: 85

Quick Links: Uncategorized

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