Papers And Originals

Sodium Valproate in Treatment of Epilepsy

Br Med J 1974; 2 doi: (Published 15 June 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;2:584

This article has corrections. Please see:

  1. Peter M. Jeavons,
  2. Jean E. Clark


    Sodium valproate has a simple chemical structure unlike other anticonvulsants. It has been given to 63 patients with various types of epilepsy whose attacks were frequent and of whom 40 had failed to respond to other anticonvulsants. Fits stopped completely in 27 patients (43%) and 14 (22%) showed a reduction of attacks by more than 50%. The best results were in patients with absences (typical and atypical) associated with spike and wave discharges on the electroencephalogram. Myoclonic epilepsies responded well and improvement occurred with tonic-clonic seizures and focal motor fits. There was little or no improvement in temporal lobe epilepsy. Sodium valproate given alone did not cause unwanted effects but it potentiated many other anticonvulsants. An unusual side effect was temporary hair loss. A number of patients became more alert, school performances improved, and the management of subnormal patients became easier.