Iatrogenic Hypoglycemia Induced by Valproic Acid in an Adult Patient

Eugenia Rota, Paola Varese, Luciano Arena, Lorenzo Celli, Irene Pappalardo, Nicola Morelli

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7175/cmi.v15i1.1487

Abstract

Literature on antiepileptic induced iatrogenic hypoglycemia is scanty. Due to its broad spectrum of activity and mechanisms of action, valproic acid (VPA), a fatty acid, is the most widely prescribed epilepsy treatment worldwide.

Herein, we describe an adult epileptic patient, where persistent, otherwise unexplained hypoglycemia, was most likely induced by VPA, as suggested by the VPA time course and glucose blood levels. Indeed, no further hypoglycemic episodes occurred after VPA discontinuation and the diagnostic work-up ruled out other possible causes of hypoglycemia.

This case supports the hypothesis that VPA may induce hypoglycemia, due to still not well-defined metabolic mechanisms of action. Moreover, it emphasizes the fact that an iatrogenic pathogenesis should be considered if an apparently unexplained hypoglycemia occurs in a patient on chronic therapy with antiepileptics, even at a therapeutical dosage.

Keywords

hypoglycemia, valproic acid (VPA), epilepsy, side effects, diabetes mellitus, Jatrogenic effects, seizure

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