Valproate (Molecule of the Month for February 2018)
Convulex, Depakote, Epilim, Stavzor
Valproate is used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder and to prevent migraine headaches. Valproate is useful for the prevention of seizures in those with absence seizures, partial seizures, and generalized seizures. Valproate was first made in 1881 and it came into medical use in 1962. Valproate is included in the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.
It is unclear exactly how valproate works
Valproate causes birth defects, exposure during pregnancy is associated with about three times as many major abnormalities as usual, mainly spina bifida with the risks being related to the strength of medication used and use of more than one drug. More rarely, with several other defects, possibly including a "valproate syndrome". Characteristics of this valproate syndrome include facial features that tend to evolve with age, including a triangle-shaped forehead, tall forehead with bifrontal narrowing, epicanthic folds, medial deficiency of eyebrows, flat nasal bridge, broad nasal root, anteverted nares, shallow philtrum, long upper lip and thin vermillion borders, thick lower lip and small downturned mouth. While developmental delay is usually associated with altered physical characteristics (dysmorphic features), this is not always the case. Children of mothers taking valproate during pregnancy are at risk for lower IQs. Maternal valproate use during pregnancy has been associated with a significantly higher probability of autism in the offspring. It is thought about 20,000 children in the UK have been left with disabilities caused by valproate since the 1970s.
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for February 2018 )
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