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Valproic Acid: Special Considerations and Targeted Monitoring

Collins-Yoder, Angela; Lowell, Jordan

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: February 2017 - Volume 49 - Issue 1 - p 56–61
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000259
Pharmacology Update

ABSTRACT Valproic acid (VPA) is a medication used to treat multiple neuroscience conditions. It is an inexpensive and useful medication, with a low incidence of adverse drug events. Nonetheless, optimal clinical outcomes require that a series of screening and laboratory steps be followed before the initiation of VPA therapy. An additional aspect of pharmacovigilance is to recognize clinical patterns signaling genetic traits that preclude VPA, background of the black box warnings, targeted assessments, and laboratory monitoring indicated while on VPA. The intention of this article is to provide a focused summary of published information clinically relevant to prescribing and monitoring these patients.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Angela Collins-Yoder, PhD RN CCNS ACNS BC, at She is a Clinical Professor, Capstone College of Nursing, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, and a Critical Care Clinical Specialist, Consulting Sacred Heart Hospital, Pensacola, FL.

Jordan Lowell, BSN RN, is Staff Nurse, Children’s Hospital of Alabama, Birmingham, AL.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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© 2017 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses