Valproate (valproic acid) is a simple branched-chain carboxylic acid that was first used as an organic solvent in the late 1800s (see Fig 1). Its antiepileptic properties were discovered serendipitously in 1963, and its clinical use as an antiepileptic drug began in 1964. As early as 1966, valpromide (the amide precursor of valproate) was reported to be effective in the treatment of bipolar disorder.(1) Since then, valproate has been used effectively in the treatment of numerous psychiatric and neurological conditions, and is now widely used as a mood stabilizer in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Valproate is currently available as five different preparations: valproate (Depakene), sodium valproate (Depakene syrup), divalproex sodium (Depakote) (which is an equal proportion of sodium valproate and valproic acid), divalproex sodium sprinkle capsules (Depakote sprinkle capsules), and valpromide (the amide precursor of valproate, which is available in Europe but not in the United States).

Understanding And Treating Bipolar Disorders

Understanding And Treating Bipolar Disorders

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