Valproate-associated Coagulopathies Are Frequent and Variable in Children


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. T. Gerstner, University Children's Hospital, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1–3, Germany 68167 Mannheim. Fax: 00496213833828; E-mail:


Summary: Purpose: Valproic acid (VPA) is an antiepileptic drug (AED) commonly used for generalized and focal epilepsies. The clinical relevance of coagulopathies, known as side effects of VPA therapy, especially thrombocytopenia, von Willebrand disease, and a decrease of factor XIII, is still unclear.

Methods: In our institute, we noticed a high incidence of clinically relevant coagulation problems related to VPA in eight patients within 1 year only and a further seven children with significant coagulopathy were identified in the context of planned surgery.

Results: We provide an overview of these patients and all six VPA-induced coagulopathies.

Conclusions: At this time, it cannot be recommended to control all hemostatic parameters in every patient. Whenever an increased bleeding tendency is observed, or before surgical procedures, a platelet count, thrombelastography, prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, TT, fibrinogen, von Willibrand factor, and factor XIII should be examined. With 385 VPAtreated patients per year and 15 cases of coagulation disorders in this period, we estimate the incidence of coagulation disorders related to VPA in children to be nearly 4%.