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Efficacy and safety of intravenous valproate for status epilepticus: a systematic review.
Trinka, E; Höfler, J; Zerbs, A; Brigo, F;
CNS Drugs. 2014; 28(7):623-639
Originalarbeiten (Zeitschrift)


Höfler Julia
Trinka Eugen
Zerbs Alexander


The effectiveness of valproate (VPA) in the treatment of focal and generalized epilepsies is well established. The drug has a wide spectrum of action, good tolerability, and has been available as an injectable formulation since 1993. Despite the lack of class A evidence, it has been used extensively in various forms of status epilepticus (SE).
Our aim was to present a systematic review of data from randomized and non-randomized controlled trials to evaluate the efficacy and safety of intravenous VPA for the treatment of SE.
Data sources included MEDLINE, back tracing of references in pertinent studies, and contact with the manufacturer of VPA (Sanofi-Aventis).
Overall, the search strategy yielded 433 results (425 MEDLINE, seven congress abstracts, one unpublished study); after excluding duplicate publications and case reports, 30 studies were identified (the earliest was published in 1993, the most recent in 2012); ten were controlled (six randomized controlled trials, four non-randomized controlled studies), and 20 uncontrolled trials (eight prospective observational studies, 12 retrospective case series). The cumulative literature describes the experiences of 860 patients with various forms of SE treated with intravenous VPA. The overall response rate to abrogate SE was 70.9% (601/848; 95% confidence interval [CI] 67.8-73.9). Response rates to intravenous VPA were better in children than in adults and did not differ between the SE types. The most commonly reported effective doses were between 15 and 45 mg/kg in bolus (6 mg/kg/min) followed by 1-3 mg/kg/h infusion. Safety studies of intravenous VPA administration in patients with SE showed a low incidence of adverse events overall (<10%), mainly dizziness, thrombocytopenia, and mild hypotension, which was independent of infusion rates. Of note, good cardiovascular and respiratory tolerability was observed in these studies, even at high doses and fast infusion rates (up to 30 mg/kg at 10 mg/kg/min), despite multiple morbidities or other antiepileptic drugs. The most serious concern relates to the possibility of acute encephalopathy, sometimes related to hepatic abnormalities or hyperammonemia.
The published experience is consistent with VPA being a safe and effective therapeutic option for patients with established SE who have previously failed conventional first-line treatment with benzodiazepines, but high-quality randomized controlled trials are needed to inform clinicians on its comparative effectiveness in SE.

Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)

Administration, Intravenous


Age Factors



Anticonvulsants/adverse effects

Anticonvulsants/therapeutic use*



Status Epilepticus/drug therapy*

Treatment Outcome

Valproic Acid/administration*


Valproic Acid/adverse effects

Valproic Acid/therapeutic use*