Does Valproic Acid (Depakene) increase the risk of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)?

Maybe. Various studies have shown that the use of Valproic acid increases the risk of PCOS. Valproic Acid is a drug that is used to treat migraine headaches, mood conditions such as bipolar disorder, and seizure disorders. It restores the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain. A study states that in the last 15 years, there is an increase in the prevalence of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) associated with VPA (Valproic Acid) use in both women with epilepsy and women with bipolar disorders.

However, one can not conclude that Valproic acid leads to PCOS solely on this basis. The data available on this is contrasting, and there is a possibility that various factors have a role in the development of PCOS in such patients. It has been observed that there is a higher risk of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) during their VPA treatment among the women suffering from epilepsy than those suffering from bipolar disorders. This can be a result of an underlying neuroendocrine dysfunction related to the seizure disorder.

Another study points in a similar direction stating that long-term administration of valproate in women with bipolar disorder or epilepsy is believed to result in the increased risk of hyperandrogenism, menstrual abnormalities and polycystic ovaries. Valproate may also increase the risk of infertility and other associated symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

In the first study by CWMH (Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health) researcher Dr. Hadine Joffe, 300 women with bipolar disorder (ages 18-45) who had received treatment with mood stabilisers like valproate were evaluated for treatment-emergent PCOS. It was found that around 10.5% of women on valproate had menstrual irregularity with hyperandrogenism as compared to 1.4% of the women on non-valproate anticonvulsants or lithium. It shows that the risk for PCOS increases by around 7.5-fold among valproate users. Women who started treatment with VPA at an earlier age were at a higher risk.

In the second study from the same team of researchers, seven women with treatment-emergent PCOS who were on valproate were observed over a long period of time. PCOS features resolved in three of the four women after stopping the valproate treatment. The PCOS symptoms persisted in all the other 3 women continuing valproate. While menstrual cycle irregularities usually improved among the women who discontinued valproate, body weight and polycystic ovarian morphology remained the same.

Hence, studies point towards a link between consumption of valproate and PCOS. Gynaecologists must keep a check on women who consume Valproate.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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