Valproic Acid Lab Test

Valproic Acid
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Clinical Definition of Valproic Acid

Valproic acid is used to treat certain seizure disorders (epilepsy), bipolar disease and prevent migraine headaches. It is recommended in conjunction with other antiepileptic drugs like phenytoin or phenobarbital to keep a check on certain seizures. Seizure disorders impact the brain's ability to transmit electrical impulses and monitor nerve activity. The valproic acid level is maintained within a narrow therapeutic range as a lesser amount of this drug can lead to recurrence of symptoms and anything in excess results in the severity of the mentioned symptoms.

During a seizure, a person experiences alterations in sight, smell, and taste, convulsions, and changes in consciousness. Bipolar disorder is a mental condition that is indicated by cycles of depression and mania. 

What is Valproic Acid test?

Valproic Acid is a medication prescribed for treatment of seizures, bipolar disorders (mental or mood conditions) and to treat migraine headaches. This acid is also known as Sodium Valproate acid.

Valproic Acid test is taken to measure and monitor the amount of valproic acid present in the blood sample. This test performed show drug toxicity levels and even during treatment and post-treatment drug toxicity levels.

Sample Required for Valproic Acid Test?

Specimen type: Serum (Blood Sample), Specimen collection procedure: Venipuncture - Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm.

Reasons to take Valproic Acid Test

• Alterations in sight, smell, and taste

• Head trauma

• Migraine headaches

• Metabolic disorders

• A brain tumour

• High fever

• Changes in consciousness

• Convulsions Severe infections

When do you expect results?

24 to 36 Hours

What other tests might I have along with Valproic Acid test?

Valproic acid is a drug used to primarily lessen the severity and frequency of uncontrolled seizures. Alongside this test, the doctor may be prescribing a combination of certain antiepileptic drugs: phenytoin or Phenobarbital.

Why do I need Valproic Acid test?

Valproic acid treatment is mainly required to control seizures also known as epilepsy, bipolar disorders. Valproic acid is very effective for migraine treatment as well.

Seizure disorders disrupt the brain’s ability to transmit signals and monitor nerve activity. These disruptions lead to mental conditions caused due to temporary communication problems from the nerves cells to the brain. This leads to mild symptoms like (staring into space or blinking) and severe (the whole body trembling or fainting).

Seizures can be caused due to various reasons:

1. Infections like meningitis or encephalitis

2. Brain trauma caused due to accidents or lack of oxygen during birth

3. A genetic or metabolic disorder

4. A stroke or a brain tumour

5. Congenital brain or malformation of a Blood vessel

Usually what leads to seizures, can possibly remain unknown.

This test is done to monitor the amount of valproic acid which is an anticonvulsant test existing in the blood sample. Valproic acid is mainly done to prevent these seizures.

What do my test results mean?

The Valproic acid normal range should be maintained within a limited therapeutic range. The normal range of Valproic acid level is between 50-125ug/mL for both genders and all age groups. The Valproic acid toxicity level is more than 150ug/mL.

Generally, if the valproic acid is within the normal range, and if the person is not affected by recurrent seizures, migraines or mood swings, and not having any side effects, then the dosage is considered to be adequate.

Why Get Tested?

The valproic acid test is done to monitor the concentration of valproic acid in the blood and to detect low or excessive (potentially toxic) concentrations.

The Procedure to take Valproic Acid test?

Venipuncture- A needle is inserted into the vein of the arm and blood is pulled out. The skin surface is then wiped with an antiseptic and a tape is placed over the area. This procedure takes place in 5 minutes.

The results will usually take a couple of hours or the next day.

Does Valproic Acid test pose any risk?

This medical test is usually safe. The only problems during or post this test would include lightheadedness due to blood been taken. Some amount of pain may occur when blood is taken out due to multiple pricking while trying to locate the vein.

What might affect my test results?

The valproic acid drug dosage should be taken as prescribed by the doctor. A high or low dosage or stoppage of this medication can affect the valproic acid test results which may again lead to seizures or other side effects.

Valproic acid side effects

1. Nausea

2. Fever

3. Headaches

4. Sleep problems

5. Hair loss

6. Rashes on skin

7. Dizziness or fainting

8. Memory problems

9. Depression

10. Indigestion or stomach ache

11. Constipation

12. Diarrhoea

13. A sore Throat

14. Sneezing

15. Flu symptoms

16. A cough

17. Bruising

Preparations Needed for Valproic Acid Test

No Fasting Required.

No other special preparations required.

How is Valproic Acid test done?

To conduct a Valproic acid blood test, there are no predetermined preparations.

However, before the test is conducted the doctor needs to be aware of any pre-medications taken, as this can affect the test results.

Understanding results of Valproic Acid

Reference RangeInterpretation
50 to 100 µg/mlTherapeutic range

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

References

  1. http://www.childrensmn.org/references/lab/chemistry/valproic-acid-level.pdf
  2. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/valproic-acid
  3. http://www.pinnaclehealth.org/wellness-library/blog-and-staywell/health-resources/article/25249
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100435/
  5. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/test-valproic.html
  6. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/test-valproic.html