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VALPROIC ACID

About the test
What is this test done for?
The serum valproic acid test is a test to measure its concentration in the blood so as to maintain a therapeutic level.
Why is it Done?
The test is mainly done to assess whether the intake of the valproic acid is in the therapeutic range and to adjust accordingly. It is also done to monitor the levels in patients, especially those who are epileptic and who have stopped taking valproic acid. It is done to rule out low or high levels of the drug in the blood and also when the doctor doubts that patient has not been taking the medicine at all.
When should it be performed?

The test is mainly done before starting the treatment for epilepsy or mania to monitor the doses and also when a person is on treatment to assess whether the dose is in the therapeutic range. Sometimes the treatment may produce certain side effects which have to be monitored. The symptoms are:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Blurred vision
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Mood swings
  • Hives
How is it done
A blood sample will be collected from a vein in your arm. Ideal time for doing the test is shortly after taking the initial dose or shortly after dose adjustment.
Results
The therapeutic levels are 50 to 125 micrograms/mL. In cases of epilepsy, the dose is 50 to 100 micrograms/mL and in acute mania, it is 85 to 125micrograms/mL. So if the levels are anywhere below the normal range, then more of the drug should be given and if they are higher, then the dose should be reduced. Dose concentration should further be assessed well in both the cases.
Other Tests
Since valproic acid is known to damage the liver as a side effect, liver function tests should be performed at regular intervals to keep a check.
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