Acute Hypoxic Respiratory Failure /Hyperammonemic encephalopathy in the setting of concurrent use of valproic acid and topiramate

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Fuad Zeid Yonas Raru


Valproic acid (VPA) is widely used for the treatment of epilepsy, migraine, and a variety of psychiatric symptoms, including bipolar disorderborderline personality disorder, and alcohol withdrawal. Valproate is associated with severe idiosyncratic adverse effects, the most notable being valproate-induced hyperammonemic encephalopathy (VHE). Topiramate is also a broad-spectrum anticonvulsant that is also extensively used for migraine prophylaxis, as a mood stabilizer, and for alcohol dependency. There is increased occurrence of VHE when valproate is used with other medications like phenytoinphenobarbital, and topiramate. We report a young patient who was on valproic acid and topiramate and developed metabolic encephalopathy with hypoxic respiratory failure with review of the causes and management of the hyperammonemic encephalopathy. We believe that clinicians should be aware of possible hyperammonemic encephalopathy in any patient who is taking valproic acid and presenting with impaired consciousness and cognitive decline. We also underline the importance of early recognition and high index of suspicion of encephalopathy related to hyperammonemia.

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ZEID, Fuad; RARU, Yonas. Acute Hypoxic Respiratory Failure /Hyperammonemic encephalopathy in the setting of concurrent use of valproic acid and topiramate. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 9, n. 4, apr. 2021. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 14 may 2021. doi:
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