Valproate-induced insulin resistance in prepubertal girls with epilepsy

Tan H., Orbak Z., Kantarci M., Kocak N., Karaca L.

JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC ENDOCRINOLOGY & METABOLISM, vol.18, no.10, pp.985-989, 2005 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Doi Number: 10.1515/jpem.2005.18.10.985
  • Page Numbers: pp.985-989


Valproate is commonly used for treatment of a variety of seizure types in both children and adults. However, if the medication is started before the age of 20 years, it may affect reproductive endocrine functions. In order to investigate the possible role of valproate treatment in the development of obesity, hyperinsulinism and polycystic ovaries, we studied metabolic parameters and ovarian morphology/size in prepubertal girls with epilepsy. Our study included 14 girls with epilepsy and 15 healthy age-matched controls. The age of the patients ranged from 7 years to 13 years. Mean body weight, fasting serum insulin and glucose levels and HOMA index of girls in the study group were significantly greater than those of the control girls (p < 0.05). Serum androstenedione, prolactin and free testosterone were significantly lower in the VPA-treated girls than in the controls, whereas SHBG level was higher (p < 0.05). There was no difference between the groups for ovarian morphology. In conclusion, our findings showed that valproate treatment may lead to hyperinsulinemia and hypoandrogenism during the prepubertal period. This emphasizes that a mature adult endocrine system may not be necessary for the development of VPA-related hyperinsulinemia.