Purpose: Although Valproate (VPA) has several advantages in controlling seizures, it may cause serious hematological consequences. Hematotoxicity of VPA is particularly important in pediatrics because patients at this age are at a growing risk of leukemia. For a conclusive agreement about the toxicity of VPA, in this study, we systematically reviewed the literature in which the hematological consequences of VPA had been emphasized.
Methods: A systematic literature search was performed in June 2021 on electronic databases to find original research on the association between VPA therapy and hematotoxicity in pediatric patients. For this purpose, the following search terms “hematotoxicity”, “valproic acid” and “pediatrics” with different spellings and similar terms, were searched in the title, keywords, and abstracts of articles. The data were collected and used for qualitative data description.
Results: A total of 36 relevant articles with an overall 1381 study population were included. The results showed that VPA could cause severe hematotoxicity in children even at therapeutic doses. Neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and bone marrow depression are the most common complications associated with VPA therapy. Also, findings showed that after discontinuation of VPA and starting other antiepileptic drugs or reducing the administered VPA dose, hematologic damages were entirely resolved, and all the hematological parameters improved during two weeks.
Conclusion: This review showed that VPA therapy could cause hematotoxicity in children; hence, it is recommended to monitor hematological indices during VPA therapy. Also, according to the suggested mechanistic pathways of VPA side effects, a combination of VPA with antioxidants may reduce hematological side effects.
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