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Valproic acid is associated with cognitive decline in HIV-infected individuals: a clinical observational study

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Author(s): Cysique Lucette | Maruff Paul | Brew Bruce

Journal: BMC Neurology
ISSN 1471-2377

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 42;
Date: 2006;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Valproic acid (VPA) is often used to control pain in HIV-related neuropathy. However, the effect of VPA on cognitive functions in advanced HIV-infected individuals is largely unknown. A recent study would suggest that it may have a neuroprotective effect, the doses used were low and the observation period short. Methods We used a well studied HIV-infected cohort assessed for a median of 15 (range 6–27 months) to determine whether individuals who were receiving VPA showed any cognitive benefits. Multiple regression procedures allowed us to control for the effects of HAART and HIV disease status as well as numbers of visits and variation in VPA intake over-time. Results We found a negative effect of VPA (mean dose of 850 mg/d for 18 months on average; range 6–27 months) on cognitive performance in eight advanced HIV-infected individuals compared to 32 advanced HIV-infected individuals on no VPA who had comparable neuropsychological performance at baseline. Control for plasma HIV viral load provided similar results. Conclusion Our results suggest that further studies of VPA in advanced HIV-infection should cautiously include high doses over prolonged periods of at least 18 months in order to more accurately determine whether the posited neuroprotective benefit of VPA still occurs or whether it is replaced by toxicity.

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