Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease during valproate therapy

Eur J Pediatr. 2009 Nov;168(11):1391-4. doi: 10.1007/s00431-009-0927-y. Epub 2009 Jan 30.


Valproic acid (VPA) is effective for the treatment of many types of epilepsy, but its use can be associated with an increase in body weight. We report a case of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) arising in a child who developed obesity during VPA treatment. Laboratory data revealed hyperinsulinemia with insulin resistance. After the withdrawal of VPA therapy, our patient showed a significant weight loss, a decrease of body mass index, and normalization of metabolic and endocrine parameters; moreover, ultrasound measurements showed a complete normalization. The present case suggests that obesity, hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, and long-term treatment with VPA may be all associated with the development of NAFLD; this side effect is reversible after VPA withdrawal.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Fatty Liver / chemically induced*
  • Fatty Liver, Alcoholic / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperinsulinism / chemically induced
  • Obesity / chemically induced*
  • Valproic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Valproic Acid / adverse effects*
  • Weight Gain / drug effects*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Valproic Acid