Outcome of renal proximal tubular dysfunction with Fanconi syndrome caused by sodium valproate

Pediatr Int. 2016 Oct;58(10):1023-1026. doi: 10.1111/ped.12956. Epub 2016 Jun 21.


Background: Although Fanconi syndrome is rare in patients with epilepsy treated with sodium valproate (VPA), the prevalence might be higher in children with severe motor and intellectual disabilities (SMID). VPA-induced Fanconi syndrome usually has a favorable outcome, but the long-term outcome of renal tubular dysfunction in SMID patients remains unknown. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the long-term outcome of renal proximal dysfunction in SMID children with Fanconi syndrome caused by VPA.

Methods: The records of six children with SMID and Fanconi syndrome caused by VPA were retrospectively reviewed to assess long-term proximal renal tubular function after discontinuation of VPA. All six patients had intractable epilepsy and required tube feeding.

Results: Proximal tubular dysfunction improved in almost all patients after VPA discontinuation, although abnormal uric acid reabsorption persisted in three patients. Five patients had hypocarnitinemia. After carnitine supplementation, one of these three patients with decreased ability to reabsorb uric acid had a normal serum level and improved fractional excretion of uric acid.

Conclusions: Secondary carnitine deficiency may cause prolonged tubular dysfunction in some SMID patients with VPA-induced Fanconi syndrome. Fanconi syndrome caused by VPA is a usually reversible dysfunction of the proximal tubules, but can be permanent. Although not effective for all patients, carnitine is recommended for patients with VPA-induced Fanconi syndrome, especially children with SMID.

Keywords: Fanconi syndrome; carnitine; kidney disease; renal tubular dysfunction; sodium valproate.

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Fanconi Syndrome / chemically induced
  • Fanconi Syndrome / complications*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Renal Insufficiency / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency / etiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Valproic Acid / adverse effects*
  • Valproic Acid / therapeutic use


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Valproic Acid