S50 Valproate in modern psychiatric practice: current benefit: risk and audit of use

Date: Thursday 13 July
Time: 2.40pm - 3.55pm
Stream: Psychopharmacology

Since the millennium, valproate has become a front-line treatment for bipolar disorders, with the perception of this being, particularly in comparison to lithium, easier to use for both patients and doctors. In recent years, however, increasing concerns have been raised about high risks of organ dysgenesis and neurodevelopmental disorders following in utero exposure, forcing major regulatory actions. Detailed scrutiny of valproate's extensive actions is, in addition, raising further questions about long-term safety outwith pregnancy, in relation to metabolic, hormonal and possible trans-generational epigenetic effects. This is a crucial and evolving issue in clinical psychopharmacology, the facts of which need to be known to prescribers as specific actions are required to meet the terms of the license. However, in the UK most prescriptions are still for compounds not licensed for use in mood disorders. This session aims to provide an up-to-date overview of the benefit: risk of valproate in current psychiatric practice - the evidence supporting its use, the reasons for regulatory concern and, via large-scale clinical audit, how it is being prescribed and monitored in practice.

This session aims to provide you with

  • an up-to-date presentation of current evidence supporting the efficacy of valproate in bipolar affective disorders (the 'benefit')
  • awareness of the reasons for regulatory concerns about in utero exposure and wider exposure issues in both genders, independent of pregnancy (the 'risks')
  • information on how and why valproate is currently being prescribed in this country and potential implications

Chair: David Owens, University of Edinburgh,  Edinburgh, United Kingdom 

The evidence for the efficacy of valproate in bipolar disorder

Guy Goodwin, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom 

Sodium valproate: reasons for regulatory concern

Sarah Mee, Medicines and Healthcare-products Regulatory Agency, London, United Kingdom 

Prescription of valproate in mental health services; QI issues identified by clinical audit

Thomas Barnes, Imperial College, University of London, London, United Kingdom

Please email congress@rcpsych.ac.uk or call 020 8618 4120 with any enquiries.