College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Sodium Valproate Withdrawal Correlates With Reduced Aggression

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-2014

Keywords

Aggression; Bipolar Disorder; Learning Disability; Sodium Valproate

Publication Title

British Journal of Learning Disabilities

ISSN

1354-4187

Volume

42

Issue/No.

2

Abstract

Accessible Summary

  • A 16-year-old boy diagnosed with a mild learning disability, atypical autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder and epilepsy was admitted to a residential special school for treatment of severe aggression.
  • Prior to admission, he had been prescribed various psychotropic medications, including sodium valproate, to treat his aggressive behaviour, bipolar disorder and epilepsy.
  • His behaviour improved when his medication was stopped.

Summary

People with learning disabilities are sometimes prescribed psychotropic medication to help manage their challenging behaviour. This case study describes how a multicomponent behavioural intervention in conjunction with the systematic withdrawal of sodium valproate was strongly correlated with reduced aggression. No symptoms of bipolar disorder or epilepsy were observed over the course of this 135-week case study. No aggression was observed during the last 20 weeks of the study. Aggressive behaviour as a possible side effect of sodium valproate should be considered in people with learning disabilities.

DOI

10.1111/bld.12019