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Pharm World Sci. 1994 Feb 18;16(1):2-6.

Can we develop improved derivatives of valproic acid?

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  • 1Department of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.


Valproic acid is one of the major antiepileptic drugs. In animal models, valproate showed less anticonvulsant potency than the other three established antiepileptic drugs: phenobarbital, phenytoin and carbamazepine. In addition, two major side-effects, teratogenicity and hepatotoxicity, have been associated with valproate therapy. Due to the above and the shortage of new antiepileptic drugs there is a substantial need to develop improved derivatives of valproate. This paper analyses three kinds of valproate derivatives: valpromide, the primary amide of valproate, and its analogues; monoester prodrugs of valproate and an active metabolite of valproate, 2-n-propyl-2-pentenoate. The comparative evaluation was carried out by pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analyses in animals. From the data accumulated so far, we can conclude that 2-n-propyl-2-pentenoate and/or a valpromide isomer, which does not undergo amide-acid biotransformation and preferably is not an epoxide hydrolase inhibitor, may prove to be improved derivatives of the parent compound valproic acid.

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