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Valproate overdose leading to hyperammonaemic encephalopathy
  1. Deepak S Sharma1,
  2. Sandeep Gupta2 and
  3. Priyanka Sharma3
  1. 1Anaesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Department of Research, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston Campus, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Deepak S Sharma, Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Birmingham, United Kingdom; deepu84in{at}


Sodium valproate is a commonly prescribed anticonvulsant medication; however, it can cause uncommon side effects such as hyperammonaemia and encephalopathy. We present the case of a male in his early 50s brought to the emergency department after being found collapsed by his wife, with an empty bottle of sodium valproate tablets. The patient developed hyperammonaemic encephalopathy due to sodium valproate overdose and was treated with supportive care and renal replacement therapy. This case highlights the importance of recognising the potential complications of sodium valproate and its prompt treatment.

  • toxicology
  • drugs: cns (not psychiatric)
  • adult intensive care
  • neurology (drugs and medicines)

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  • Contributors Drafting of the text, sourcing and editing of clinical images, investigation results, drawing original diagrams and algorithms, critical revision for important intellectual content and gave final approval of the manuscript: DSS, SG and PS.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.