To investigate whether epileptic patients who become obese after valproic acid (VPA) therapy can have a high risk of atherosclerosis related to the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein, we prospectively studied the plasma concentrations of lipid-soluble antioxidant vitamins in a group of 20 epileptic girls and 20 controls. After 1 year of VPA treatment, epileptic patients who gained weight had decreased plasma concentrations of α-tocopherol and α- and β-carotene, the main lipid-soluble antioxidants. Moreover, 5 patients who gained weight were reevaluated 6 months after withdrawal from VPA therapy and showed normal body mass indices and normalized plasma levels of antioxidants. In conclusion, the data suggest that epileptic patients who gain weight after VPA therapy have reduced plasma concentrations of antioxidant vitamins and that these reductions are reversible after VPA withdrawal.
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