Neurologic factors predict a favorable valproate response in bipolar and schizoaffective disorders.
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The hypothesis that neurologic factors influence the response to valproate (divalproex sodium) in bipolar and schizoaffective disorders was tested. In 115 predominantly lithium-refractory inpatients, neurologic findings were recorded, and blind raters assessed valproate response from the medical record. Patients with a seizure history were much more likely to have a robust response to valproate (70%), when compared with patients without such history (34.6%). History of head injury and abnormal electroencephalographic findings also tended to be more common in those patients with good response. Overall, the group of patients with any neurologic abnormality exhibited a significantly higher rate of good response to valproate (43.6%) than did the neurologically normal group (24.3%). Bipolar or schizoaffective patients with abnormal neurologic features may represent a distinct subtype of illness and appear to be good candidates for valproate therapy.