Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience Papers in Press available online.

 
Blood levels of ammonia and carnitine in patients treated with valproic acid: a meta-analysis.
Saaya Yokoyama1, Norio Sugawara 1,*, Kazushi Maruo , Norio Yasui-Furukori 1, Kazutaka Shimoda 1
1Department of Psychiatry, Dokkyo Medical University School of Medicine, 2Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba
Abstract
Objective: Long-term VPA administration is associated with adverse metabolic effects, including hyperammonemia and hypocarnitinemia. However, the pathogeneses of these adverse events remain unclear, and not enough reviews have been performed. The aim of this study was to conduct a meta-analysis of studies examining blood levels of ammonia and carnitine in patients treated with VPA.
Methods: We conducted database searches (PubMed, Web of Science) to identify studies examining blood levels of ammonia and carnitine in patients treated with VPA. A meta-analysis was performed to conduct pre- and post-VPA treatment comparisons, cross-sectional comparisons between groups with and without VPA use, and estimations of the standardized correlations between blood levels of ammonia, carnitine, and VPA.
Results: According to the cross-sectional comparisons, the blood ammonia level in the VPA group was significantly higher than that in the non-VPA group. Compared to that in the non-VPA group, the blood carnitine level in the VPA group was significantly lower. In the meta-analysis of correlation coefficients, the blood VPA level was moderately correlated with blood ammonia and blood free carnitine levels in the random effects model. Furthermore, the blood ammonia level was moderately correlated with the blood free carnitine level.
Conclusions: Although the correlation between ammonia and free carnitine levels in blood was significant, the moderate strength of the correlation does not allow clinicians to infer free carnitine levels from the results of ammonia levels. Clinicians should measure both blood ammonia and free carnitine levels, especially in patients receiving high dosages of VPA.
Accepted Manuscript [Submitted on 2021-05-20, Accepted on 2021-07-28]