Valproate-associated hair abnormalities: Pathophysiology and management strategies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: To review the literature on valproate-associated hair abnormalities and the available treatment options. Methods: We searched PubMed and Google Scholar with keywords including “valproate”, “valproic acid”, “hair”, “alopecia”, and “effluvium,” supplemented with hand search from cross-references. We included all types of studies including case reports in this review. Results: The pathophysiology of hair loss includes telogen effluvium, biotin, mineral deficiency, and possibly hyperandrogenism. Diagnosis is based on history of hair loss or abnormalities following valproate treatment, and is confirmed by use of simple clinical tests such as pull test and modified wash test. Treatment involves reassurance and advice on hair care, and if possible drug discontinuation or dose reduction. Medications such as biotin and other vitamins with minerals supplementation is effective for most individuals with hair loss. Other treatment options are agomelatine, topical valproate or minoxidil, though these lack evidence. Conclusion: Hair abnormalities with valproate are common, benign adverse effects, and management includes general measures and specific treatment options.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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