Background Valproic acid (VPA) is widely used for treating patients with bipolar disorder; however, it has adverse effects on cognitive function. This study investigated the effect of VPA on the risk of dementia in patients with bipolar disorder. Methods We analyzed data from Taiwan's Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2010. Patients with bipolar disorder who were prescribed VPA for 28 days or at least once per month for 3 consecutive months after the index date were classified as the VPA-treated group, whereas those who did not receive VPA were classified as the VPA-untreated group. Both groups were tracked until the end of 2013 or until loss to follow-up to identify new-onset dementia events. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) of subsequent dementia associated with VPA treatment after adjustment for confounding variables. Results The study comprised 5158 patients with bipolar disorder. The multivariable-adjusted HR for newly diagnosed dementia was 1.73 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-2.41, P=0.001) for the VPA-treated group compared with the VPA-untreated group after adjustment for potential confounders. The VPA-treated group had a higher risk than did the VPA-untreated group after propensity score adjustment (HR=1.95, 95% CI=1.42-2.67, P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2016


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dementia
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Valproic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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