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  • Writer's pictureSusan Valproate Victims

Repurposing




It was dubbed the Wonderdrug back in the 70s as it worked so well and could be taken along with the contraceptive pill.  Wondrous indeed it was because they didn't know how it actually worked.  


So wonderful, that Harold Shipman the UK's worst serial killer of all time used it to kill one of his patients, I’m not sure whether that was before or after they repurposed it for dementia patients.  It is so hepatotoxic that it killed toddlers and was withdrawn for use in infants, and adult patients need regular platelet monitoring to ensure the safety of their liver.  It killed one couple’s daughter when she was given strong doses in what they described as a hospital experiment.  It even makes toddlers aggressive, according to the fabulous Dr Tanya Byron, child psychologist, preventing a potential lifelong psychological impact had the child’s aggression been put down to psychology rather than neurology.  And of course it has driven manic depressives to suicide, a side effect they discovered around the time it was repurposed it for bipolar.   


The NHS spend many millions (at my last count it was 24) buying valproate, yet it causes billions worth of harm to those whose mothers took it while they were pregnant.  Many of these are adults now and are questioning their own fertility, as it’s now been confirmed that it alters DNA. But almost always, alongside these articles there’s an argument presented by neurologists that it’s safer for the baby if the mother takes valproate than it is to have seizures, something not yet backed up by research as far as I can see anyway, because somehow it’s not that important for drugs producers to take time out to study the amazing and delicate process that is fetal development.


The latest surprise announcement is that valproate is better than topical corticosteroids for treating alopecia.  This is verging on snake oil salesmanship.

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