In an 8-week open-trial substitution study, 64 subjects with seizure disorders living at an ICF/MR were randomly assigned to either brand-named Depakene or generic Valproic Acid USP (Solvay) medication. After 4 weeks, they were switched to the other medication. Blood levels and seizures were monitored. The price of the generic Valproic Acid was less than one tenth the price of Depakene. Results show that subjects had no statistically significant changes in seizures or blood levels when the two treatment regimens were compared. These findings suggest that generic Valproic Acid USP (Solvay) may be successfully used in this population, resulting in substantial cost savings.

We thank the following individuals for their assistance with this study: staff from the Abilene State School; pharmacists john Craft, Dwight Meeks, and Steve Williamson; Linda Hinshaw, RN; the LVNs and RNs who participated; Donna Williams and Lynn Dunn, who analyzed blood samples; and attending physicians Edmund Allen, Boi Vu, and Vincent Priestner. Staff members who conducted this research were supported and encouraged by the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (TDMHMR). We thank Bill Waddill, superintendent of Abilene State School, and Rick Campbell, director of Mental Retardation Services for TDMHMR, who assisted with the funding of Southwest Institute for Developmental Disabilities (SIDDA) during this project. We also thank SIDDA colleagues Delia Elliott, evaluator, and Mary McCann, secretary, for the many hours spent editing and typing the drafts of this manuscript. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the TDMHMR.

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