Review Article

Diabetic Ketoacidosis in a Patient Treated with Olanzapine, Valproic Acid, and Venlafaxine

Authors: Sirpa A. Tavakoli, MD, Maria S. Arguisola, MD


Several reports in the literature have associated treatment with atypical antipsychotic medications with the development of diabetes mellitus or related events. Infrequent case reports have described presentations with severe acute complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis. We recently saw a male patient with a history of bipolar disorder who developed the onset of acute diabetic ketoacidosis during treatment with olanzapine, valproic acid and venlafaxine. The patient remains insulin-dependent and frustrated at his newly acquired diabetes mellitus. This case demonstrates the importance of regular monitoring of the blood glucose level and body weight of patients with chronic mental illness, especially patients with a predisposition to diabetes mellitus who are being treated with certain and/or multiple psychotropic medications. Recently, several case reports and clinical trials have suggested the risk for hyperglycemia, diabetes mellitus, and diabetes-related complications emerging during treatment with atypical antipsychotic medications. 1 Rare case reports have described patients who presented with severe acute complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis. 2

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