Trichotillomania: A case of response to valproic acid

Edore C. Adewuya, William Zinser, Christopher Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Trichotillomania (TTM) is a commonly undiagnosed psychiatric illness with known medical complications whose symptoms interfere markedly with daily functioning. Studies regarding the pharmacological treatment of TTM in the adult or pediatric population are sparse, and there is a lack of consensus on drug treatment for TTM. The current trend is to use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on the basis of the current hypothesis that TTM may be a part of the obsessive compulsive spectrum of disorders. However, attempts to substantiate the efficacy of SSRI use in TTM has produced conflicting results. There is increasing evidence that mood stabilizers decrease symptoms of TTM. We present the case of a 10-year-old girl whose lifelong hair-plucking symptoms showed remarkable sustained improvement in response to increased levels of valproic acid. This report, the first with valproic acid, indicates that this drug is potentially effective in significantly reducing symptoms of TTM in a sustained manner. This single case report calls for further investigation regarding the utility of valproic acid in the treatment of TTM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-536
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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