Valproic acid was first synthesized in 1882 by Beverly S. Burton as an analogue of valeric acid , found naturally in valerian .  Valproic acid is a carboxylic acid , a clear liquid at room temperature. For many decades, its only use was in laboratories as a "metabolically inert" solvent for organic compounds. In 1962, the French researcher Pierre Eymard serendipitously discovered the anticonvulsant properties of valproic acid while using it as a vehicle for a number of other compounds that were being screened for antiseizure activity. He found it prevented pentylenetetrazol -induced convulsions in laboratory rats .  It was approved as an antiepileptic drug in 1967 in France and has become the most widely prescribed antiepileptic drug worldwide.  Valproic acid has also been used for migraine prophylaxis and bipolar disorder. 
Hippocrates described a syndrome of wasting and progressive inanition among patients who were ill and dying. Derived from the Greek words kakos, meaning “bad things,” and hexus, meaning “state of being,” the term cachexia has been used to describe weight loss. From an, meaning “without,” and orexis, meaning “appetite, desire,” the word anorexia is used to characterize loss of appetite. Cachexia, a hypercatabolic state that is defined by an accelerated loss of skeletal muscle in the context of a chronic inflammatory response, is best described in the setting of cancer but is also seen in other advanced chronic illnesses including AIDS, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) [ 1 ]. Although body composition changes are not identical in all of these disease states, the term cachexia is used in all of these settings.