Valproic acid: Uses & Side effects

Valproic acid affects chemicals in the body that may be involved in causing seizures.

Valproic
acid is used to treat various types of seizure disorders. Valproic acid is
sometimes used together with other seizure medications.

Valproic acid is also used to treat manic episodes related to bipolar disorder (manic depression), and to prevent migraine headaches.

Important Information

Valproic
acid can cause liver failure that may be fatal, especially in children under
age 2 and in people with liver problems caused by certain genetic disorders.

You should not use valproic acid if you have liver disease, a urea cycle disorder, or a genetic disorder such as Alpers’ disease or Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome.

Follow your doctor’s instructions about taking
valproic acid if you are pregnant. Valproic acid
may harm an unborn baby, but having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both
mother and baby. The benefit of preventing seizures may outweigh any risks to
the baby.

Do not use valproic acid to prevent migraine
headaches if you are pregnant.

Call your doctor at once if the person taking this medicine has signs of liver or pancreas problems, such as: loss of appetite, upper stomach pain (that may spread to your back), ongoing nausea or vomiting, dark urine, swelling in the face, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Do
not stop using valproic acid without your doctor’s advice. Stopping suddenly
may cause a serious, life-threatening type of seizure.

Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Call your doctor at once if the person taking this
medicine has signs of liver or pancreas problems,
such as: loss of appetite, upper stomach pain (that may spread to your back),
ongoing nausea or vomiting, dark urine, swelling in the face, or jaundice
(yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call
your doctor at once if you have any of these other side effects:

  • confusion, tiredness, cold feeling, vomiting, change in your mental state;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, or gums), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • severe drowsiness;
  • worsening seizures; or
  • signs of inflammation in your body–swollen glands, flu symptoms, severe tingling or numbness, muscle weakness, chest pain, new or worsening cough with fever, trouble breathing.

Common
side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea;
  • dizziness, drowsiness, weakness;
  • headache;
  • tremors, problems with walking or coordination;
  • blurred vision, double vision;
  • hair loss; or
  • changes in appetite, weight gain.

Keywords: Valproic acid

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