Epilim/Epilim Chrono穩得寧

Epilim/Epilim Chrono

valproic acid

Manufacturer:

Sanofi

Distributor:

DCH Auriga - Healthcare
/
Four Star
Full Prescribing Info
Contents
Sodium valproate.
Description
EPILIM 100mg Crushable Tablets: Each Crushable Tablet contains 100mg of Sodium Valproate.
EPILIM 200 Enteric Coated Tablets: Each Enteric Coated Tablet contains 200mg of Sodium Valproate.
EPILIM 200mg/5ml Syrup: Each 5ml of syrup contains 200mg of Sodium Valproate.
EPILIM 400mg Powder and Solvent for Solution for Injection/Infusion: Each vial of freeze-dried powder contains 400mg of Sodium Valproate.
Each ampoule of solvent contains 4ml of Water for Injection.
Epilim Chrono: Epilim Chrono (unscored tablet) prolonged-release tablet.
Epilim Chrono 200 per tab: Sodium valproate 133.2 mg; Valproic acid 58.0 mg corresponding to 200 mg of sodium valproate for 1 tablet.
Epilim Chrono 300 per tab: Sodium valproate 199.8 mg; Valproic acid 87.0 mg corresponding to 300 mg of sodium valproate for 1 tablet.
Epilim Chrono 500 per tab: Sodium valproate 333.0 mg; Valproic acid 145.0 mg corresponding to 500 mg of sodium valproate for 1 tablet.
Action
Pharmacotherapeutic group: Oral: Anti-epileptics. Inj: Anti-epileptics; fatty acid derivatives. ATC code: N03AG01.
Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics: Sodium valproate is an anticonvulsants.
The most likely mode of action for Epilim is potentiation of the inhibitory action of gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA) through an action on the further synthesis or further metabolism of GABA.
In certain in-vitro studies it was reported that Epilim could stimulate HIV replication but studies on peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HIV-infected subjects show that Epilim does not have a mitogen-like effect on inducing HIV replication. Indeed the effect of Epilim on HIV replication ex-vivo is highly variable, modest in quantity, appears to be unrelated to the dose and has not been documented in man.
Pharmacokinetics: In patients with severe renal insufficiency it may be necessary to alter dosage in accordance with free plasma valproic acid levels.
The reported effective therapeutic range for plasma valproic acid levels is 40-100 mg/litre (278-694 micromol/litre). This reported range may depend on time of sampling and presence of co-medication. The percentage of free (unbound) drug is usually between 6% and 15% of the total plasma levels. An increased incidence of adverse effects may occur with plasma levels above the effective therapeutic range.
The pharmacological (or therapeutic) effects of Epilim may not be clearly correlated with the total or free (unbound) plasma valproic acid levels.
Metabolism: The major pathway of valproate biotransformation is glucuronidation (~40%), mainly via UGT1A6, UGT1A9 and UGT2B7.
The half-life of Epilim is usually reported to be within the range 8-20 hours. It is usually shorter in children.
Interaction with oestrogen-containing products: Inter-individual variability has been noted. There are insufficient data to establish a robust PK-PD relationship resulting from this PK interaction.
Epilim Chrono: Epilim Chrono formulations are prolonged release formulations which demonstrate in pharmacokinetic studies less fluctuation in plasma concentration compared with other established conventional and modified-release Epilim formulations.
In cases where measurement of plasma levels is considered necessary, the pharmacokinetics of Epilim Chrono make the measurement of plasma levels less dependent upon time of sampling.
The Epilim Chrono formulations are bioequivalent to Epilim Liquid and enteric coated (EC) formulations with respect to the mean areas under the plasma concentration time curves. Steady-state pharmacokinetic data indicate that the peak concentration (Cmax) and trough concentration (Cmin) of Epilim Chrono lie within the effective therapeutic range of plasma levels found in pharmacokinetic studies with Epilim EC.
Toxicology: Preclinical safety data: Oral: Not applicable.
Inj: There are no pre-clinical data of relevance to the prescriber which are additional to that already included in other sections of the SPC.
Indications/Uses
Epilim: Oral: In the treatment of generalized, partial or other epilepsy.
Inj: The treatment of epileptic patients who would normally be maintained on oral sodium valproate, and for whom oral therapy is temporarily not possible.
Epilim Chrono: Treatment of generalised, partial or other epilepsy.
Treatment of manic episodes, maintenance and prophylactic treatment of bipolar disease in patients not responding to or tolerating lithium.
Dosage/Direction for Use
Oral: Epilim: EPILIM 100mg Crushable Tablets, EPILIM 200 Enteric Coated Tablets and EPILIM 200mg/5ml Syrup are for oral administration.
Daily dosage requirements vary according to age and body weight.
EPILIM 100mg Crushable Tablets may be given twice daily. Uncoated tablets may be crushed if necessary.
EPILIM 200 Enteric Coated Tablets may be given twice daily. Tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewed.
EPILIM Syrup may be given twice daily. If it is necessary to dilute EPILIM Syrup, the recommended diluent is Syrup BP, but syrup containing SO2 as a preservative should not be used. The diluted product will have a 14-day shelf-life.
In patients where adequate control has been achieved EPILIM Chrono formulations are interchangeable with other conventional or prolonged release formulations on an equivalent daily dosage basis.
Epilim Chrono: Epilim Chrono Controlled Release tablets are for oral administration.
Epilim Chrono is a prolonged release formulation of Epilim which reduces peak concentration and ensures more even plasma concentrations throughout the day.
Epilim Chrono may be given once or twice daily. The tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewed.
Daily dosage requirements vary according to age and body weight.
In patients where adequate control has been achieved Epilim Chrono formulations are interchangeable with other Epilim conventional or prolonged release formulations on an equivalent daily dosage basis.
Inj: Epilim vial: Epilim Intravenous may be given by direct slow intravenous injection or by infusion using a separate intravenous line in normal saline, dextrose 5%, or dextrose saline.
Dosage: Oral: Epilim/Epilim Chrono: Usual requirements are as follows: Adults: Dosage should start at 600mg daily increasing by 200mg at three-day intervals until control is achieved. This is generally within the dosage range 1000mg to 2000mg per day, ie. 20-30mg/kg body weight. Where adequate control is not achieved within this range the dose may be further increased to 2500mg per day.
Children over 20kg: Initial dosage should be 400mg/day (irrespective of weight) with spaced increases until control is achieved; this is usually within the range 20-30mg/kg body weight per day. Where adequate control is not achieved within this range the dose may be increased to 35mg/kg body weight per day.
Epilim: Children under 20kg: 20mg/kg of body weight per day; in severe cases this may be increased but only in patients in whom plasma valproic acid levels can be monitored. Above 40mg/kg/day, clinical chemistry and haematological parameters should be monitored.
Epilim Chrono: Children under 20kg: An alternative formulation of Epilim should be used in this group of patients, due to the tablet size and need for dose titration. Epilim Syrup is an alternative.
Mania: The recommended maintenance dosage for treatment of bipolar disease is between 500 mg and 2000 mg daily divided in 1 or 2 doses. In exceptional cases the dose may be increased to not more than 3000 mg daily. The individual dosage depends on the clinical effect, but plasma levels of 50-125 microgram/ml should be aimed at. In prophylactic treatment the lowest possible dose should be given.
Inj: Epilim vial: Daily dosage requirements vary according to age and body weight.
To reconstitute, inject the solvent provided (4ml) into the vial, allow to dissolve and extract the appropriate dose. Due to displacement of solvent by sodium valproate the concentration of reconstituted sodium valproate is 95 mg/ml.
Each vial of Epilim Intravenous is for single dose injection only. It should be reconstituted immediately prior to use and infusion solutions containing it used within 24 hours. Any unused portion should be discarded. (See Special precautions for disposal and other handling under Cautions for Usage).
Epilim Intravenous should not be administered via the same IV line as other IV additives. The intravenous solution is suitable for infusion by PVC, polyethylene or glass containers.
Patients already satisfactorily treated with Epilim may be continued at their current dosage using continuous or repeated infusion. Other patients may be given a slow intravenous injection over 3-5 minutes, usually 400-800 mg depending on body weight (up to 10 mg/kg) followed by continuous or repeated infusion up to a maximum of 2500 mg/day.
Epilim Intravenous should be replaced by oral Epilim therapy as soon as practicable.
Use with children: Daily requirement for children is usually in the range 20-30 mg/kg/day and method of administration is as above. Where adequate control is not achieved within this range the dose may be increased up to 40 mg/kg/day but only in patients in whom plasma valproic acid levels can be monitored. Above 40 mg/kg/day clinical chemistry and haematological parameters should be monitored.
Epilim/Epilim Chrono/Epilim vial: Use in the elderly: Although the pharmacokinetics of Epilim are modified in the elderly, they have limited clinical significance and dosage should be determined by seizure control. The volume of distribution is increased in the elderly and because of decreased binding to serum albumin, the proportion of free drug is increased. This will affect the clinical interpretation of plasma valproic acid levels.
In patients with renal insufficiency: It may be necessary to decrease dosage. Dosage should be adjusted according to clinical monitoring since monitoring of plasma concentrations may be misleading (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions).
In patients with hepatic insufficiency: Salicylates should not be used concomitantly with Epilim since they employ the same metabolic pathway (see also Warnings, Precautions and Adverse Reactions).
Liver dysfunction, including hepatic failure resulting in fatalities, has occurred in patients whose treatment included valproic acid (see Contraindications and Warnings and Precautions)
Salicylates should not be used in children under 16 years (see aspirin/salicylate product information on Reye's syndrome). In addition in conjunction with Epilim, concomitant use in children under 3 years can increase the risk of liver toxicity (see Warnings).
Female children and women of childbearing potential: Valproate must be initiated and supervised by a specialist experienced in the management of epilepsy. Valproate should not be used in female children and women of childbearing potential unless other treatments are ineffective or not tolerated (see Contraindications, Warnings, Precautions and Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Valproate is prescribed and dispensed according to the Valproate Pregnancy Prevention Programme (see Contraindications, Warnings and Precautions). The benefits and risks should be carefully reconsidered at regular treatment reviews (see Warnings and Precautions).
Valproate should preferably be prescribed as monotherapy and at the lowest effective dose, if possible as a prolonged release formulation. The daily dose should be divided into at least two single doses (see Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Combined Therapy: When starting Epilim in patients already on other anticonvulsants, these should be tapered slowly. Initiation of Epilim therapy should then be gradual, with target dose being reached after about 2 weeks. In certain cases it may be necessary to raise the dose by 5-10mg/kg/day when used in combination with anticonvulsants which induce liver enzyme activity, eg. phenytoin, phenobarbital and carbamazepine. Once known enzyme inducers have been withdrawn it may be possible to maintain seizure control on a reduced dose of Epilim. When barbiturates are being administered concomitantly and particularly if sedation is observed (particularly in children) the dosage of barbiturate should be reduced.
NB: In children requiring doses higher than 40mg/kg/day clinical chemistry and haematological parameters should be monitored.
Optimum dosage is mainly determined by seizure control and routine measurement of plasma levels is unnecessary. However, a method for measurement of plasma levels is available and may be helpful where there is poor control or side effects are suspected (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions).
Overdosage
Cases of accidental and deliberate Epilim overdosage have been reported. At plasma concentrations of up to 5 to 6 times the maximum therapeutic levels, there are unlikely to be any symptoms other than nausea, vomiting and dizziness.
Signs of acute massive overdose, i.e. plasma concentration 10 to 20 times maximum therapeutic levels, usually include CNS depression or coma with muscular hypotonia, hyporeflexia, miosis, impaired respiratory function, metabolic acidosis, hypotension and circulatory collapse/shock. A favourable outcome is usual, however some deaths have occurred following massive overdose.
Symptoms may however be variable and seizures have been reported in the presence of very high plasma levels (see also Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions). Cases of intracranial hypertension related to cerebral oedema have been reported.
The presence of sodium content in the Epilim formulations may lead to hypernatraemia when taken in overdose.
Hospital management of overdose should be symptomatic, including cardio-respiratory monitoring.
Gastric lavage may be useful up to 10-12 hours following ingestion.
Haemodialysis and haemoperfusion have been used successfully.
Naloxone has been successfully used in a few isolated cases, sometimes in association with activated charcoal given orally. In case of massive overdose, haemodialysis and haemoperfusion have been used successfully.
Contraindications
Epilim is contraindicated in the following situations: In pregnancy unless there is no suitable alternative treatment (see Warnings, Precautions and Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
In women of childbearing potential unless the conditions of the pregnancy prevention programme are fulfilled (see Warnings, Precautions and Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Active liver disease.
Personal or family history of severe hepatic dysfunction, especially drug related.
Patients with known urea cycle disorders (see Warnings and Precautions).
Hypersensitivity to sodium valproate.
Porphyria.
Valproate is contraindicated in patients known to have mitochondrial disorders caused by mutations in the nuclear gene encoding the mitochondrial enzyme polymerase γ (POLG), e.g. Alpers-Huttenlocher Syndrome, and in children under two years of age who are suspected of having a POLG-related disorder (see Warnings and Precautions).
Warnings
Although there is no specific evidence of sudden recurrence of underlying symptoms following withdrawal of valproate, discontinuation should normally only be done under the supervision of a specialist in a gradual manner. This is due to the possibility of sudden alterations in plasma concentrations giving rise to a recurrence of symptoms. NICE has advised that generic switching of valproate preparations is not normally recommended due to the clinical implications of possible variations in plasma concentrations.
Liver dysfunction: Conditions of occurrence: Severe liver damage, including hepatic failure sometimes resulting in fatalities, has been very rarely reported. Experience in epilepsy has indicated that patients most at risk, especially in cases of multiple anticonvulsant therapy, are infants and in particular young children under the age of 3 years and those with severe seizure disorders, organic brain disease, and (or) congenital metabolic or degenerative disease associated with mental retardation. After the age of 3 years, the incidence of occurrence is significantly reduced and progressively decreases with age.
The concomitant use of salicylates should be avoided in children under 3 years due to the risk of liver toxicity. Additionally, salicylates should not be used in children under 16 years (see aspirin/salicylate product information on Reye's syndrome).
Monotherapy is recommended in children under the age of 3 years when prescribing Epilim, but the potential benefit of Epilim should be weighed against the risk of liver damage or pancreatitis in such patients prior to initiation of therapy.
In most cases, such liver damage occurred during the first 6 months of therapy, the period of maximum risk being 2-12 weeks.
Suggestive signs: Clinical symptoms are essential for early diagnosis. In particular the following conditions, which may precede jaundice, should be taken into consideration, especially in patients at risk (see as previously mentioned: Conditions of occurrence): Non-specific symptoms, usually of sudden onset, such as asthenia, malaise, anorexia, lethargy, oedema and drowsiness, which are sometimes associated with repeated vomiting and abdominal pain.
In patients with epilepsy, recurrence of seizures.
These are an indication for immediate withdrawal of the drug.
Patients (or their family for children) should be instructed to report immediately any such signs to a physician should they occur. Investigations including clinical examination and biological assessment of liver function should be undertaken immediately.
Detection: Liver function should be measured before therapy and then periodically monitored during the first 6 months of therapy, especially in those who seem most at risk, and those with a prior history of liver disease.
Amongst usual investigations, tests which reflect protein synthesis, particularly prothrombin rate, are most relevant.
Confirmation of an abnormally low prothrombin rate, particularly in association with other biological abnormalities (significant decrease in fibrinogen and coagulation factors; increased bilirubin level and raised transaminases) requires cessation of Epilim therapy.
As a matter of precaution and in case they are taken concomitantly salicylates should also be discontinued since they employ the same metabolic pathway.
As with most antiepileptic drugs, increased liver enzymes are common, particularly at the beginning of therapy; they are also transient.
More extensive biological investigations (including prothrombin rate) are recommended in these patients; a reduction in dosage may be considered when appropriate and tests should be repeated as necessary.
Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis, which may be severe and result in fatalities, has been very rarely reported. Patients experiencing nausea, vomiting or acute abdominal pain should have a prompt medical evaluation (including measurement of serum amylase). Young children are at particular risk; this risk decreases with increasing age. Severe seizures and severe neurological impairment with combination anticonvulsant therapy may be risk factors. Hepatic failure with pancreatitis increases the risk of fatal outcome. In case of pancreatitis, Epilim should be discontinued.
Aggravated convulsions: As with other antiepileptic drugs, some patients may experience, instead of an improvement, a reversible worsening of convulsion frequency and severity (including status epilepticus), or the onset of new types of convulsions with valproate. In case of aggravated convulsions, the patients should be advised to consult their physician immediately (see Adverse Reactions).
Suicidal ideation and behaviour: Suicidal ideation and behaviour have been reported in patients treated with anti-epileptic agents in several indications. A meta-analysis of randomised placebo controlled trials of anti-epileptic drugs has also shown a small increased risk of suicidal ideation and behaviour. The mechanism of this risk is not known and the available data do not exclude the possibility of an increased risk for sodium valproate.
Therefore patients should be monitored for signs of suicidal ideation and behaviours and appropriate treatment should be considered. Patients (and caregivers of patients) should be advised to seek medical advice should signs of suicidal ideation or behaviour emerge.
Carbapenem agents: The concomitant use of valproate and carbapenem agents is not recommended.
Patients with known or suspected mitochondrial disease: Valproate may trigger or worsen clinical signs of underlying mitochondrial diseases caused by mutations of mitochondrial DNA as well as the nuclear encoded POLG gene. In particular, valproate-induced acute liver failure and liver-related deaths have been reported at a higher rate in patients with hereditary neurometabolic syndromes caused by mutations in the gene for the mitochondrial enzyme polymerase γ (POLG), e.g. Alpers-Huttenlocher Syndrome.
POLG-related disorders should be suspected in patients with a family history or suggestive symptoms of a POLG-related disorder, including but not limited to unexplained encephalopathy, refractory epilepsy (focal, myoclonic), status epilepticus at presentation, developmental delays, psychomotor regression, axonal sensorimotor neuropathy, myopathy cerebellar ataxia, opthalmoplegia, or complicated migraine with occipital aura. POLG mutation testing should be performed in accordance with current clinical practice for the diagnostic evaluation of such disorders (see Contraindications).
Female children, women of childbearing potential and pregnant women: Pregnancy Prevention Programme: Valproate has a high teratogenic potential and children exposed in utero to valproate have a high risk for congenital malformations and neurodevelopmental disorders (see Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Epilim is contraindicated in the following situations: In pregnancy unless there is no suitable alternative treatment (see Contraindications and Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
In women of childbearing potential unless the conditions of the pregnancy prevention programme are fulfilled (see Contraindications and Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Conditions of Pregnancy Prevention Programme: The prescriber must ensure that: Individual circumstances should be evaluated in each case. Involving the patient in the discussion to guarantee the patient's engagement, discuss therapeutic options and ensure the patient's understanding of the risks and the measures needed to minimise the risks.
The potential for pregnancy is assessed for all female patients.
The patient has understood and acknowledged the risks of congenital malformations and neurodevelopmental disorders including the magnitude of these risks for children exposed to valproate in utero.
The patient understands the need to undergo pregnancy testing prior to initiation of treatment and during treatment, as needed.
The patient is counselled regarding contraception, and that the patient is capable of complying with the need to use effective contraception (for further details please refer to subsection contraception as follows), without interruption during the entire duration of treatment with valproate.
The patient understands the need for regular (at least annual) review of treatment by a specialist experienced in the management of epilepsy or bipolar disorder (for Epilim Chrono).
The patient understands the need to consult the physician as soon as the patient is planning pregnancy to ensure timely discussion and switching to alternative treatment options prior to conception and before contraception is discontinued.
The patient understands the need to urgently consult the physician in case of pregnancy.
The patient has received the Patient Guide.
The patient has acknowledged that the patient has understood the hazards and necessary precautions associated with valproate use (Annual Risk Acknowledgement Form).
These conditions also concern women who are not currently sexually active unless the prescriber considers that there are compelling reasons to indicate that there is no risk of pregnancy.
Female children: The prescriber must ensure that: The parents/caregivers of female children understand the need to contact the specialist once the female child using valproate experiences menarche.
The parents/caregivers of female children who have experienced menarche are provided with comprehensive information about the risks of congenital malformations and neurodevelopmental disorders including the magnitude of these risks for children exposed to valproate in utero.
In patients who have experienced menarche, the prescribing specialist must annually reassess the need for valproate therapy and consider alternative treatment options. If valproate is the only suitable treatment, the need for using effective contraception and all other conditions of the pregnancy prevention programme should be discussed. Every effort should be made by the specialist to switch female children to alternative treatment before they reach adulthood.
Pregnancy test: Pregnancy must be excluded before start of treatment with valproate. Treatment with valproate must not be initiated in women of childbearing potential without a negative pregnancy test (plasma pregnancy test) result, confirmed by a healthcare provider, to rule out unintended use in pregnancy.
Contraception: Women of childbearing potential who are prescribed valproate must use effective contraception without interruption during the entire duration of treatment with valproate. These patients must be provided with comprehensive information on pregnancy prevention and should be referred for contraceptive advice if they are not using effective contraception. At least one effective method of contraception (preferably a user independent form such as an intra-uterine device or implant) or two complementary forms of contraception including a barrier method should be used. Individual circumstances should be evaluated in each case when choosing the contraception method, involving the patient in the discussion to guarantee the patient's engagement and compliance with the chosen measures. Even if the patient has amenorrhea she must follow all the advice on effective contraception.
Oestrogen-containing products: Concomitant use with oestrogen-containing products, including oestrogen-containing hormonal contraceptives, may potentially result in decreased valproate efficacy (see Interactions). Prescribers should monitor clinical response (seizure control) when initiating, or discontinuing oestrogen-containing products.
On the opposite, valproate does not reduce efficacy of hormonal contraceptives.
Annual treatment reviews by a specialist: The specialist should review at least annually whether valproate is the most suitable treatment for the patient. The specialist should discuss the Annual Risk Acknowledgement Form at initiation and during each annual review, and ensure that the patient has understood its content.
Pregnancy planning: If a woman is planning to become pregnant, a specialist experienced in the management of epilepsy or bipolar disorder (for Epilim Chrono) must reassess valproate therapy and consider alternative treatment options. Every effort should be made to switch to appropriate alternative treatment prior to conception and before contraception is discontinued (see Use in Pregnancy & Lactation). If switching is not possible, the woman should receive further counselling regarding the risks of valproate for the unborn child to support the patient's informed decision-making regarding family planning.
In case of pregnancy: If a woman using valproate becomes pregnant, the patient must be immediately referred to a specialist to re-evaluate treatment with valproate and consider alternative treatment options. The patients with valproate-exposed pregnancy and their partners should be referred to a specialist experienced in prenatal medicine for evaluation and counselling regarding the exposed pregnancy (see Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Pharmacists must ensure that: The Patient Card is provided with every valproate dispensation and that patients understand its content.
Patients are advised not to stop valproate medication and to immediately contact a specialist in case of planned or suspected pregnancy.
Educational materials: In order to assist healthcare professionals and patients in avoiding exposure to valproate during pregnancy, the Marketing Authorisation Holder has provided educational materials to reinforce the warnings, provide guidance regarding use of valproate in women of childbearing potential and provide details of the Pregnancy Prevention Programme. A Patient Guide and Patient Card should be provided to all women of childbearing potential using valproate.
An Annual Risk Acknowledgement Form needs to be used at time of treatment initiation and during each annual review of valproate treatment by the specialist.
Valproate therapy should only be continued after a reassessment of the benefits and risks of the treatment with valproate for the patient by a specialist experienced in the management of epilepsy; or bipolar disorder (for Epilim Chrono).
Special Precautions
Haematological: Blood tests (blood cell count, including platelet count, bleeding time and coagulation tests) are recommended prior to initiation of therapy or before surgery, and in case of spontaneous bruising or bleeding (see Adverse Reactions).
Renal insufficiency: In patients with renal insufficiency, it may be necessary to decrease dosage. As monitoring of plasma concentrations may be misleading, dosage should be adjusted according to clinical monitoring (see Dosage & Administration and Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions).
Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: Although immune disorders have only rarely been noted during the use of Epilim, the potential benefit of Epilim should be weighed against its potential risk in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (see also Adverse Reactions).
Urea cycle disorders: When a urea cycle enzymatic deficiency is suspected, metabolic investigations should be performed prior to treatment because of the risk of hyperammonaemia with Epilim (see Contraindications).
Weight gain: Epilim very commonly causes weight gain, which may be marked and progressive. Patients should be warned of the risk of weight gain at the initiation of therapy and appropriate strategies should be adopted to minimise it (see Adverse Reactions).
Diabetic patients: Epilim is eliminated mainly through the kidneys, partly in the form of ketone bodies; this may give false positives in the urine testing of possible diabetics.
In addition, care should be taken when treating diabetic patients with Epilim Syrup since it contains 3.6g sucrose per 5 ml.
Carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT) type II deficiency: Patients with an underlying carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT) type II deficiency should be warned of the greater risk of rhabdomyolysis when taking Epilim.
Alcohol: Alcohol intake is not recommended during treatment with valproate.
Effects on ability to drive and use machines: Use of Epilim may provide seizure control such that the patient may be eligible to hold a driving license.
Patients should be warned of the risk of transient drowsiness, especially in cases of anticonvulsant polytherapy or association with benzodiazepines (see Interactions).
Inj: Not applicable - use of intravenous formulation restricted to patients unable to take oral therapy.
Use In Pregnancy & Lactation
Valproate is contraindicated as treatment for epilepsy during pregnancy unless there is no suitable alternative treatment.
Valproate is contraindicated for use in women of childbearing potential unless the conditions of the Pregnancy Prevention Programme are fulfilled (see Contraindications, Warnings and Precautions).
Pregnancy Exposure Risk related to valproate: Both valproate monotherapy and valproate polytherapy are associated with abnormal pregnancy outcomes. Available data suggest that antiepileptic polytherapy including valproate is associated with a greater risk of congenital malformations than valproate monotherapy.
Teratogenicity and developmental effects: Congenital malformations: Data derived from a meta-analysis (including registries and cohort studies) has shown that 10.73% of children of epileptic women exposed to valproate monotherapy during pregnancy suffer from congenital malformations (95% CI: 8.16-13.29). This is a greater risk of major malformations than for the general population, for whom the risk is about 2-3%. The risk is dose dependent but a threshold dose below which no risk exists cannot be established.
Available data show an increased incidence of minor and major malformations. The most common types of malformations include neural tube defects, facial dysmorphism, cleft lip and palate, craniostenosis, cardiac, renal and urogenital defects, limb defects (including bilateral aplasia of the radius), and multiple anomalies involving various body systems.
Developmental disorders: Data have suggested an association between in-utero exposure to valproate and the risk of developmental delay (frequently associated with dysmorphic features), particularly of verbal IQ, including increased risk of impaired cognitive development (lower cognitive test score).
Data have shown that exposure to valproate in utero can have adverse effects on mental and physical development of the exposed children. The risk seems to be dose-dependent but a threshold dose below which no risk exists, cannot be established based on available data. The exact gestational period of risk for these effects is uncertain and the possibility of a risk throughout the entire pregnancy cannot be excluded.
Studies in preschool children exposed in utero to valproate show that up to 30-40% experience delays in their early development such as talking and walking later, lower intellectual abilities, poor language skills (speaking and understanding) and memory problems.
Intelligence quotient (IQ) measured in school aged children (age 6) with a history of valproate exposure in utero was on average 7-10 points lower than those children exposed to other antiepileptics.
Although the role of confounding factors cannot be excluded, there is evidence in children exposed to valproate that the risk of intellectual impairment may be independent from maternal IQ.
There are limited data on the long term outcomes.
Available data show that children exposed to valproate in utero are at increased risk of autistic spectrum disorder (approximately three-fold) and childhood autism (approximately five-fold) compared with the general study population.
Limited data suggests that children exposed to valproate in utero may be more likely to develop symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Female children and woman of childbearing potential (see as previously mentioned and Warnings and Precautions).
Oestrogen-containing products: Oestrogen-containing products, including oestrogen-containing hormonal contraceptives, may increase the clearance of valproate, which would result in decreased serum concentration of valproate and potentially decreased valproate efficacy (see Warnings, Precautions and Interactions).
If a woman plans a pregnancy: If a woman is planning to become pregnant, a specialist experienced in the management of epilepsy must reassess valproate therapy and consider alternative treatment options. Every effort should be made to switch to appropriate alternative treatment prior to conception and before contraception is discontinued (see Warnings and Precautions). If switching is not possible, the woman should receive further counselling regarding the risks of valproate for the unborn child to support the patient's informed decision-making regarding family planning.
Pregnant women: Valproate as treatment for epilepsy and bipolar disorder is contraindicated in pregnancy unless there is no suitable alternative treatment (see Contraindications, Warnings and Precautions). If a woman using valproate becomes pregnant, the patient must be immediately referred to a specialist to consider alternative treatment options.
During pregnancy, maternal tonic clonic seizures and status epilepticus with hypoxia may carry a particular risk of death for the mother and the unborn child. If in exceptional circumstances, despite the known risks of valproate in pregnancy and after careful consideration of alternative treatment, a pregnant woman must receive valproate for epilepsy, it is recommended to: Use the lowest effective dose and divide the daily dose valproate into several small doses to be taken throughout the day.
The use of a prolonged release formulation may be preferable to other treatment formulations in order to avoid high peak plasma concentrations (see Dosage & Administration).
All patients with valproate-exposed pregnancy and their partners should be referred to a specialist experienced in prenatal medicine for evaluation and counselling regarding the exposed pregnancy. Specialised prenatal monitoring should take place to detect the possible occurrence of neural tube defects or other malformations. Folate supplementation before the pregnancy may decrease the risk of neural tube defects which may occur in all pregnancies. However the available evidence does not suggest it prevents the birth defects or malformations due to valproate exposure.
Risk in the neonate: Cases of haemorrhagic syndrome have been reported very rarely in neonates whose mothers have taken valproate during pregnancy. This haemorrhagic syndrome is related to thrombocytopenia, hypofibrinogenemia and/or to a decrease in other coagulation factors. Afibrinogenemia has also been reported and may be fatal. However, this syndrome must be distinguished from the decrease of the vitamin-K factors induced by phenobarbital and enzymatic inducers. Therefore, platelet count, fibrinogen plasma level, coagulation tests and coagulation factors should be investigated in neonates.
Cases of hypoglycaemia have been reported in neonates whose mothers have taken valproate during the third trimester of their pregnancy.
Cases of hypothyroidism have been reported in neonates whose mothers have taken valproate during pregnancy.
Withdrawal syndrome (such as, in particular, agitation, irritability, hyper-excitability, jitteriness, hyperkinesia, tonicity disorders, tremor, convulsions and feeding disorders) may occur in neonates whose mothers have taken valproate during the last trimester of their pregnancy.
Breastfeeding: Valproate is excreted in human milk with a concentration ranging from 1% - 10% of maternal serum levels.
Haematological disorders have been shown in breastfed newborns/infants of treated women (see Adverse Reactions).
A decision must be made whether to discontinue breast-feeding or to discontinue/abstain from Epilim therapy taking into account the benefit of breast feeding for the child and the benefit of therapy for the woman.
Fertility: Amenorrhoea, polycystic ovaries and increased testosterone levels have been reported in women using valproate (see Adverse Reactions). Valproate administration may also impair fertility in men (see Adverse Reactions). Case reports indicate that fertility dysfunctions are reversible after treatment discontinuation.
Adverse Reactions
The following CIOMS frequency rating is used, when applicable.
Very common (≥ 1/10); Common (≥ 1/100 to <1/10); Uncommon (≥ 1/1,000 to ≤ 1/100); Rare (≥ 1/10,000 to ≤1/1,000); Very rare (<1/10,000), not known (cannot be estimated from available data).
Congenital malformations and developmental disorders: (see Warnings, Precautions and Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Hepato-biliary disorders: Common: liver injury (see Warnings).
Severe liver damage, including hepatic failure sometimes resulting in death, has been reported (see also Dosage & Administration, Contraindications and Warnings). Increased liver enzymes are common, particularly early in treatment, and may be transient (see Warnings).
Gastrointestinal disorders: Very common: Oral: nausea.
Inj: nausea (occurs a few minutes after intravenous injection with spontaneous resolution within a few minutes).
Common: vomiting, gingival disorder (mainly gingival hyperplasia), stomatitis, gastralgia, diarrhoea.
The previously mentioned adverse events frequently occur at the start of treatment, but they usually disappear after a few days without discontinuing treatment. These problems can usually be overcome by taking Epilim with or after food.
Uncommon: pancreatitis, sometimes lethal (see Warnings and Precautions).
Nervous system disorders: Very common: tremor.
Common: Oral: extrapyramidal disorder, stupor*, somnolence, convulsion*, memory impairment, headache, nystagmus.
Inj: extrapyramidal disorder, stupor*, somnolence, convulsion*, memory impairment, headache, nystagmus, dizziness may occur a few minutes after intravenous injection; it disappears spontaneously within a few minutes.
Uncommon: coma*, encephalopathy, lethargy* (see as follows), reversible parkinsonism, ataxia, paresthesia, aggravated convulsions (see Warnings and Precautions).
Rare: reversible dementia associated with reversible cerebral atrophy, cognitive disorder.
Sedation has been reported occasionally, usually when in combination with other anticonvulsants. In monotherapy it occurred early in treatment on rare occasions and is usually transient.
*Rare cases of lethargy occasionally progressing to stupor, sometimes with associated hallucinations or convulsions have been reported. Encephalopathy and coma have very rarely been observed. These cases have often been associated with too high a starting dose or too rapid a dose escalation or concomitant use of other anticonvulsants, notably phenobarbital or topiramate. They have usually been reversible on withdrawal of treatment or reduction of dosage.
An increase in alertness may occur; this is generally beneficial but occasionally aggression, hyperactivity and behavioural deterioration have been reported.
Psychiatric disorder: Common: confusional state, hallucinations, aggression*, agitation*, disturbance in attention*.
Rare: abnormal behaviour*, psychomotor hyperactivity*, learning disorder*.
*These ADRs are principally observed in the paediatric population.
Metabolic and nutrition disorders: Common: hyponatraemia, weight increased*.
*Weight increase should be carefully monitored since it is a factor for polycystic ovary syndrome (see Warnings and Precautions).
Rare: hyperammonaemia* (see Precautions), obesity.
*Cases of isolated and moderate hyperammonaemia without change in liver function tests may occur, are usually transient and should not cause treatment discontinuation. However, they may present clinically as vomiting, ataxia, and increasing clouding of consciousness. Should these symptoms occur Epilim should be discontinued.
Hyperammonaemia associated with neurological symptoms has also been reported (see Precautions). In such cases further investigations should be considered.
Endocrine Disorders: Uncommon: Syndrome of Inappropriate Secretion of ADH (SIADH), hyperandrogenism (hirsutism, virilism, acne, male pattern alopecia, and/or androgen increase).
Rare: hypothyroidism (see Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Blood and lymphatic system disorders: Common: anaemia, thrombocytopenia (see Precautions).
Uncommon: pancytopenia, leucopenia.
The blood picture returned to normal when the drug was discontinued.
Rare: bone marrow failure, including pure red cell aplasia, agranulocytosis, anaemia macrocytic, macrocytosis.
Isolated findings of a reduction in blood fibrinogen and/or an increase in prothrombin time have been reported, usually without associated clinical signs and particularly with high doses (Epilim has an inhibitory effect on the second phase of platelet aggregation). Spontaneous bruising or bleeding is an indication for withdrawal of medication pending investigations (see also Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: Common: hypersensitivity, transient and/or dose related alopecia (hair loss), nail and nail bed disorders. Regrowth normally begins within six months, although the hair may become more curly than previously.
Uncommon: angioedema, rash, hair disorder (such as abnormal hair texture, hair colour changes, abnormal hair growth).
Rare: toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, erythema multiforme, Drug Rash with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) syndrome.
Reproductive system and breast disorders: Common: dysmenorrhea.
Uncommon: amenorrhea.
Rare: male infertility, polycystic ovaries.
Very rarely gynaecomastia has occurred.
Vascular disorders: Common: haemorrhage (see Precautions and Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Uncommon: vasculitis.
Ear and labyrinth disorders: Common: Deafness, a cause and effect relationship has not been established.
Renal and urinary disorders: Uncommon: renal failure.
Rare: enuresis, tubulointerstitial nephritis, reversible Fanconi syndrome (a defect in proximal renal tubular function giving rise to glycosuria, amino aciduria, phosphaturia, and uricosuria) associated with Epilim therapy, but the mode of action is as yet unclear.
General disorders and administration site conditions: Uncommon: hypothermia, non-severe peripheral oedema.
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorder: Uncommon: bone mineral density decreased, osteopenia, osteoporosis and fractures in patients on long-term therapy with Epilim. The mechanism by which Epilim affects bone metabolism has not been identified.
Rare: systemic lupus erythematosus, rhabdomyolysis (see Precautions).
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders: Uncommon: pleural effusion.
Investigations: Rare: Coagulation factors decreased (at least one), abnormal coagulation tests (such as prothrombin time prolonged, activated partial thromboplastin time prolonged, thrombin time prolonged, INR prolonged) (see Warnings, Precautions and Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Neoplasms benign, malignant and unspecified (including cysts and polyps): Rare: myelodysplastic syndrome.
Drug Interactions
Effects of Epilim on other drugs: Antipsychotics, MAO inhibitors, antidepressants and benzodiazepines: Epilim may potentiate the effect of other psychotropics such as antipsychotics, MAO inhibitors, antidepressants and benzodiazepines; therefore, clinical monitoring is advised and dosage of the other psychotropics should be adjusted when appropriate.
In particular, a clinical study has suggested that adding olanzapine to valproate or lithium therapy may significantly increase the risk of certain adverse events associated with olanzapine e.g. neutropenia, tremor, dry mouth, increased appetite and weight gain, speech disorder and somnolence.
Lithium: Epilim has no effect on serum lithium levels.
Olanzapine: Valproic acid may decrease the olanzapine plasma concentration.
Phenobarbital: Epilim increases phenobarbital plasma concentrations (due to inhibition of hepatic catabolism) and sedation may occur, particularly in children. Therefore, clinical monitoring is recommended throughout the first 15 days of combined treatment with immediate reduction of phenobarbital doses if sedation occurs and determination of phenobarbital plasma levels when appropriate.
Primidone: Epilim increases primidone plasma levels with exacerbation of its adverse effects (such as sedation); these signs cease with long term treatment. Clinical monitoring is recommended especially at the beginning of combined therapy with dosage adjustment when appropriate.
Phenytoin: Epilim decreases phenytoin total plasma concentration. Moreover Epilim increases phenytoin free form with possible overdosage symptoms (valproic acid displaces phenytoin from its plasma protein binding sites and reduces its hepatic catabolism). Therefore clinical monitoring is recommended; when phenytoin plasma levels are determined, the free form should be evaluated.
Carbamazepine: Clinical toxicity has been reported when Epilim was administered with carbamazepine as Epilim may potentiate toxic effects of carbamazepine. Clinical monitoring is recommended especially at the beginning of combined therapy with dosage adjustment when appropriate.
Lamotrigine: Epilim reduces the metabolism of lamotrigine and increases the lamotrigine mean half-life by nearly two-fold. This interaction may lead to increased lamotrigine toxicity, in particular serious skin rashes. Therefore clinical monitoring is recommended and dosages should be adjusted (lamotrigine dosage decreased) when appropriate.
Felbamate: Valproic acid may decrease the felbamate mean clearance by up to 16%.
Rufinamide: Valproic acid may lead to an increase in plasma levels of rufinamide. This increase is dependent on concentration of valproic acid. Caution should be exercised, in particular in children, as this effect is larger in this population.
Propofol: Valproic acid may lead to an increased blood level of propofol. When co-administered with valproate, a reduction of the dose of propofol should be considered.
Zidovudine: Epilim may raise zidovudine plasma concentration leading to increased zidovudine toxicity.
Nimodipine: In patients concomitantly treated with sodium valproate and nimodipine the exposure to nimodipine can be increased by 50%. The nimodipine dose should therefore be decreased in case of hypotension.
Temozolomide: Co-administration of temozolomide and Epilim may cause a small decrease in the clearance of temozolomide that is not thought to be clinically relevant.
Effects of other drugs on Epilim: Anti-epileptics: Antiepileptics with enzyme inducing effect (including phenytoin, phenobarbital, carbamazepine) decrease valproic acid plasma concentrations. Dosages should be adjusted according to clinical response and blood levels in case of combined therapy.
Valproic acid metabolite levels may be increased in the case of concomitant use with phenytoin or phenobarbital. Therefore patients treated with those two drugs should be carefully monitored for signs and symptoms of hyperammonaemia.
On the other hand, combination of felbamate and Epilim decreases valproic acid clearance by 22% - 50% and consequently increase the valproic acid plasma concentrations. Epilim dosage should be monitored.
Anti-malarial agents: Mefloquine and chloroquine increase valproic acid metabolism and may lower the seizure threshold; therefore epileptic seizures may occur in cases of combined therapy. Accordingly, the dosage of Epilim may need adjustment.
Highly protein bound agents: In case of concomitant use of Epilim and highly protein bound agents (e.g. aspirin), free valproic acid plasma levels may be increased.
Vitamin K-dependent factor anticoagulants: The anticoagulant effect of warfarin and other coumarin anticoagulants may be increased following displacement from plasma protein binding sites by valproic acid. The prothrombin time should be closely monitored.
Cimetidine or erythromycin: Valproic acid plasma levels may be increased (as a result of reduced hepatic metabolism) in case of concomitant use with cimetidine or erythromycin.
Carbapenem antibiotics such as imipenem, panipenem and meropenem: Decreases in blood levels of valproic acid have been reported when it is co-administered with carbapenem agents resulting in a 60%-100% decrease in valproic acid levels within two days, sometimes associated with convulsions. Due to the rapid onset and the extent of the decrease, co-administration of carbapenem agents in patients stabilised on valproic acid should be avoided (see Warnings and Precautions). If treatment with these antibiotics cannot be avoided, close monitoring of valproic acid blood levels should be performed.
Rifampicin: Rifampicin may decrease the valproate blood levels resulting in a lack of therapeutic effect. Therefore, valproate dosage adjustment may be necessary when it is co-administered with rifampicin.
Protease inhibitors: Protease inhibitors such as lopinavir and ritonavir decrease valproate plasma level when co-administered.
Cholestyramine: Cholestyramine may lead to a decrease in plasma level of valproate when co-administered.
Oestrogen-containing products, including oestrogen-containing hormonal contraceptives: Oestrogens are inducers of the UDP-glucuronosyl transferase (UGT) isoforms involved in valproate glucuronidation and may increase the clearance of valproate, which would result in decreased serum concentration of valproate and potentially decreased valproate efficacy (see Warnings and Precautions). Consider monitoring of valproate serum levels.
On the opposite, valproate has no enzyme inducing effect; as a consequence, valproate does not reduce efficacy of oestroprogestative agents in women receiving hormonal contraception.
Other Interactions: Caution is advised when using Epilim in combination with newer anti-epileptics whose pharmacodynamics may not be well established.
Concomitant administration of valproate and topiramate or acetazolamide has been associated with encephalopathy and/or hyperammonaemia. In patients taking these two drugs, careful monitoring of signs and symptoms is advised in particularly at-risk patients such as those with pre-existing encephalopathy.
Quetiapine: Co-administration of Epilim and quetiapine may increase the risk of neutropenia/leucopenia.
Caution For Usage
Special precautions for disposal and other handling: Inj: For intravenous use, the reconstituted solution should be used immediately and any unused portion discarded.
If the reconstituted solution is further diluted for use as an infusion solution, the dilute solution may be stored for up to 24 hours if kept at 2 to 8°C before use, discarding any remaining after 24 hours.
Incompatibilities: Oral: None.
Inj: Epilim Intravenous should not be administered via the same line as other IV additives.
Storage
Oral: EPILIM is hygroscopic. The tablets should not be removed from their foil until immediately before they are taken. Where possible, blister strips should not be cut. Store in a dry place below 30°C.
EPILIM Syrup should be stored below 25°C and away from direct sunlight. The diluted syrup has a 14-day shelf-life.
Inj: Epilim freeze-dried powder: No specific storage conditions.
Solvent: Store below 25°C.
Reconstituted infusion solutions: at 2-8°C if stored before use, discarding any remaining solution after 24 hours.
Shelf Life: Inj: 36 months as unopened vial of freeze-dried powder. 60 months as unopened ampoule of Water for Injection. 24 hours after reconstitution and dilution for use as infusion solution (see as previously mentioned and Special precautions for disposal and other handling under Cautions for Usage).
MIMS Class
ATC Classification
N03AG01 - valproic acid ; Belongs to the class of fatty acid derivatives antiepileptic.
Presentation/Packing
Epilim crushable tab 100 mg x 100's. Epilim EC tab 200 mg x 100's. Epilim syr 200 mg/5 mL x 300 mL. Epilim vial 400 mg/4 mL (hygroscopic, white or practically white crystalline powder and solvent is clear, colourless solution) x 4 mL. Epilim Chrono PR-FC tab 200 mg (unscored) x 100's. 300 mg x 100's. 500 mg x 100's.
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