Valproic Acid is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat epilepsy (also known as fits or seizures).
Valproic acid may also be used to treat mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, to prevent migraine headaches and other conditions as decided by your doctor.
Take Valproic Acid exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Take Valproic Acid with or after meals to lessen gastric irritation. Try to take it at the same time each day.
If you have been given the "Chrono" tablet, controlled-release tablet or enteric-coated (EC) tablet, swallow it whole with a glass of water. Do not chew or crush these tablets.
If you are not sure which specific type of tablet you have been given, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If you have been given the oral solution (syrup), do not take it with soft drinks as this will irritate your mouth and throat. Use the dropper provided to measure out your dose.
Valproic Acid must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking Valproic Acid even when you feel better. Valproic Acid is not a cure and you may need to take it long-term to keep your seizures under control. Do not stop taking Valproic Acid unless instructed otherwise as stopping it suddenly may worsen your condition.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- liver disease
- porphyria (an inherited disorder that may cause skin or nerve problems)
- Alpers Huttenlocher Syndrome (AHS) (a rare disease characterised by fits or seizures, loss of mental and movement abilities)
as Valproic Acid may not be suitable for you.
Do not take Valproic acid to prevent migraine headaches if you are pregnant.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- kidney disease
- systemic lupus erythematosus (autoimmune disease that causes inflammation)
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Discuss the use of appropriate birth control methods with your doctor while being treated with Valproic Acid.
Inform your doctor if there is no improvement in seizure control.
For the first 6 months of treatment, you will need to have regular blood tests to monitor your body's response to the medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these blood tests done.
If you are going for an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are being treated with Valproic Acid.
Some genetic mutation (POLG
gene mutation) related-diseases (e.g. AHS), can increase your risk of developing serious liver disease from Valproic acid. If you know you have this gene mutation, inform your doctor immediately.
Valproic Acid may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects include any of the following: nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, diarrhoea, weight gain, chest and back pain, headache, flu-like symptoms, tremors, blurred or double vision, unusual eye movements and temporary hair loss. Women may experience changes in the menstrual cycle.
Some side effects may be serious, although they are not common. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience:
- rashes, with or without skin peeling or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
- swelling of the eyes, face or lips or breathing difficulties
- extensive or unusual bleeding or bruising
- mouth ulcers or persistent fever or sore throat
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- abdominal pain with persistent tiredness, nausea or vomiting
- confusion and hallucinations (seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not existent)
- unusual changes in mood or behaviour (being too depressed, agitated, or having compulsive and impulsive behaviour)
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- cholestyramine (cholesterol-lowering medicine)
- medicines to treat depression or for sleep and anxiety e.g. amitriptyline, fluoxetine, diazepam
- medicines to treat mood disorder e.g. olanzapine
- other medicines to treat epilepsy e.g. carbamazepine, phenytoin
- medicines for pain and inflammation e.g. aspirin
- blood-thinning medicines e.g. warfarin
- medicine for HIV infection e.g. zidovudine
- medicine to treat cancer e.g. temozolomide
- antibiotics e.g. imipenem, erythromycin, rifampicin
- medicine to treat malaria e.g mefloquine, chloroquine
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Valproic Acid.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicine, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.