Valproate Sodium (VAL-proe-ate SOE-dee-um)
Treats different types of seizures (epilepsy). This medicine is an anticonvulsant.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to valproate, or if you have certain liver problems. You should not receive this medicine if you have a genetic (inherited) urea cycle disorder, which causes the body to have trouble getting rid of ammonia (a waste product in the blood). You should not receive this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, unless your doctor tells you to.
How to Use This Medicine
- A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
- Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
- This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Do not use aspirin without your doctor's OK.
- There are many other drugs that can interact with valproate. Make sure your doctor knows about all other medicine you are using, especially blood thinners (such as warfarin, Coumadin®), and medicine to treat seizures, depression, or mood problems.
- Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Using this medicine while you are pregnant (especially during your first trimester) can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
- It is very important to take folic acid before getting pregnant and during early pregnancy to lower chances of harmful side effects to your unborn baby. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for help if you are not sure how to choose a folic acid product.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have had a recent head injury. Tell your doctor if you have a history of coma, unexplained mental or behavior problems, frequent vomiting, a family history of urea cycle disorders, or a family history of unexplained infant deaths. Tell your doctor if you have HIV or AIDS, or if you have an infection caused by cytomegalovirus (CMV).
- If this medicine is to be given to your child, make sure the doctor knows if your child is under the age of two years old, or if he is using other medicine to treat seizures. Tell the doctor if your child was born with a disease that affects his metabolism (energy-making process of the body). Make sure the doctor knows if your child has mental retardation or a brain disease.
- Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
- Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
- Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
- This medicine may make you drowsy or less alert. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Chest pain or slow heartbeat.
- Confusion or hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there).
- Dark or bloody urine, pain or burning with urination, or a change in how much or how often you urinate.
- Fever or new coughing.
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, severe tiredness, or fainting.
- Nausea, vomiting, or sudden and severe stomach pain.
- Poor seizure control.
- Redness, pain, or swelling at the injection site.
- Swelling in your arms or legs, skin rash, or blistering, peeling skin.
- Tremors (shaking), or problems with coordination (movement) or posture (remaining upright).
- Unusual bleeding or bruising.
- Vision changes.
- Weakness, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, or rapid weight gain.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Hair loss.
- Heartburn, diarrhea, or constipation.
- Menstrual (period) changes.
- Mood changes.
- Tiredness or feeling generally unwell.