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Valproic Acid : Uses, Dosage, Contraindications, Side Effects, Overdose


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BRAND NAME :  Valproic Acid

Brand Names:

Depakene; Depakote


Valproic acid can cause serious damage to the liver. Liver damage is more common in children under two years old; talk to your doctor about your child's risk from taking valproic acid. Valproic acid can also cause life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: recurring seizures after they have been controlled by medication, stomach pain, upset stomach, recurring seizures, loss of appetite, vomiting, dark urine, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, facial swelling, and yellowing of the skin or eyes. Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to valproic acid.Before taking valproic acid, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking valproic acid, call your doctor. Valproic acid can cause birth defects in the fetus. Talk to your doctor about the risk of taking valproic acid during pregnancy.

Medication prescribed:

Valproic acid is used, alone or with other drugs, to treat certain types of seizures in the treatment of epilepsy. It is also used to prevent migraine headaches and to treat various psychiatric illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and aggression. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used:

Valproic acid comes as a capsule, extended-release (long-acting) tablet, capsules containing sprinkle medication, and liquid to take by mouth. It usually is taken two or more times daily. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take valproic acid exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Do not chew the regular capsules or extended-release tablets; swallow them whole. Valproic acid has an unpleasant taste and can irritate your mouth and throat. Take with a full glass of water. The sprinkle capsule may be swallowed whole, or the contents of the capsule may be sprinkled on a teaspoonful of food, such as applesauce or pudding, and swallowed. Do not chew the food containing the particles. Do not store unused food containing sprinkle medication; throw it away and sprinkle a fresh dose when it is time for the next dose. Continue to take valproic acid even if you feel well. Do not stop taking valproic acid without talking to your doctor, especially if you have taken large doses for a long time. Abruptly stopping the drug can cause seizures. Your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually.

Other uses for this medicine:

Valproic acid may be used to treat other types of seizures in adults and children, incontinence after certain surgical procedures, and certain anxiety disorders. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.

Special precautions:

Before taking valproic acid, tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to valproic acid or any other drugs. tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially other seizure medications, anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), cimetidine (Tagamet), diazepam (Valium), erythromycin, medications for colds or allergies such as chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), medications for depression such as amitriptyline (Elavil), medications for pain such as meperidine (Demerol), muscle relaxants, rifampin (Rifadin), salicylates such as aspirin, sedatives such as phenobarbital, tranquilizers such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), vitamins, and zidovudine (Retrovir). Valproic acid affects the action of other medications, and many medications can affect the action of valproic acid. Tell your doctor and pharmacist everything you are taking. tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease or a blood disorder. tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking valproic acid. you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you. remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.

Special dietary instructions:

Valproic acid may cause an upset stomach. Take valproic acid with food. Drink plenty of water. Do not take the liquid with carbonated beverages.

If I forget a dose:

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if you remember a missed dose at the time you are scheduled to take the next dose, skip the missed dose completely. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects:

Although side effects from valproic acid are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if this symptom is severe or does not go away: drowsiness headache indigestion If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately: skin rash easy bruising tiny purple-colored skin spots bloody nose unusual bleeding dark urine fever sore throat

What storage conditions:

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of overdose:

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

Other information:

Call your doctor if you continue to have seizures or convulsions while taking this medication. If you give this drug to a child, observe and keep a record of the child's moods, behavior, attention span, hand-eye coordination, and ability to solve problems and perform tasks requiring thought. Ask the child's teacher to keep a similar record. This information can help the child's doctor determine whether to continue the drug or to change the dose or drug. If you have diabetes, valproic acid can cause false results in urine tests for ketones. Discuss this problem with your doctor. Wear identification (Medic Alert) indicating medication use and epilepsy. Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription..

More information:    Valproic Acid

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