Valproic acid (By mouth)

Introduction

Valproic Acid (val-PROE-ik AS-id)

Treats seizures (epilepsy). Also used to treat mood disorders and prevent migraine headaches. This medicine is an anticonvulsant.

Brand Name(s)

Depakote Sprinkles, Depakene, Stavzor

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to valproic acid or divalproex, if you have severe liver disease, or if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine

Delayed Release Capsule, Liquid Filled Capsule, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You may take this medicine with food to decrease stomach upset.
  • Swallow the capsule whole. Do not crush, break, or chew.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • 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.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • If you miss two or more doses, call your doctor.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking a blood thinner (such as aspirin, warfarin, or Coumadin®) or other medicines that could make you sleepy such as sleeping pills, cold medicine, or sedatives.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using imipenem/cilastatin (Primaxin®).
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant (especially during 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 kidney disease, liver disease, or a blood problem.
  • Because of the risk of increased seizures, do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. 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
  • Loss of seizure control.
  • Rash or hives with itching.
  • Severe vomiting that does not go away.
  • Severe weakness or dizziness.
  • Trembling of hands and arms.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Drowsiness or dizziness.
  • Hair loss.
  • Nausea, vomiting, or stomach cramps.
  • Restlessness or irritability.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

         
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