Valproic Acid

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Where is Valproic Acid used?

Valproic Acid is a prescription used to;

  • Treat mental/mood conditions such as the manic phase of bipolar disorder
  • Treat seizure disorder
  • Prevent migraine headaches 

This is an FDA- approved anticonvulsant that restores the balance of certain natural substances in the brain. Valproic Acid is for oral use with dosage strengths of 125 mg, 250 mg, and 500 mg. 

How does Valproic Acid work?

Valproate prevents epileptic fits by stabilizing unnecessary electrical activity in the brain. It is thought to achieve this in two ways:

  • By increasing the activity of a natural ‘nerve-calming’ agent called GABA in the brain.
  • By preventing electrical signals from building up in nerve cells in the brain.

When used as a mood stabilizer to control a manic episode, this medication needs to be taken for 1 to 2 weeks before you notice an improvement in your symptoms. You may notice an improvement earlier if Valproic Acid is combined with other medications.

How is Valproic Acid taken?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. You may take each dose with or without food. Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking Valproic Acid. Use this product regularly to get the most benefit.

The dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to the treatment. Remember to take it in the same way and at the same time each day. If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and follow your regular schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose. 

What are the side effects of Valproic Acid?

  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness 
  • Constipation 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Vomiting 
  • Dizziness
  • Weight changes
  • Unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth

What are the precautions in taking Valproic Acid?

  • Do not drink alcohol while having Valproic Acid.
  • Valproic Acid can harm an unborn baby. You must use effective contraception to avoid getting pregnant while taking it. 
  • Women and girls who are pregnant or who could get pregnant, unless there is no safer alternative. Taking Valproic Acid during pregnancy increases the risk of having a baby with malformations, abnormalities such as spina bifida, and developmental problems after birth. Valproate is associated with a higher risk of problems than other antiepileptic medicines.
  • This medication is not recommended in people with active liver disease or a personal/family history of severe liver problems. People with rare hereditary blood disorders called porphyrias. 
  • Before taking this prescription, let your doctor know if you have a history of liver disease, kidney problems, disorders of urea production in the liver, and brain disease. Tell as well if you have a condition called systemic lupus erythematosus, diabetes, or a risk of getting osteoporosis.  
  • Valproic Acid passes into breast milk in small amounts. Women who are taking this drug should get medical advice from their doctor before deciding to breastfeed.