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Valproic Acid (Systemic)

  • Categories:
    • Anticonvulsant--Divalproex; Valproate Sodium; Valproic Acid
    • Antimanic--Divalproex
    • Migraine headache prophylactic--Divalproex
  • Brand Names U.S.: Depacon2, Depakene3, Depakote1, Depakote Sprinkle1
  • Brand Names Canada: Alti-Valproic3, Depakene3, Deproic3, Dom-Valproic3, Epival1, Med Valproic3, Novo-Valproic3, Nu-Valproic3, Penta-Valproic3, pms-Valproic Acid3, pms-Valproic Acid E.C.3

1Divalproex  2Valproate Sodium  3Valproic Acid

Description: Valproic acid, valproate sodium, and divalproex belong to the group of medicines called anticonvulsants. They are used to control certain types of seizures in the treatment of epilepsy. Valproic acid, valproate sodium, and divalproex may be used alone or with other seizure medicine. Divalproex is also used to treat the manic phase of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and to help prevent migraine headaches. Divalproex and valproate sodium form valproic acid in the body. 

Other Medications: It is always important that your prescribing physician be aware of any other medications you are taking -- both prescriptions meds and OTC's. Before taking any form of Valproic Acid, be especially careful to discuss it with your doctor if you are also taking any of the following: 
  • Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) (with long-term, high-dose use)
  • Amiodarone (e.g., Cordarone)
  • Anabolic steroids (nandrolone [e.g., Anabolin], oxandrolone [e.g., Anavar], oxymetholone [e.g., Anadrol], stanozolol [e.g., Winstrol])
  • Androgens (male hormones)
  • Barbiturates
  • Carbamazepine (e.g., Tegretol)
  • Carbenicillin by injection (e.g., Geopen)
  • Carmustine (e.g., BiCNU)
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants (medicines that cause drowsiness)
  • Dantrolene (e.g., Dantrium)
  • Daunorubicin (e.g., Cerubidine)
  • Dipyridamole (e.g., Persantine)
  • Disulfiram (e.g., Antabuse)
  • Estrogens (female hormones)
  • Etretinate (e.g., Tegison)
  • Gold salts (medicine for arthritis)
  • Heparin--There is an increased risk of side effects that may cause bleeding
  • Inflammation or pain medicine, except narcotics,
  • Mercaptopurine (e.g., Purinethol)
  • Methotrexate (e.g., Mexate)
  • Methyldopa (e.g., Aldomet)
  • Naltrexone (e.g., Trexan) (with long-term, high-dose use)
  • Phenothiazines (acetophenazine [e.g., Tindal], chlorpromazine [e.g., Thorazine], fluphenazine [e.g., Prolixin], mesoridazine [e.g., Serentil], perphenazine [e.g., Trilafon], prochlorperazine [e.g., Compazine], promazine [e.g., Sparine], promethazine [e.g., Phenergan], thioridazine [e.g., Mellaril], trifluoperazine [e.g., Stelazine], triflupromazine [e.g., Vesprin], trimeprazine [e.g., Temaril])
  • Plicamycin (e.g., Mithracin)--There is an increased risk of serious side effects to the liver
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (medicine for depression)--There may be an increase in CNS depressant effects
  • Pentoxifylline (e.g., Trental)
  • Sulfinpyrazone (e.g., Anturane)
  • Ticarcillin (e.g., Ticar)--Valproic acid, valproate sodium, or divalproex may increase the chance of bleeding because of decreased blood clotting ability; the potential of aspirin, medicine for inflammation or pain, or sulfinpyrazone to cause stomach ulcer and bleeding may also increase the chance of bleeding in patients taking valproic acid, valproate sodium, or divalproex
  • Mefloquine--The amount of valproic acid, valproate sodium, or divalproex that you need to take may change
  • Other anticonvulsants (medicine for seizures)--There is an increased risk of seizures or other unwanted effects

Potential Side Effects of This Medication:

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur: abdominal or stomach cramps (severe); behavioral, mood, or mental changes; continuous, uncontrolled back-and-forth and/or rolling eye movements; double vision; increase in seizures; loss of appetite; nausea or vomiting (continuing); spots before eyes; swelling of face; tiredness and weakness; unusual bleeding or bruising; yellow eyes or skin

These side effects usually do not need medical attention, but check with your doctor if they continue or are bothersome: abdominal or stomach cramps (mild); change in menstrual periods; diarrhea; hair loss; indigestion; loss of appetite; nausea and vomiting; trembling of hands and arms; unusual weight loss or gain, clumsiness or unsteadiness; constipation; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; skin rash; unusual excitement, restlessness, or irritability

    Although not all of the side effects listed above have been reported for all of these combination medicines, they have been reported for at least one of them. However, since all of the narcotic analgesics are very similar, any of the above side effects may occur with any of these medicines.

    • Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits , especially for the first few months that you take this medicine. This is necessary to allow dose adjustments and to reduce any unwanted effects.
    • Do not stop taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor . Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping completely.
    • Before you have any medical tests, tell the doctor in charge that you are taking this medicine. The results of the metyrapone and thyroid function tests may be affected by this medicine.
    • Before having any kind of surgery, dental treatment, or emergency treatment, tell the medical doctor or dentist in charge that you are taking this medicine . Valproic acid, valproate sodium, or divalproex may change the time it takes your blood to clot, which may increase the chance of bleeding. Also, taking valproic acid, valproate sodium, or divalproex together with medicines that are used during surgery or dental or emergency treatments may increase the CNS depressant effects.
    • Valproic acid, valproate sodium, and divalproex will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; barbiturates; medicine for seizures; muscle relaxants; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using this medicine .

    Other Medical Conditions: --As with any medication, your doctor should be aware of all health conditions you may have. Be sure to keep your doctor updated of your medical history, especially:
    • Blood disease
    • Brain disease
    • Kidney disease--There is an increased risk of serious side effects
    • Liver disease--Valproic acid, valproate sodium, or divalproex may make the condition worse

    Material on this page is for informational purposes only,
    and should not be construed as medical advice.
    Always consult your physician regarding medications.



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