valproic acid (generic name)

It is used to treat certain types of seizures in patients with epilepsy.
(val PROE ik AS id)
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What is this medicine?

VALPROIC ACID (val PROE ik AS id) is used to treat certain types of seizures in patients with epilepsy.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • blood disease
  • brain damage or disease
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • low blood proteins
  • suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempt; a previous suicide attempt by you or a family member
  • urea cycle disorder (UCD)
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to divalproex sodium, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the capsules whole with a drink of water. Do not crush or chew. If this medicine upsets your stomach, take it with food or milk. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking this medicine unless instructed by your doctor or health care professional. Stopping your medicine suddenly can increase your seizures or their severity.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • aspirin
  • barbiturates, like phenobarbital
  • diazepam
  • isoniazid
  • medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
  • medicines that treat or prevent blood clots like warfarin
  • meropenem
  • other seizure medicines
  • rifampin
  • tolbutamide
  • zidovudine

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Wear a Medic Alert bracelet or necklace. Carry an identification card with information about your condition, medications, and doctor or health care professional.

You may get drowsy, dizzy, or have blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. To reduce dizzy or fainting spells, do not sit or stand up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. Alcohol can increase drowsiness and dizziness. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

This medicine can cause blood problems. This can mean slow healing and a risk of infection. Problems can arise if you need dental work, and in the day to day care of your teeth. Try to avoid damage to your teeth and gums when you brush or floss your teeth.

This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.

The use of this medicine may increase the chance of suicidal thoughts or actions. Pay special attention to how you are responding while on this medicine. Any worsening of mood, or thoughts of suicide or dying should be reported to your health care professional right away.

Women who become pregnant while using this medicine may enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry by calling 1-888-233-2334. This registry collects information about the safety of antiepileptic drug use during pregnancy.

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Last Updated: July 09, 2009
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