What is this medicine?
VALPROIC ACID (val PROE ik AS id) is used to prevent seizures caused by some forms of epilepsy. It is also used to treat bipolar mania and to prevent migraine headaches.
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 valproic acid, divalproex, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not cut, crush or chew this medicine. Take this medicine with food if it upsets your stomach. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed.
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 and aspirin-like medicines
- barbiturates, like phenobarbital
- medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
- medicines that treat or prevent blood clots like warfarin
- other seizure medicines
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. If you are taking this medicine to treat epilepsy (seizures), do not stop taking it suddenly. This increases the risk of seizures. Wear a medical identification bracelet or chain to say you have epilepsy or seizures, and carry a card that lists all your medicines.
You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
This medicine can slow healing and increase the 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 feeling 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.