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Valproic Acid and Derivatives (val PROE ik AS id & dah RIV ah tives)

Adult Medication

Brand Names: U.S.

Depacon; Depakene; Depakote; Depakote ER; Depakote Sprinkles; Stavzor

Brand Names: Canada

Apo-Divalproex; Apo-Valproic; Depakene; Dom-Divalproex; Dom-Valproic Acid; Dom-Valproic Acid E.C.; Epival; Epival ECT; Mylan-Divalproex; Mylan-Valproic; Novo-Divalproex; Novo-Valproic; PHL-Divalproex; PHL-Valproic Acid; PHL-Valproic Acid E.C.; PMS-Divalproex; PMS-Valproic Acid; PMS-Valproic Acid E.C.; ratio-Valproic; Sandoz-Valproic

Warning

  • This drug may cause very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems. This most often happens within the first 6 months of using this drug. Call your doctor if you see dark urine, are feeling tired, are not hungry, have an upset stomach, are throwing up, or have yellowing of the skin or eyes. In patients who have seizures, loss of seizure control may happen. Have your blood work checked. Talk with your doctor.
  • Children under 2 years old may be at greater risk of liver problems. Those who take more than 1 seizure drug, have a metabolic disorder, have a very bad seizure disorder along with mental retardation, or have organic brain disease are at the highest risk. Talk with the doctor.
  • There is a greater risk of liver failure and death in patients who have a genetic liver problem caused by a mitochondrial disorder like Alpers–Huttenlocher syndrome. You may need to have a genetic test to check for this health problem. If you have or may have mitochondrial disorders do not take this drug before talking with your doctor.
  • This drug may cause very bad birth defects if you take it while you are pregnant. It can also cause the child to have a lower IQ. Do not take this drug to prevent migraine headaches if you are pregnant. If you are pregnant and take this drug for seizures or bipolar disorder, talk to your doctor to see if you need to keep taking this drug.
  • If you are able to get pregnant, you must use birth control that you can trust while you take this drug. If you get pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.
  • This drug may cause very bad and sometimes deadly pancreas problems (pancreatitis). This may happen soon after use as well as many years after use. Signs of pancreatitis include belly pain, upset stomach, throwing up, or not feeling hungry. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these signs.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat seizures.
  • It is used to prevent migraine headaches.
  • It is used to treat bipolar problems.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

  • If you have an allergy to valproic acid or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have any of these health problems: Liver disease or a urea cycle disorder.
  • If you are using this drug to prevent migraines and are pregnant or may be pregnant.

Valproic acid capsules:

  • Some brands of this drug have peanut oil in them. If you are allergic to peanuts, check with your pharmacist to see if your brand has peanut oil in it.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

  • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that you use this drug.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert or have clear eyesight until you see how this drug affects you.
  • To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly over a few minutes when sitting or lying down. Be careful climbing stairs.
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink beer, wine, mixed drinks, or use other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
  • Have your blood work checked. Talk with your doctor.
  • This drug may affect certain lab tests. Be sure your doctor and lab workers know you take this drug.
  • You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • Some brain problems have happened with the use of valproic acid products. Sometimes, these problems have led to health problems that may not go away. Talk with the doctor.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this drug with care. You could have more side effects.
  • Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking this drug.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of infection. These include a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, or anal itching or pain.
  • Chest pain.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Very bad swelling or pain of hands or feet.
  • Change in eyesight.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Change in thinking clearly and with logic.
  • Memory problems or loss.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Change in balance.
  • Any bruising or bleeding.
  • Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
  • Swollen gland.
  • Trouble controlling body movements, twitching, change in balance, trouble swallowing or speaking.
  • Muscle pain or weakness.
  • Joint pain or swelling.
  • Shakiness.
  • If seizures are worse or not the same after starting this drug.
  • Patients who take this drug may be at a greater risk of having thoughts or actions of suicide. The risk may be greater in people who have had these thoughts or actions in the past. Watch people who take this drug closely. Call the doctor right away if signs like low mood (depression), nervousness, restlessness, grouchiness, panic attacks, or changes in mood or actions are new or worse. Call the doctor right away if any thoughts or actions of suicide occur.
  • A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

All products:

  • Headache.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Dizziness.
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Hard stools (constipation).
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Belly pain.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Feeling more or less hungry.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • Hair loss.
  • Feeling tired or weak.

Shot:

  • Irritation or swelling where the shot was given.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

  • Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read and follow the dosing on the label closely.

All oral products:

  • Do not change the dose or stop this drug. This could cause seizures. Talk with your doctor.
  • Take as you have been told, even if you feel well.
  • Take this drug at the same time of day.
  • Take with or without food. Take with food if it causes an upset stomach.

Tablets and capsules:

  • Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
  • Take with a full glass of water.
  • If you see parts of this drug in your stool, call your doctor.
  • You may sprinkle contents of Depakote® Sprinkle® capsule on soft food like applesauce or pudding. Do not chew.

Liquid:

  • Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with this drug. If there is none, get an oral syringe, a dropper, a spoon, or a cup (only for older children) from your pharmacist.

Shot:

  • It is given as a shot into a vein.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

All oral products:

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

Shot:

  • Call the doctor to find out what to do.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

All oral products:

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Protect from light.

Shot:

  • The shot will be given to you in a hospital or doctor’s office. You will not store it at home.

All products:

  • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Copyright

Copyright © 2014 Clinical Drug Information, LLC and Lexi-Comp, Inc.