What is Valproic Acid Side Effects and Who can use it

Valproic acid is an anti-epileptic utilized to treat a variety of seizure disorders but sometimes valproic acid side effects are also seen. Valproic acid is sometimes used with other seizure medications. Valproic acid is available under the following different brand names: Depakene, Stavzor, ​​and Depacon.

Also, read| ERP Therapy: The Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Valproic Acid Side Effects

With valproic acid needed effects, this medicine may cause some unwanted valproic acid side effects. While not all of these side effects may occur, they may require medical attention if they do occur.

Consult with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur-

Some Valproic acid side effects that require immediate medical attention-

More common immediate medical attention from Valproic acid side effects is-

  • Black, tarry stools
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • Blood in the urine or stools
  • Confusion
  • Cough
  • Crying
  • Delusions of persecution, mistrust, suspiciousness, or combativeness
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Dysphoria
  • False beliefs that cannot be changed by facts
  • False or unusual sense of well-being
  • Feeling of unreality
  • Fever
  • A general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • Headache
  • Hoarseness
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Mental depression
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • Poor insight and judgment
  • Problems with memory or speech
  • Quick to react or overreact emotionally
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Rapidly changing moods
  • Runny nose
  • Sense of detachment from self or body
  • Shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • Shivering
  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • Sore throat
  • Sweating
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Tingling of the hands or feet
  • Trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
  • Trouble recognizing objects
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble thinking and planning
  • Trouble walking
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Unusual weight gain or loss
  • Vomiting

Less common immediate medical attention from Valproic acid side effects is-

  • Abnormal dreams
  • Absence of or decrease in body movement
  • Anxiety
  • Bloody nose
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, “pins and needles”, or tingling feelings
  • Change in personality
  • Change in walking and balance
  • Changes in patterns and rhythms of speech
  • Chest pain
  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • Cold sweats
  • Constipation
  • Dark urine
  • Deep or fast breathing with dizziness
  • Degenerative disease of the joint
  • Difficulty with moving
  • Discouragement
  • Dizziness
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive muscle tone
  • Fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
  • Fear
  • The feeling of warmth or heat
  • Feeling sad or empty
  • Flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Heavy non-menstrual vaginal bleeding
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Indigestion
  • Irritability
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of coordination
  • Large, flat, blue, or purplish patches in the skin
  • Leg cramps
  • Lip-smacking or puckering
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Loss of strength or energy
  • Multiple swollen and inflamed skin lesions
  • Muscle pain or stiffness
  • Muscle tension or tightness
  • Normal menstrual bleeding occurring earlier, possibly lasting longer than expected
  • Numbness of the feet, hands, and around the mouth
  • Pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • Passing urine more often
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Puffing of the cheeks
  • Rapid or worm-like movements of the tongue
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Restlessness
  • Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • Shakiness and unsteady walk
  • Slurred speech
  • Small red or purple spots on the skin
  • Sweating
  • Swollen joints
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble with concentrating
  • Trouble with speaking
  • Twitching
  • Uncontrolled chewing movements
  • Uncontrolled movements of the arms and legs
  • Unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
  • Vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Yellow eyes or skin

Incidence not known of immediate medical attention from Some Valproic acid side effects is-

  • Aggression
  • Bladder pain
  • Blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin
  • Blisters on the skin
  • Bone pain, tenderness, or aching
  • Chest discomfort
  • Cloudy urine
  • Decrease in height
  • Decreased urine output
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Feeling that others are watching you or controlling your behavior
  • Feeling that others can hear your thoughts
  • Feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there
  • Hives, itching, skin rash
  • Increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
  • Increased thirst
  • Irritability
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Loss of balance control
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Mask-like face
  • Pain in the back, ribs, arms, or legs
  • Pain or swelling in the arms or legs without any injury
  • Puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • Red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Redness or other discoloration of the skin
  • Seizures
  • Severe mood or mental changes
  • Severe sunburn
  • Shuffling walk
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Slowed movements
  • Slurred speech
  • Sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • Stiffness of the arms and legs
  • Swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
  • Swollen or painful glands
  • Tic-like (jerky) movements of the head, face, mouth, and neck
  • Unusual behavior

Some Valproic acid side effects that not require immediate medical attention

Some sort of side effects of valproic acid may occur which usually don’t need medical attention. In addition with these side effects may go away during treatment because your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional can be able to tell you about various ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check and consult with your health care professional if any of these following side effects continue or are irritates you or if you may have any questions about them-

More common Some Valproic acid side effects that not require immediate medical attention

  • Belching
  • Body aches or pain
  • Change in vision
  • Congestion
  • Continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • Hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • Hearing loss
  • Heartburn
  • Impaired vision
  • Lack or loss of strength
  • Loss of memory
  • Problems with memory
  • Seeing double
  • Tender, swollen glands in the neck
  • Uncontrolled eye movements
  • Voice changes
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss

Less common Some Valproic acid side effects that not require immediate medical attention-

  • Absent, missed, or irregular menstrual periods
  • Burning, dry, or itching eyes
  • Change in taste or bad unusual or unpleasant (after) taste
  • Coin-shaped lesions on the skin
  • Cough producing mucus
  • Cramps
  • Dandruff
  • Discharge or excessive tearing
  • Dry skin
  • Earache
  • Excess air or gas in the stomach or bowels
  • Eye pain
  • The feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • Full feeling
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Increased appetite
  • Itching of the vagina or genital area
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Neck pain
  • Oily skin
  • Pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • Passing gas
  • Rash with flat lesions or small raised lesions on the skin
  • Redness or swelling in the ear
  • Redness, pain, swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
  • Redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
  • Sensation of spinning
  • Sneezing
  • Stiff neck
  • Stopping menstrual bleeding
  • Thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor

Incidence not known some Valproic acid side effects that not require immediate medical attention-

  • Breast enlargement
  • Changes in hair color or texture
  • Discoloration of the fingernails or toenails
  • Increased hair growth, especially on the face
  • Unexpected or excess milk flow from the breasts
  • Other than these side effects that are not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, contact your health care professional.

Why Valproic Acid medication prescribed?

Valproic acid usually is used alone or with other medications to cure specific types of seizures. Valproic acid is also utilized to treat mania (episodes of manic, unusually agitated mood) in individuals with bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder; an illness characterized by episodes of depression, episodes of mania, and another sort of abnormal moods).

This may also be used to prevent migraine headaches but not to relieve and relax headaches that have already started. Valproic acid is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It mainly works by increasing the amount of a certain natural substance in your brain.

Valproic Acid Key Facts to Remember Before use

  1. It is common to take valproic acid 2 or 3 times a day. You can even take it with or without food.
  2. If you are pregnant or there is a chance that you will become pregnant, valproic acid is not recommended for bipolar disorder or migraine. For epilepsy, your doctor will only prescribe valproic acid for you if there are no other suitable treatments.
  3. You will usually start on a low dose. Your dose will be increased gradually over a few days or weeks.
  4. Sodium valproate and semisodium valproate are the same as valproic acid and work in the same way. However, these drugs are used to treat different diseases and the dosage will vary.
  5. There are also brands such as Epilim Chrono and Epilim Chronosphere that contain mostly sodium valproate with some valproic acid.

Valproic Acid Side Effects Symptoms of Overdose 

  • Change in consciousness
  • Fainting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat

Get immediate emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking valproic acid

FAQ’s Related to Valproic Acid Side Effects

What are the adverse effects of valproic acid?

Diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, hair loss, blurred/double vision, changes in menstrual periods, ringing in the ears, tremors (tremors), unsteadiness, weight changes may occur. If you face any of these effects or some other effects and which may suddenly worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist urgently.

What does valproic acid do to the brain?

How does valproic acid affect the brain? Brain cells need to work (fire) at a certain rate to function normally. During seizures, brain cells are forced to work faster than normal. Valproic acid helps prevent brain cells from working as fast as are needed for seizures.

What do you watch for while taking valproic acid?

Obtain baseline complete blood cell count with differential (with CBC difference); Liver function test and pregnancy test for women. Monitor Depakote levels, liver function tests, and CBC every 3-6 months. Monitor the development of polycystic ovary disease in women.

What are the serious side effects of Depakote?

Diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, hair loss, blurred/double vision, changes in menstrual periods, ringing in the ears, tremors (tremors), unsteadiness, weight changes may occur. If you face any of these effects or some other effects and which may suddenly worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist urgently. You may rarely see fractional tablets in your stool.

Did valproic acid damage the brain?

Valproic acid can cause major birth defects (physical problems present at birth), especially affecting the brain and spinal cord, and may cause low intelligence and problems with movement and coordination, learning, communication, emotions, and behavior of babies who have been exposed to valproic acid before birth which may create a further problem.

Is Valproic Acid Safe?

It is uncommon for serious side effects to occur after taking valproic acid. Tell the doctor right away if you have: thoughts of harming or killing yourself – a small number of people taking valproic acid have suicidal thoughts. Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes – these can be warning signs of liver problems.

Why does valproic acid cause weight gain?

Changes in energy intake or expenditure may result from, or be associated with, changes in biological mechanisms, including hormone levels. In vitro studies tells that VPA initiates pancreatic insulin secretion which may increase appetite and energy storage and which then result in weight gain.

Can Valproic Acid Cause Depression?

Valproic acid can cause some people to become agitated, irritable, or exhibit other unusual behavior. This can cause suicidal thoughts and tendencies in some people or make them more depressed.

Can you stop taking valproic acid?

Do not stop using valproic acid suddenly, even if you feel well. Stopping suddenly can cause a serious, life-threatening type of seizure. Follow your doctor’s instructions about reducing your dose.

Can you drink alcohol while taking valproic acid?

Valproic acid capsules may cause drowsiness and dizziness. So do not drink alcohol or take other types of medicines that make you sleepy or dizzy while taking valproic acid capsules, unless you consult with your doctor.

How do you reduce sodium valproate?

Medications such as phenytoin and valproate can be tapered to zero in a few days, carbamazepine, lamotrigine, and vigabatrin over 2-3 weeks, and clonazepam, clobazam, and primidone over weeks to months.

Did Valproic Acid help Depression?

Valproic acid may specifically helpful for patients who have symptoms and signs of mania and depression at the same time (a ‘mixed’ episode) or who have more than four mood episodes per year (this is called ‘rapid cycling’). This drug can also particularly target aggressive or impulsive behavioral problems.

 

 

 

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