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It is not clear how valproate prevents seizures.
Valproate is a drug of choice for:
Valproate prevents seizures in most people who use it to
control complex partial seizures and absence seizures. It is also effective
against generalized tonic-clonic seizures, myoclonic seizures, and atonic
Common side effects of valproate include:
These side effects may increase as the dosage needed to control
seizures increases. Because valproate levels in the body tend to go up and
down, some side effects may vary from day to day or even within a single day.
Nausea and stomach problems usually go away after the body adjusts to the drug.
Hair loss, weight gain, and tremors often come with long-term use of the
Skin rash, a very common side effect of antiepileptic drugs, is
less common with valproate. Valproate tends to have less effect on your
thinking, memory, or learning processes than other antiepileptic drugs (as long
as the drug levels in your bloodstream do not become too high).
Using valproate for a long time can increase your risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.
FDA Advisory. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has
issued an advisory on antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and the risk of suicide. Talk
to your doctor about these possible side effects and the warning signs of suicide in adults and in children and teens.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
It may take time and careful, controlled adjustments by you and
your doctor to find the combination, schedule, and dosing of medicine to best
manage your epilepsy. The goal is to prevent seizures while causing as few
side effects as possible. After you and your doctor figure out the
program that works best for you, make sure to follow your
program exactly as prescribed.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Drugs for epilepsy (2008). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 6(70): 37–46.
August 28, 2013
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
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