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Sodium Valproate

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Sodium Valproate - What is it for

Sodium valproate is used to control some types of seizures (commonly known as fits). It is also used as a mood stabiliser to help reduce mood swings in bipolar disorder. This medication is also used in other medical conditions such as prevention of migraine headaches.

Sodium Valproate - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Sodium Valproate cause?

Like all medications, sodium valproate may cause some possible side effects but not everyone experiences them. Consult your healthcare professional if any of the side effects lasts more than a few days or become severe and bothersome.

The common side effects of sodium valproate include:

  • Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
    • Get up slowly from sitting or lying down position
  • Drowsiness
    • Avoid driving, operating machinery or doing strenuous physical activities
  • Diarrhoea
    • Drink more water to keep hydrated
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach upset or stomach cramp
    • Take the medicine with or after food to reduce nausea and vomiting
    • Avoid food that is too rich, spicy or has strong smells
    • Eat small but frequent meals to minimise bloating after a meal
  • Change in hair texture to finer at the beginning when you start to use the medicine
  • Increase in appetite, weight gain
    • Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Slight and fine tremors of fingers and hands at the beginning of using the medicine
  • Irregular and/or painful menstruation
If the following serious side effects happen, you should consult your healthcare professional immediately:
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash due to Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN)
    • SJS and TEN are rare and serious skin reactions. Symptoms include face swelling, blisters on skin, skin rashes that spread within hours to days. It usually occurs within the first few months (monitor closely for the first 3 months) of treatment.
    • As SJS and TEN progress rapidly, please consult your healthcare professional if you show the first sign of rash.
  • Severe weakness or dizziness
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Liver problems: Dark coloured urine or light-coloured stools, yellowing of your eyes or skin, severe loss of appetite, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting that does not go away
  • Blurred vision or double vision/unsteady movements

In rare cases, this medication may cause the following changes to a person's mental condition, especially in the first few weeks of treatment or during dose changes:

  • Worsening agitation, restlessness, violent behaviour, or
  • New or worsening thoughts of harming yourself or ending your life
  • Other changes in mood or behavior 

Please inform your doctor as soon as possible, or for your family or caregiver to inform your doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.

Do not stop taking this medication on your own without discussing with your doctor.

It is important to note that your doctor has prescribed this medication as he/she feels you will benefit more from taking this medication over the possible risks that it may cause, which have a low chance of occurring, and most people take this medication without any such problems.

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Sodium Valproate , what precautions must I follow?

Inform your healthcare professionals if you have the following medical conditions before starting on sodium valproate:

  • Liver problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Pancreas problems
  • Blood related disease
  • Drug allergies

For female patients of child-bearing age: Discuss with your doctor regarding family planning if you will be starting or currently taking sodium valproate.

Consult your healthcare professional immediately if your seizures get worse or become different after you have started this medication.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Sodium Valproate ?

  • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medication as it can cause excessive drowsiness.
  • There are several medications that affect the level of this medication in your body. Please consult your healthcare professional before using any other medications, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal products.

Sodium Valproate - Dosage and How to Use

How should Sodium Valproate be used?

  • Follow the instructions on your medication label and take the medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • You should take this medication with or after food.
  • If you are taking the controlled-release tablet (Chrono), swallow the tablet whole or halved, do not chew or crush. These tablets are specially designed to release the medicine slowly over a period of time.
  • If you are taking the enteric coated tablets, swallow it whole, do not crush or chew. This formulation of sodium valproate helps to reduce stomach upset caused by this medication.
  • If you are using oral syrup, do not mix the medication with any carbonated drink. Use a medicine spoon or graduated syringe provided to measure your medication. Do not use household spoons as they may not be accurate.
  • You may not experience any benefits immediately after starting the medication as it may take up to a few weeks before this medication can work fully. You should continue to take your medication regularly as instructed by your doctor even if you feel well. Stopping your medicines without informing your healthcare professional may cause your condition to worsen quickly.
  • Do not stop taking or adjust the dose of this medication without consulting your healthcare professional. Do not change the medication that was dispensed to you without informing your healthcare professional.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only the usual dose. Do not double your dose or use extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.

What should I do if I overdose?

Sodium Valproate - Handling

How should I handle Sodium Valproate safely?

Sodium Valproate - Storage

How should I store Sodium Valproate ?

;#Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

​Keep the medication in the original container, tightly closed or sealed.

How should I dispose of Sodium Valproate safely?

Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing into the rubbish chute or bin.

Sodium Valproate - Additional Information


  • Updated on 3/31/2022 12:00:00 AM
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth


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