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Sodium Valproate

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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.
  • 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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