This medication is used to treat seizure disorders, mental/mood conditions (such as manic phase of bipolar disorder), and to prevent migraine headaches. It works by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain.
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking valproic acid and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. You may take it with food if stomach upset occurs. Swallow the capsule whole. Do not crush or chew the capsule, which can irritate the mouth or throat. The dosage is based on your age, weight, medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each day to keep the amount of medication in your blood constant. If this medication is used for seizures, do not stop taking it without consulting your doctor. Your condition may become worse if the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased. This medication does not relieve acute migraine headaches. Take other medications as directed by your doctor for acute attacks. Inform your doctor if your condition does not improve.
See also Warning section. Diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, hair loss, blurred/double vision, change in menstrual periods, ringing in the ears, shakiness (tremor), unsteadiness, weight changes may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. A small number of people who take anticonvulsants for any condition (such as seizure, bipolar disorder, pain) may experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems. Tell your doctor right away if you or your family/caregiver notice any unusual/sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior including signs of depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, thoughts about harming yourself. Severe (sometimes fatal) brain disorder (encephalopathy) has rarely occurred, particularly in patients with certain metabolic disorders (urea cycle disorders). Tell your doctor right away if you develop unexplained weakness, vomiting, or sudden mental/mood changes (such as confusion). Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: chest pain, easy bruising/unexplained bleeding, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, swelling of hands/feet, uncontrolled eye movement (nystagmus), feeling cold/shivering, rapid breathing, loss of consciousness. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: certain antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, nortriptyline, phenelzine), certain antibiotics (carbapenems such as doripenem, imipenem), mefloquine, orlistat, other medications for seizure (e.g., ethosuximide, lamotrigine, phenytoin, rufinamide, topiramate), rifampin, vorinostat, warfarin, zidovudine. Low-dose aspirin, as prescribed by your doctor for specific medical reasons such as heart attack or stroke prevention (usually these dosages are 81-325 milligrams per day), should be continued. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are using aspirin for any reason. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone). Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely. This drug may affect certain lab tests (e.g., urine ketones). Make sure laboratory personnel and your doctors know you use this medication.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: excessive drowsiness, coma, irregular/slow heartbeat.