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Sodium valproate may increase the anti-blood-clotting effect of warfarin. Your doctor may want to check your blood clotting time (INR) more frequently if you take valproate with warfarin.
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The brain and nerves are made up of many nerve cells that communicate with each other through electrical signals. These signals must be carefully regulated for the brain and nerves to function properly. When abnormally rapid and repetitive electrical signals are released in the brain, the brain becomes over-stimulated and normal function is disturbed. This results in fits or seizures.
There may be increased drowsiness and sedation if sodium valproate is taken with benzodiazepines, eg diazepam.
Sodium valproate may increase the blood levels of the following medicines. As this could increase the risk of their side effects, your doctor may need to reduce the dose of these medicines if you taken them in combination with sodium valproate:
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
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In addition to its licensed use for treating epilepsy, sodium valproate is used off-licence by specialists as a mood stabiliser for treating people with the psychiatric illness, bipolar affective disorder. Although this use is not licensed, the medicine has been shown to be effective for controlling episodes of mania in this condition, and for helping prevent future episodes of ill health. It is not fully understood how sodium valproate works as a mood stabiliser in bipolar disorder, but it is thought to be to do with the increased activity of GABA in the brain.
Sodium valproate prevents epileptic fits by preventing the excessive electrical activity in the brain. It is thought to achieve this by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediay.
The following medicines may decrease the blood level of sodium valproate:
Valproic acid and valproate semisodium are other forms of sodium valproate. All three can be known simply as valproate. Convulex contains valproic acid and is licensed for epilepsy. Depakote contains valproate semisodium and is licensed for bipolar disorder.
If you are taking enteric-coated sodium valproate tablets it is important that you don't take indigestion remedies (antacids) at the same time of day as the tablets. This is because indigestion remedies can make the special 'enteric coating' ineffective.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Sodium valproate may also stabilise the electrical nerve activity by preventing sodium from entering the nerve cells when they begin to fire rapid and repetitive electrical signals. A build up of sodium in the nerve cells is necessary for an electrical signal to build up and be passed on, so sodium valproate may also prevent fits in this way.
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Sodium valproate is thought to increase the production and prevent the breakdown of GABA in the brain. This increases the calming activity of GABA in the brain, which stabilises the electrical nerve activity and helps prevent fits.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
Sodium valproate does not affect the contraceptive pill.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are stored in nerve cells and are involved in transmitting messages between the nerve cells. GABA is a neurotransmitter that acts as a natural 'nerve-calming' agent. It helps keep the nerve activity in the brain in balance.
Sodium valproate crushable tablets, enteric-coated tablets and oral solution are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.
Wherever possible, it is recommended that people with epilepsy always receive the same brand of their antiepileptic medicine. This is because different brands of these medicines may differ in the way they are absorbed into the body, which could either reduce the effect of the medicine and increase the risk of seizures, or increase the effect of the medicine and hence increase the risk of side effects. You should make sure you know what brand of valproate you normally take and check with your pharmacist if you are ever dispensed a different brand. Last updated 15.01.2014.
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It is recommended that people who are taking any antiepileptic medicines should avoid taking the herbal remedy St John's wort ( Hypericum perforatum ). This is because St John's wort may affect the level of antiepileptic medicines in the blood and could increase the risk of seizures.
There may also be an increased risk of various other side effects, including weight gain and a drop in white blood cell count, if olanzapine is taken with sodium valproate. If you are taking olanzapine in combination with sodium valproate it is important to l your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms: sore throat, mouth ulcers, high temperature (fever), or general illness or infection. Your doctor may want to take a blood test to check your blood cells.
There may be an increased risk of side effects on the liver if sodium valproate is taken with carbamazepine or olanzapine.
Epilim crushable tablets, gastro-resistant (enteric-coated) tablets, syrup, liquid and injection all contain the active ingredient sodium valproate, which is a medicine that is used mainly to treat epilepsy. Sodium valproate is also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine. Sodium valproate works by stabilising electrical activity in the brain.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
The following medicines may increase the blood level of sodium valproate:
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
It is important to l your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
Colestyramine may reduce the absorption of sodium valproate from the gut. This can be minimised by separating doses of these medicines by at least three hours.
Epilim side effects