Sodium Valproate

About

Sodium Valproate is an anti convulsant used to control seizures/fits. It is often used as a first line medicine to treat genetic generalised epilepsies and myoclonic seizure disorders in children.

Sodium Valproate must be prescribed by a doctor. You should never give your child anyone else's medications.

 

Disclaimer

The information provided in this handout is limited and does not replace the need for a medical consultation. It is very important you speak to your doctor about all aspects of your medication including side effects when medication is first prescribed. Report any concerns to your doctor promptly.

Side effects

All medications have side effects. Not everyone will experience them.

Below are some of the possible side effects your child may experience:

  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Abdominal pain / tummy pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Tremor
  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Headache
  • Hair loss - usually mild
  • Low platelet counts
  • Menstrual disturbances

Other possible side effects

  • Rarely serious liver dysfunction
  • Rarely pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Bed wetting
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Decreased bone density – bone softening
  • Deterioration in thinking or intellectual abilities, memory impairment and behavioural changes

Interactions

Your Doctor will check and make sure that other drugs your child is taking are compatible with Sodium Valproate. This is also important if you are giving your child herbal or complementary medicines. The doctor can check to make sure they are compatible.

There are special precautions to take if Lamotrigine is added.

Need-to-know

Sodium Valproate is usually not used if your child has a metabolic problem known as Mitochondrial disease or is suspected of having this disorder.

Monitoring and Levels

Often your doctor will do blood tests prior to starting Sodium Valproate and may recheck them 6 to 8 weeks after starting. However frequent blood monitoring is not indicated unless there is a specific need.

Epilepsy and Pregnancy

  • Sodium Valproate can have teratogenic effects on the unborn child. The higher the dosage the greater the risk. 
  • If a pregnancy is planned a discussion with your neurologist is mandatory. This is an important matter.
  • For further information, refer to the Contraception and Pregnancy section.