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Information about Valproate

Valproate or valproic acid is a branched chain organic acid that is used as therapy of epilepsy, bipolar disorders and migraine headaches and is a well known cause of several distinctive forms of acute and chronic liver injury.

Mechanism of action of Valproate

Valproate (val proe' ate) is a carboxylic acid derivative that appears to act by increasing brain levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the human brain. 

FDA approval information for Valproate

Valproate has been shown to be effective in several forms of seizures.  Valproate was approved for therapy of epilepsy in adults and children in 1978 and is currently one of the major anticonvulsant medications used. 

Clinical use of Valproate

Current approved uses include both monotherapy and in combination with other anticonvulsants for complex absence seizures, complex partial seizures and mixed seizure types.  Valproate is also used for prevention of migraine headaches and for bipolar disorders.  The recommended dose of valproate varies by indication. 

Dosage and administration for Valproate

The initial recommended dose for therapy of seizures is 10 to 15 mg/kg/day, with increases of 5 to 10 mg/kg/day weekly to achieve an optimal clinical response.  Monitoring of drug levels is often recommended.  Valproate is available in multiple generic and brand formulations as capsules, tablets and syrups and in delayed release forms of 125, 250 and 500 mg.  Oral forms also include divalproex, which dissociates into valproate in the gastrointestinal tract and is available in capsules of 125 mg under the brand name Depakote.  Valproate sodium is also available in parenteral formulations. 

Side effects of Valproate

Valproate has multiple side effects and clinically significant drug interactions; common side effects include headache, insomnia, nervousness, somnolence, tremor, blurred vision, nausea, weight gain and rash.

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