The mechanism by which Valproic Acid acts is not yet fully known , even if it seems to depend partially on the increase of the synthesis and on the brain decrease of the degradation of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) , increasing the level of this inhibitory neurotransmitter. .
Associated with its sodium salt , it reduces excitability and high frequency neuronal discharges. The result is therefore increased sedation and less excitement at the neuronal level.
What is Valproic Acid used for?
It is an anticonvulsant drug , whose sodium salt and its amide derivatives are used to treat both the diverse forms of generalized epilepsy , both partial epilepsy . It is also used in some mood disorders (manic disorders, bipolar disorder).
How is Valproic Acid taken?
Administration is in the form of tablets or granules for solution , or intravenously .
Side effects of Valproic acid
It is considered one of the strongest anti-epileptics as it acts, in addition to the nervous level, also in the brain. Several, and very often important, are the side effects that taking this drug can generate:
- skeletal muscle disorders: muscle weakness, motor disorders;
- immune system disorders: systemic lupus erythematosus, rhabdomyolysis.
- reproductive and breast disorders: high testosterone levels, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, male infertility;
- nervous system disorders: tremor, paraesthesia , extrapyramidal disorders (inability to sit still, stiffness, tremors, slow movements, involuntary movements, muscle twitches), feeling sleepy, convulsive symptoms, insufficient memory, headache , nystagmus, spasticity, ataxia , coma, encephalopathy, lethargy, reversible parkinsonism, cognitive disorders;
- gastrointestinal disorders: feeling of nausea , retching, gum disease, stomatitis, abdominal pain, diarrhea (especially at the beginning of treatment), hypersalivation, pancreatitis;
- hepatobiliary disorders: severe liver dysfunction;
- metabolic and nutrition disorders: hyponatremia, dose-dependent increase or weight loss, increased appetite , loss of appetite;
- psychiatric disorders: confusional state, hallucinations, aggression, attention disorders, irritability, hyperactivity and confusion;
- blood and lymphatic system disorders: anemia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia , leukopenia or pancytopenia, hypoplasia of red blood cells, peripheral edema, bleeding;
- skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: hypersensitivity, transient alopecia , angioedema, rash, hair changes, erythema, allergic reactions;
- vascular disorders: bleeding, vasculitis, clotting disorders;
- ear disorders: deafness, tinnitus;
- kidney and urinary disorders: kidney failure, enuresis, tubulointerstitial nephritis.
Contraindications and warnings of Valproic Acid
Different drugs can change, in one way or another, the bioavailability of Valproic Acid. Among these, the other anti-convulsant drugs that can be used in association in the treatment of epilepsy are especially remembered .
Before its intake, a careful check of liver function, blood count and coagulation is advisable . The most suitable therapeutic concentration is subjective and also depends on the liver and kidney functions. As regards administration during pregnancy , the balance between the benefits for maternal health and the risks for the fetus must be assessed.
Valproic acid can cause unwanted effects in the infant ; therefore, it is necessary to decide whether to discontinue breastfeeding or treatment with the medicine.