"Dec. 2, 2010 -- Babies born to women who take the antiseizure drug carbamazepine have a more than twofold increased risk for the birth defect spina bifida, a study shows.
But researchers say the drug still has less risk of birth defects"...
(valproic acid) Delayed-release Capsules
LIFE-THREATENING ADVERSE REACTIONS
General Population: Hepatic failure resulting in fatalities has occurred in patients receiving valproic acid and its derivatives. These incidents usually have occurred during the first six months of treatment. Serious or fatal hepatotoxicity may be preceded by non-specific symptoms such as malaise, weakness, lethargy, facial edema, anorexia, and vomiting. In patients with epilepsy, a loss of seizure control may also occur. Patients should be monitored closely for appearance of these symptoms. Serum liver tests should be performed prior to therapy and at frequent intervals thereafter, especially during the first six months [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Children under the age of two years are at a considerably increased risk of developing fatal hepatotoxicity, especially those on multiple anticonvulsants, those with congenital metabolic disorders, those with severe seizure disorders accompanied by mental retardation, and those with organic brain disease. When Stavzor is used in this patient group, it should be used with extreme caution and as a sole agent. The benefits of therapy should be weighed against the risks. The incidence of fatal hepatotoxicity decreases considerably in progressively older patient groups.
Patients with Mitochondrial Disease: There is an increased risk of valproate-induced acute liver failure and resultant deaths in patients with hereditary neurometabolic syndromes caused by DNA mutations of the mitochondrial DNA Polymerase γ (POLG) gene (e.g. Alpers Huttenlocher Syndrome) Stavzor is contraindicated in patients known to have mitochondrial disorders caused by POLG mutations and children under two years of age who are clinically suspected of having a mitochondrial disorder [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. In patients over two years of age who are clinically suspected of having a hereditary mitochondrial disease, Stavzor should only be used after other anticonvulsants have failed. This older group of patients should be closely monitored during treatment with Stavzor for the development of acute liver injury with regular clinical assessments and serum liver testing. POLG mutation screening should be performed in accordance with current clinical practice. [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. These incidents usually have occurred during the first 6 months of treatment. Serious or fatal hepatotoxicity may be preceded by nonspecific symptoms such as malaise, weakness, lethargy, facial edema, anorexia, and vomiting. In patients with epilepsy, a loss of seizure control may also occur. Patients should be monitored closely for appearance of these symptoms. Liver function tests should be performed prior to therapy and at frequent intervals thereafter, especially during the first 6 months [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Valproate can cause major congenital malformations, particularly neural tube defects (e.g., spina bifida). In addition, valproate can cause decreased IQ scores following in utero exposure. Valproate is therefore contraindicated in pregnant women treated for prophylaxis of migraine [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Valproate should only be used to treat pregnant women with epilepsy or bipolar disorder if other medications have failed to control their symptoms or are otherwise unacceptable.
Valproate should not be administered to a woman of childbearing potential unless the drug is essential to the management of her medical condition. This is especially important when valproate use is considered for a condition not usually associated with permanent injury or death (e.g., migraine). Women should use effective contraception while using valproate [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
A Medication Guide describing the risks of valproate is available for patients. [see PATIENT INFORMATION].
Cases of life-threatening pancreatitis have been reported in both children and adults receiving valproate. Some of the cases have been described as hemorrhagic with a rapid progression from initial symptoms to death. Cases have been reported shortly after initial use as well as after several years of use. Patients and guardians should be warned that abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and/or anorexia can be symptoms of pancreatitis that require prompt medical evaluation. If pancreatitis is diagnosed, valproate should ordinarily be discontinued. Alternative treatment for the underlying medical condition should be initiated as clinically indicated [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Valproic acid is a carboxylic acid designated as 2–propylpentanoic acid. It is also known as dipropylacetic acid. Valproic acid (pKa 4.8) has a molecular weight of 144 and occurs as a colorless liquid with a characteristic odor. It is slightly soluble in water (1.3 mg/ml) and very soluble in organic solvents. Valproic acid has the following structure
Stavzor (valproic acid) delayed release capsules are for oral administration and are provided as orange-colored, oval-shaped capsules in 3 dosage strengths: 125 mg, 250 mg, 500 mg of valproic acid.
Stavzor (valproic acid) delayed release capsules also contain ammonium hydroxide, gelatin, glycerin, methacrylic acid copolymer, triethyl citrate, water, and FD&C Yellow No. 6 as the colorant. Each capsule is printed with Opacode WB as the black printing ink.
What are the possible side effects of valproic acid (Depakene, Stavzor)?
Seek emergency medical attention if the person taking this medicine has nausea, vomiting, upper stomach pain, or loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). These symptoms may be early signs of liver damage. Some of these symptoms may also be early signs of pancreatitis.
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically),...
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/19/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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