Valproic acid

From Academic Kids

Valproic acid or 2-Propylpentanoic acid is CH3CH2CH2CH(CH2CH2CH3)COOH .

Sodium valproate (also known as valproate, or VPA) is a sodium salt of valproic acid.

Divalproex Sodium - marketed by Abbott Laboratories as Depakote® in the USA and Canada and as Epilim® in the UK and Australia - is the semisodium salt of valproic acid, made by combining sodium valproate with valproic acid to form a chemical complex which contains half the sodium of an equivalent dose of sodium valproate.

(Orfiril® is also a Valproic acid produced by the german company Desitin used mainly in Northern Europe.)

Valproic acid, delivered in either of these forms, is a anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug used primarily in the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder; but also used to treat migraine headaches and schizophrenia. In epileptics, valproic acid is used to control absence seizures, tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal), complex partial seizures, and the seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Valproate is believed to affect the function of the neurotransmitter GABA (as a GABA transaminase inhibitor) in the human brain.

Side Effects

Common side effects are dyspepsia and/or weight-gain. Less common are dizziness, drowsiness, hair-loss, headaches, nausea, sedation and tremors,

Valproic acid can also rarely cause blood dyscrasia, impaired liver function, jaundice, thrombocytopenia, and prolonged coagulation times. In ~5% of pregnant users, valproic acid will cross the placenta and cause congenital anomalies. Some users have reported growth of curly hair during long-term medication of Sodium Valproate.

There have also been reports of cognitive dysfunction, Parkinsonian syndrome and even pseudoatrophic brain changes in long-term treatment with valproic acid.

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