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Valproate sodium

val-pro-ate so-dee-um

What does it do?

Valproate sodium is used to treat and prevent seizures. It is also sometimes used for other conditions.

How should you take it?

Take valproate sodium regularly as directed with food and a glass of water.
Swallow the enteric coated (EC) 200 mg and 500 mg tablets whole.
You can crush the 100 mg tablets.
Measure the liquid carefully with an oral syringe or measuring spoon. Shake the bottle well before measuring each dose.

What if you forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as possible and continue as directed.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with valproate sodium including:

  • anti-sickness medicines (e.g. Sea-legs®)
  • some antihistamines (may be in anti-allergy, anti-nausea and cough/cold medicines)

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products (e.g. ginkgo) or recreational drugs (e.g. ecstasy).

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Skin rash, skin peeling or blisters

Stop taking and see your doctor immediately

Suicidal thoughts

Severe stomach pain, nausea

Symptoms of liver problems including: yellow skin or eyes, itching, dark urine, pale bowel motions, abdominal pain

Reduced number of blood cells that fight infections or help your blood to clot - symptoms include: fever, chills, sore throat or generally feeling unwell, or easy or unusual bruising or bleeding

Tell your doctor immediately

Confusion, drowsiness or weakness

Loss of co-ordination/walking or handwriting problems, low mood, memory problems, nervousness

Tell your doctor

Changes in vision, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, headache, dizziness, trouble sleeping

Joint, muscle or bone aches and pains


Swollen feet or legs

Hair loss or thinning

Changes in periods

Diarrhoea, change of appetite or weight, stomach upset

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have liver or blood problems.
  • Valproate sodium can impair your ability to do tasks such as driving or using machines. Alcohol makes this worse. Discuss your risk with your health professional. (search NZTA - Are you safe to drive?)
  • Valproate sodium may cause birth defects. Women should use reliable contraception while taking it. If you plan to get pregnant, or find you are pregnant, contact your doctor. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not stop taking valproate sodium without talking to your doctor first, unless you have a skin rash (see Side Effects).

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. October 2020

For more general information about this sheet annd its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed