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sodium valproate

Generic name: Sodium valproate

Available as: Convulex (valproic acid enteric coated): capsules 150mg, 300mg, 500mg.
Epilim: tablets 200mg, 500mg, crushable tablets 100mg, liquid (sugar free) 200mg/5ml, syrup 200mg/5ml.
Epilim Chrono: tablets 200mg, 300mg, 500mg.
Epilim Chronosphere: (granules) 50mg, 100mg, 250mg, 500mg, 750mg, 1000mg.
Episenta (prolonged release): capsules 150mg, 300mg, granules 500mg, 1000mg.
Epival: modified release tablets 300mg, 500mg.
​Sodium valproate: crushable tablets 100mg, 200mg, 500mg, oral solution 200mg/5ml.

Adults

Average total daily dose: 1000mg – 2000mg daily divided into 1 or 2 doses, up to 2500mg daily.

Doses per day: 1 – 2

Treatment: Effective for all types of seizures. 

Most common possible side effects include the following. Report severe reactions, such as a skin rash, to your doctor.
Hair loss – not usually severe and is usually reversible if the dose is reduced. Nausea, stomach upset, diarrhoea, and weight gain (due to increased appetite), increased levels of ammonia in the blood, and reduced platelets in the blood. Has been associated with polycystic ovaries and menstrual problems. Sodium valproate carries a higher risk than other AEDs of causing developmental problems in unborn babies if taken during pregnancy. Having preconceptual counselling is recommended.

Children

Average total daily dose: 1 month – 12 years: 25 – 30mg/kg daily divided into 2 doses. Up to 60mg/kg daily divided into 2 doses for infantile spasms.

Doses per day: 2

Treatment: Effective for all forms of seizures including infantile spasms.

Most common possible side effects include the following. Report severe reactions, such as a skin rash, to your doctor.
Hair loss – not usually severe and is usually reversible if the dose is reduced. Nausea, stomach upset, diarrhoea, and weight gain (due to increased appetite). Hyperactivity and behaviour problems. Has been associated with polycystic ovaries and menstrual problems.

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Please note:

  • This information is a guide only, and lists the usual daily doses of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). The dose taken may be different to those listed above.

  • Treatment of neonatal seizures (from birth to 28 days of age) is not covered.

  • Most doses are listed as ‘mg/kg’: this means milligrams of AED per kg of the child’s weight.

  • Children starting AED treatment at the age of 12 may start on adult doses. Some AEDs are only used for children aged 12 and over (including eslicarbazepine acetate, lacosamide, perampanel, pregabalin, retigabine and tiagabine).

  • Some AED doses are listed as ‘twice daily’ (for example ‘5mg/kg twice daily’). This means that the dose listed is taken each time (and so the total daily dose will be double that listed).

  • Some AED doses are listed as ‘divided into 2 (or 3) doses’ (for example ‘25 - 30mg/kg daily divided into 2 doses’). This means that the total amount listed is divided into two to give the dose taken each time.

  • ‘Effective’ means the seizures it works for. ‘Monotherapy’ means the AED is taken on its own. ‘Add-on therapy’ means the AED is taken alongside other AEDs. ‘Tolerance’ means that a drug becomes less effective the longer you take it.

  • Information for this page comes from sources including the British National Formulary (BNF), the British National Formulary for children (BNFC) and the electronic medicines Compendium (eMC). The side effects listed here are some of the most common possible side effects and may be worded differently in the patient information leaflet for the AED. Doctors may refer to the BNF/BNFC for starting doses and how to increase doses. For more details, and a complete list of side effects, visit medicines.org.uk/emc(opens new window).

  • Every effort is made to ensure that all information is correct at time of publishing but information may change after publication. This information is not a substitute for advice from your doctor. Epilepsy Society is not responsible for any actions taken as a result of using this information.

Are you receiving the right information?

Our sodium valproate survey showed us that almost 70% of the women surveyed haven't received new safety warnings about the dangers of taking it during pregnancy. Read the sodium valproate guidelines

Girls and women under 50, are you taking sodium valproate? Please read about this important information...