VALPROIC- valproic acid capsule, liquid filled
General Population: Hepatic failure resulting in fatalities has occurred in patients receiving valproate. 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 ( 5.1 )].
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 seve re seizure disorders accompanied by mental retardation, and those with organic brain disease. When Valproic Acid products are used in this patient group, they 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). Valproic Acid 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 ( 4 )]. In patients over two years of age who are clinically suspected of having a hereditary mitochondrial disease, Valproic Acid should only be used after other anticonvulsants have failed. This older group of patients should be closely monitored during treatment with Valproic Acid 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 ( 5.1 )].
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 should only be used to treat pregnant women with epilepsy 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
A Medication Guide describing the risks of valproate is available for patients [see Patient Counseling Information ( 17 )].
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 ( 5.5 )].
Valproic Acid is indicated as monotherapy and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of patients with complex partial seizures that occur either in isolation or in association with other types of seizures. Valproic Acid is indicated for use as sole and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of simple and complex absence seizures, and adjunctively in patients with multiple seizure types which include absence seizures.
Simple absence is defined as very brief clouding of the sensorium or loss of consciousness accompanied by certain generalized epileptic discharges without other detectable clinical signs. Complex absence is the term used when other signs are also present.
See Warnings and Precaution ( 5.1) for statement regarding fatal hepatic dysfunction.
Because of the risk to the fetus of decreased IQ, neural tube defects, and other major congenital malformations, which may occur very early in pregnancy, valproate should not be administered to a woman of childbearing potential unless the drug is essential to the management of her medical condition [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.2, 5.3, 5.4) , Use in Specific Populations ( 8.1) , and Patient Counseling Information ( 17) ].
Valproic Acid is intended for oral administration. Valproic Acid capsules should be swallowed whole without chewing to avoid local irritation of the mouth and throat.
Patients should be informed to take Valproic Acid every day as prescribed. If a dose is missed it should be taken as soon as possible, unless it is almost time for the next dose. If a dose is skipped, the patient should not double the next dose.
Valproic Acid is indicated as monotherapy and adjunctive therapy in complex partial seizures in adults and pediatric patients down to the age of 10 years, and in simple and complex absence seizures. As the Valproic Acid dosage is titrated upward, concentrations of clonazepam, diazepam, ethosuximide, lamotrigine, tolbutamide, phenobarbital, carbamazepine, and/or phenytoin may be affected [see Drug Interactions ( 7.2) ].
Complex Partial Seizures
For adults and children 10 years of age or older.
Monotherapy (Initial Therapy)
Valproic Acid has not been systematically studied as initial therapy. Patients should initiate therapy at 10 to 15 mg/kg/day. The dosage should be increased by 5 to 10 mg/kg/week to achieve optimal clinical response. Ordinarily, optimal clinical response is achieved at daily doses below 60 mg/kg/day. If satisfactory clinical response has not been achieved, plasma levels should be measured to determine whether or not they are in the usually accepted therapeutic range (50 to 100 mcg/mL). No recommendation regarding the safety of valproate for use at doses above 60 mg/kg/day can be made.
The probability of thrombocytopenia increases significantly at total trough valproate plasma concentrations above 110 mcg/mL in females and 135 mcg/mL in males. The benefit of improved seizure control with higher doses should be weighed against the possibility of a greater incidence of adverse reactions.
Conversion to Monotherapy
Patients should initiate therapy at 10 to 15 mg/kg/day. The dosage should be increased by 5 to 10 mg/kg/week to achieve optimal clinical response. Ordinarily, optimal clinical response is achieved at daily doses below 60 mg/kg/day. If satisfactory clinical response has not been achieved, plasma levels should be measured to determine whether or not they are in the usually accepted therapeutic range (50-100 mcg/mL). No recommendation regarding the safety of valproate for use at doses above 60 mg/kg/day can be made.
Concomitant antiepilepsy drug (AED) dosage can ordinarily be reduced by approximately 25% every 2 weeks. This reduction may be started at initiation of Valproic Acid therapy, or delayed by 1 to 2 weeks if there is a concern that seizures are likely to occur with a reduction. The speed and duration of withdrawal of the concomitant AED can be highly variable, and patients should be monitored closely during this period for increased seizure frequency.
Valproic Acid may be added to the patient’s regimen at a dosage of 10 to 15 mg/kg/day. The dosage may be increased by 5 to 10 mg/kg/week to achieve optimal clinical response. Ordinarily, optimal clinical response is achieved at daily doses below 60 mg/kg/day. If satisfactory clinical response has not been achieved, plasma levels should be measured to determine whether or not they are in the usually accepted therapeutic range (50 to 100 mcg/mL). No recommendation regarding the safety of valproate for use at doses above 60 mg/kg/day can be made. If the total daily dose exceeds 250 mg, it should be given in divided doses.
In a study of adjunctive therapy for complex partial seizures in which patients were receiving either carbamazepine or phenytoin in addition to divalproex sodium tablets, no adjustment of carbamazepine or phenytoin dosage was needed [see Clinical Studies ( 14) ]. However, since valproate may interact with these or other concurrently administered AEDs as well as other drugs, periodic plasma concentration determinations of concomitant AEDs are recommended during the early course of therapy [see Drug Interactions ( 7) ].
Simple and Complex Absence Seizures
The recommended initial dose is 15 mg/kg/day, increasing at one week intervals by 5 to 10 mg/kg/day until seizures are controlled or side effects preclude further increases. The maximum recommended dosage is 60 mg/kg/day. If the total daily dose exceeds 250 mg, it should be given in divided doses.
A good correlation has not been established between daily dose, serum concentrations, and therapeutic effect. However, therapeutic valproate serum concentration for most patients with absence seizures is considered to range from 50 to 100 mcg/mL. Some patients may be controlled with lower or higher serum concentrations [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3) ].
As the Valproic Acid dosage is titrated upward, blood concentrations of phenobarbital and/or phenytoin may be affected [see Drug Interactions ( 7.2) ].
Antiepilepsy drugs should not be abruptly discontinued in patients in whom the drug is administered to prevent major seizures because of the strong possibility of precipitating status epilepticus with attendant hypoxia and threat to life.
The following Table is a guide for the initial daily dose of Valproic Acid (15 mg/kg/day):
|Weight||Total Daily Dose (mg)||Number of Capsules or Teaspoonfuls of Syrup|
|(Kg)||(Lb)||Dose 1||Dose 2||Dose 3|
|10 — 24.9||22 — 54.9||250||0||0||1|
|25 — 39.9||55 — 87.9||500||1||0||1|
|40 — 59.9||88 — 131.9||750||1||1||1|
|60 — 74.9||132 — 164.9||1,000||1||1||2|
|75 — 89.9||165 — 197.9||1,250||2||1||2|
Dosing in Elderly Patients
Due to a decrease in unbound clearance of valproate and possibly a greater sensitivity to somnolence in the elderly, the starting dose should be reduced in these patients. Dosage should be increased more slowly and with regular monitoring for fluid and nutritional intake, dehydration, somnolence, and other adverse reactions. Dose reductions or discontinuation of valproate should be considered in patients with decreased food or fluid intake and in patients with excessive somnolence. The ultimate therapeutic dose should be achieved on the basis of both tolerability and clinical response [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.14) , Use in Specific Populations ( 8.5) and Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3) ].
Dose-Related Adverse Reactions
The frequency of adverse effects (particularly elevated liver enzymes and thrombocytopenia) may be dose-related. The probability of thrombocytopenia appears to increase significantly at total valproate concentrations of ≥ 110 mcg/mL (females) or ≥ 135 mcg/mL (males) [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.8) ]. The benefit of improved therapeutic effect with higher doses should be weighed against the possibility of a greater incidence of adverse reactions.
Patients who experience G.I. irritation may benefit from administration of the drug with food or by slowly building up the dose from an initial low level.
Patients stabilized on rufinamide before being prescribed valproate should begin valproate therapy at a low dose, and titrate to a clinically effective dose [see Drug Interactions ( 7.2) ].
Valproic Acid Capsules, USP, 250 mg. Each off-white colored soft gelatin capsule is imprinted with VALPROIC 250.
- Valproic Acid should not be administered to patients with hepatic disease or significant hepatic dysfunction
[ see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1) ].
- Valproic Acid is contraindicated in patients known to have mitochondrial disorders caused by mutations in mitochondrial DNA polymerase γ (POLG; e.g., Alpers-Huttenlocher Syndrome) and children under two years of age who are suspected of having a POLG-related disorder
[ see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1) ].
- Valproic Acid is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to the drug [ see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.12) ].
- Valproic Acid is contraindicated in patients with known urea cycle disorders [ see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.6) ].
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