This information is given as an indication of the most common reasons for prescribing the medication. The list of side effects is not exhaustive and you should refer to your doctor for a more complete information. Never alter your treatment on the basis of what is written here or without your doctor's knowledge.
Valproic Acid or Valproate (Depakene) and Divalproic acid (Epilval) are the medications of choice for the treatment of absences, but also this medication is efficient and used in the treatment of generalized seizures as well as partial seizures. It is usually very well tolerated, the cognitive dysfunction associated with VPA is very mild and usually transient.
The only serious side effect that makes its use sometimes difficult in young children is the exceptional occurrence of a fatal liver failure. This has occurred most often in children less than 2 years of age and taking multiple drugs. VPA is therefore very rarely used in this age group. The liver failure is unpredictable and may occur even when liver function is followed closely. It is therefore not necessary to check the liver function regularly when on VPA. More common side effects include: abdominal discomfort with nausea and vomiting, weight gain can be enough of a problem to be forced to stop the medication, hair loss and rashes are often transient, headache can be a problem but is dose related and a decrease in the dosage may result in relief of the symptom. NEVER CHANGE, INCREASE OR DECREASE YOUR MEDICATIONS BY YOURSELF, ALWAYS ASK YOUR DOCTOR. Tremor is also a dose related side effect and readjustment of the dosage will result in improvement of the symptom. other side effects such as insomnia, low blood counts and fetal anomalies (Neural tube defects) have been described.