Valproic acid is a first line drug for tonic-clonic seizures and can also be used for absence, myoclonic and partial seizure treatment.
In addition to treating seizures, valproic acid can be used as another treatment option for manic episodes found in bipolar disorder.
Valproic acid may also be used for prophylaxis of migraine headaches.
Valproic acid increases GABA concentration by inhibiting GABA transaminase, an enzyme which acts to break down GABA.
This drug also works by suppressing repetitive neuronal activity through increased Na+ channel inactivation; blocking and preventing Na+ influx through fast channels.
Adverse effects of valproic acid include GI distress, pancreatitis, and hepatotoxicity.
Valproic acid is contraindicated during pregnancy because of its teratogenic properties and association with neural tube defects in the fetus (spina bifida), as it is a folate antagonist.
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