WHY IS SODIUM VALPROATE THE POPULAR MEDICINE FOR EPILEPSY :
KNOW THE TOP REASONS FROM EXPERTS
Epilepsy is a well-known medical disorder, which according to the reports of the World Health Organization, has affected about 50 million people worldwide. Be it a child or an adult, it can affect any person irrespective of age or gender.
For a disorder so common and affecting people of almost every age group, the world of medicine offers various solutions of which the drug – Sodium Valproate, is a significant part. It is a primary medication used for the treatment of epilepsy. Uses of sodium valproate are associated with nervous disorders and diseases.
Why is it used? How is it helpful? How is it consumed? Is it safe for consumption or not? – All these questions have been answered in the given article.
ABOUT THE MEDICINE
Sodium valproate is a well-known allopathic medicine. The substitutes for the medicine are Valproic acid and semisodium valproate, which are believed to work in a similar manner. The medicine is available in the following forms and their respective variants:
- Tablets of 200 mg and 500 mg
- Capsules of 150 mg, 300 mg and 500 mg
- Modified-release capsules of 150 mg and 300 mg
- Crushable tablets of 100 mg
- Liquid medicine of 200 mg in 5 ml.
- Modified-release tablets of 200 mg, 300 mg and 500 mg
- Modified-release granules: 50 mg, 100 mg, 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg and 1 g
It is primarily used for the treatment of following problems:
- Bipolar Disorder
Having stated this, it can be concluded that sodium valproate uses are mostly associated with problems relating to the nervous system.
SODIUM VALPROATE DOSAGE – WHEN TO TAKE? HOW MUCH TO TAKE?
The medicine can only be consumed if prescribed by the doctor. A few important facts regarding the dosage of Sodium Valproate are as given below:
- The consumption of medicine is dependent on it’s type. If the medicine given is:
- Liquid, Tablets, Capsules, that are not modified releases, the recommended dosage is twice a day with an appropriate gap between the two. The ideal time gap is 11-12 hours.
- Liquid, Tablets, Capsules, that are modified releases, the recommended dosage in one time in a 24 hours window. An increased dosage can also be prescribed by the doctor depending on the condition.
- Further instruction regarding the dosage:
- For epilepsy treatment in adults and children above 12 years of age : 600mg to 2,000mg a day may be prescribed. It can be assumed in a single or two doses. A higher dosage might also be recommended in certain cases.
- For epilepsy in children below 11 years of age : THe dose is in accordance to the weight for best results.
The dosage varies as one advance in the treatment. Generally, in the initial stage of the treatment, a low dosage is prescribed to get the body used to the medicine without causing any serious side effects. Eventually, the dosage is increased until a stage is reached where the given dosage starts suiting the patient.
HOW TO CONSUME A DOSE OF SODIUM VALPROATE?
- Consumption of tablets: Tablets must be swallowed with a glass of water or juice. Do not crust the tablet.
- Consumption of capsules: Opening the capsule and mixing it with soft food is one way of consuming it. The other way involves swallowing the entire capsule with a glass of water.
- Consumption of crushable tablets: The tablets are specifically designed to be crushed and consumed. These are mostly used for the treatment of epilepsy in very young children or very old adults that find it difficult to swallow the tablets or capsules. These can be mixed with yogurt or other soft foods.
- Consumption of granules: They can be sprinkled all over the food and mixed with it. Avoid chewing them at all costs.
- Consumption of liquid or syrup: The right amount can be measured with a syringe or measuring cap and consumed directly.
- Injections: Yes! Sodium valproate can also be given in the hospital using injections.
WHO CAN CONSUME SODIUM VALPROATE FOR EPILEPSY?
The medication can be taken by both adults and children. The dosage might vary. As in the case of pregnant women or women who are trying to conceive, the medication is only prescribed if there isn’t any other option available for the treatment. However, in most cases, pregnant women are not given this medication as it may seriously harm the unborn child.
WHAT IS EPILEPSY?
Epilepsy is a disorder associated with the nervous system. It involves disorder disturbance in nerve cell activity in the brain which leads to the onset of abnormal and unusual behavior like seizures and loss of awareness etc.
THE SYMPTOMS – HOW YOUR BODY INDICATED YOU MIGHT HAVE EPILEPSY?
The onset of certain activities or changes in the behavior of the body indicates that one might be prone or suffering from epilepsy.The most common symptoms of epileptic disorder are:
- Seizures : These are caused by unusual electrical activity in the brain. While seizures are the primary symptoms of epilepsy, it is not necessarily important for a person to be epileptic to have seizures. A seizure is only epileptic when it does not respond to epileptic drugs and an abnormal EEG reading is observed during the diagnosis.
- Temporary blackouts
- Fainting spells accompanied by loss of bowel and bladder control
- Fearfulness for no apparent reason
- Confused memory for a short period of time
- Sudden stiffness in the body
- Uncontrolled jerking of arms and legs
- Sudden bouts of blinking without apparent stimuli
- Deja vu
WHAT CAUSES THIS DISORDER?
Epilepsy is caused due to the disruption in the nerves cells that is followed by brain dysfunction.
It is essential to understand that the exact reason behind epilepsy is not discovered. The only known facts are regarding the risk-factors that might trigger the plausible cause for the disorder. The risk-factors for epilepsy are:
- Genetic factors: It has been observed In many cases, people with family history of epileptic disorder are more prone to be victimized by it.
- Physical injuries can be an underlying reason that might cause epilepsy. These may leave a person in a state of trauma.
- Brain tumors can alter the well-being and functionality of the brain.
- Strokes can make a person prone to epilepsy.
- Infections have been known to be the most serious risk factors. Meningitis, cysticercosis, viral encephalitis, AIDS are a few of the infectious diseases that affect the brain.
- Prenatal injuries or the brain injuries that occur before birth can be responsible for causing epilepsy.
- Certain developmental conditions like autism and neurofibromatosis are also deemed as the risk factors responsible for causing epilepsy. This has been believed to be the most prominent in children below 2 years of age as well as adults above 65.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ON YOUR OWN?
While one may not know much about the medical treatment for epilepsy, there are a variety of habits that one can incorporate in daily life to assist the medical treatment. These home remedies are known to have made a whole lot of difference in the health of the patient as well as increased the face of recovery.
Few of these effective home remedies are listed below:
- Keto-diet: Well known in the modern world, a ketogenic diet is all about consuming low-carb, low-protein food. This diet helps in decreasing the number of seizures. Surveys show that the chances of seizures have been lowered to half in those who experience them.
- Fish Oil: The oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Daily consumption of capsules of fish oil can rescue the chances of epileptic seizures.
- Vitamins: Taking supplements rich in Vitamin E, B-6, D, magnesium and even folic acid helps in dealing with epilepsy.
- Sleep: Sleep deprivation can cause harm to the brain. It is essential to follow a proper sleep schedule in order to ensure proper functioning of the brain.
- Grape Seed Extract: This can help in maintaining the well-being of the Hippocampus – a part of the brain that houses one of the seizure switches.
- Daily exercise: Exercise regulates the circulation of oxygen rich blood in the body. This helps in strengthening the brain and improves its functioning. Walking, cycling, yoga can be really helpful
MEDICINES FOR THE TREATMENT OF EPILEPSY
- Herbal treatment: Nature provides its own way of dealing with body ailments. Passion flowers that contain sedatives have been used in the traditional medication of epilepsy. Burning bush, mistletoe, groundsel, tree of heaven, lily of the valley, are few of the well known herbs. This method of treatment offered by ayurveda has anticonvulsant effects. Although some herbs might help epilepsy, others may worsen your symptoms. Therefore, it is essential to consult a doctor properly to ensure the best results.
- Homeopathic treatment: Belladonna, Hoscyamus, Arnica, Natrum Sulphuricum, Helleborus, Silica, Calcarea carbonica, Staphysagria are few of the well known medications for epilepsy.
- Acupuncture and chiropractic care: These two treatments have been equally useful in dealing with epilepsy naturally by reducing the chances of seizure to minimum. There isn’t much scientific evidence on how the two can be helpful, but results deem them as useful. Acupuncture is more famous than chiropractic care.
- Surgery: Severe cases that cannot be treated with medications, finally are resolved by performing surgery. The part of the brain that is affected is removed in the surgical procedure.
- Allopathy : Antiepileptic drugs like valproic acid, levetiracetam, carbamazepine, lamotrigine are the most common prescription for epilepsy. The right way to consume these medications can only be suggested by a medical practitioner.
WHY SODIUM VALPROATE PREFERRED FOR TREATING EPILEPSY? HOW IS IT USEFUL?
- The drug is useful in preventing the occurrence of convulsions.
- The medicine is proven to enhance the brain functioning in a manner that helps in increasing concentration which is generally lost during seizures. It may also help in recovering from sudden blackouts.
- It can also relieve the heaviness and ache in the head that may occur in certain cases. Surveys show that about 45% of the epileptic patients suffer from postictal headache.
SODIUM VALPROATE SIDE EFFECTS – HOW CAN IT HARM THE BODY?
Like any other allopathic medication, sodium valproate may also cause certain side effects. The most common side effects that one may experience after the consumption of medication are:
- Pain in the abdominal region
- Delayed periods
- Unusual and abnormal eye movements
- Swelling of gums
- Weight gain
- Dryness in mouth
- Sore mouth
- Tremors occurring in certain part of the body
- Change in the texture and color of hair
- Allergic reaction
These issues may resolve on their own after a while. In cases when they do not, a doctor’s advice is a must.
Serious side effects of sodium valproate are:
- Some may feel like harming others or themselves.
- Yellowing of skin or the white portion of eyes that is an indication of onset of liver problems can also be a serious side effect of the drug.
- Suicidal thoughts can also become a part of the thought process.
- Consumption of drugs can also cause pancreatic inflammation. The common symptoms for the same are nausea and chronic stomach pain.
- Bleeding can also be one of the serious side effects of sodium valproate. It indicated blood disorder.
Common side-effects in children:
- They may feel sleepy at most times of the day.
- They feel hunger strongly and usually more than other days. This side-effect is believed to last for a while. Consumption of high-calorie food must be prevented to control weight.
- Change in behaviour is also very common. They may become crankier than usual.
- Some children tend to lose appetite following the consumption of medicine. The smell of food can cause nausea as well as make them sick.
- Loss of hair is also common in children after the consumption of sodium valproate.
HOW TO STORE THE MEDICINE?
Storage plays a very important role in preserving the sanctity of the medication. The given steps ensure that the medicine remains effective for a good period of time.
- Medicine should be stored in a cool place and dry place.
- It must always be kept away from the sunlight as it may affect the composition of the drug.
- Medicine should not be refrigerated.
CAN SODIUM VALPROATE BE CONSUMED WITH OTHER MEDICATIONS?
The simultaneous consumption of other medicines with sodium valproate might not give the expected results. There are some medicines that may interfere with how sodium valproate works or vice versa. Consume other medicines as per the advice given by the doctor.
In case you are consuming any of the following medications, inform your doctor beforehand.
- Antibiotics like erythromycin.
- Medication for autoimmune disorders like AIDS and HIV. Example: Ritonair.
- Other medicines for epilepsy.
- Medications for lowering cholesterol like cholestyramine.
- Medicines for the treatment of malaria. Example: Chloroquine.
- Medications for pain relief like aspirin.
- Medicine for the treatment of stomach ulcers. Example: Cimetidine.
- Blood-thinner medication like Warfarin.
- Antidepressants or other medicines for the treatment of anxiety, stress, other medical disorders. Example: Diazepam and Venlafaxine
- As for the case of herbal remedies or supplements, it is hard to tell if they complement the consumption of sodium valproate as they are not tested the same way other prescription medicines are. It is only after the consumption of both, observations can be made and a solution can be derived.
CUSTOMER REVIEWS FOR SODIUM VALPROATE
Customer reviews are a huge deal in rating a medication for its effectiveness. A majority of reviews, as available on online sources, say that:
- The medicine has helped in preventing seizures for years.
- The medicine along with a healthy lifestyle and strict prohibition on alcohol consumption and smoking, can lead to effective results.
- The medicine can cause drowsiness.
- Blurred vision as well as confusion are also common side-effects of sodium valproate.
- A majority of side effects are easy to deal with and will go away in a short period of time.
- Abdominal pain is also one of the major side-effects of the medicine.
- Severe joint ache caused due to medicine has made walking a tough task for many.
- Other customers deemed the medication not worthy of consumption as the side effects affected the mental and physical well-being of the person to a great extent.
After considering all the reviews, it can be concluded that the effects of sodium valproate vary with the patient.
Epilepsy isn’t one of those mere problems associated with the body that can be taken lightly. If untreated, the consequences can be fatal. Treatment needs to begin as soon as the symptoms are visible. The intensity of the treatment and its type may alter given as the patient moves ahead on the route to recovery.
For years now, Sodium Valproate has been the most common drug used for treating epilepsy and its symptoms. While the world of medicine offers new advancements for treating epilepsy, it will be a long time before sodium valproate is dominated by another drug.
It may be reliable but it definitely is a reason for various side-effects a person may experience following its consumption. The dosage plays an important role, and therefore the advice of a medical expert becomes mandatory. It is advised that while the medicine does it’s job, one should adopt such lifestyle practices that assist the treatment.