Sodium valproate is used in the management of epilepsy and is first-line therapy for generalised seizures.

Mechanism of action

Sodium valproate works by increasing GABA activity.

Adverse effects

  • P450 inhibitor
  • Gastrointestinal: nausea
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Alopecia: regrowth may be curly
  • Ataxia
  • Tremor
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Pancreatitis
  • Thrombocytopaenia
  • Teratogenic
  • Hyponatraemia
  • Hyperammonemic encephalopathy: L-carnitine may be used as treatment if this develops