Valproate Sodium (Page 5 of 10)

6.1 Epilepsy

The data described in the following section were obtained using Depakote (divalproex sodium) tablets.

Based on a placebo-controlled trial of adjunctive therapy for treatment of complex partial seizures, divalproex sodium was generally well tolerated with most adverse reactions rated as mild to moderate in severity. Intolerance was the primary reason for discontinuation in the divalproex sodium-treated patients (6%), compared to 1% of placebo-treated patients.

Table 2 lists treatment-emergent adverse reactions which were reported by ≥ 5% of divalproex sodium-treated patients and for which the incidence was greater than in the placebo group, in the placebo-controlled trial of adjunctive therapy for treatment of complex partial seizures. Since patients were also treated with other antiepilepsy drugs, it is not possible, in most cases, to determine whether the following adverse reactions can be ascribed to divalproex sodium alone, or the combination of divalproex sodium and other antiepilepsy drugs.

Table 2. Adverse Reactions Reported by ≥ 5% of Patients Treated with Divalproex Sodium During Placebo-Controlled Trial of Adjunctive Therapy for Complex Partial Seizures

Body System/Reaction

Divalproex Sodium (%)

(n=77)

Placebo (%)

(n=70)

Body as a Whole
Headache 31 21
Asthenia 27 7
Fever 6 4
Gastrointestinal System
Nausea 48 14
Vomiting 27 7
Abdominal Pain 23 6
Diarrhea 13 6
Anorexia 12 0
Dyspepsia 8 4
Constipation 5 1
Nervous System
Somnolence 27 11
Tremor 25 6
Dizziness 25 13
Diplopia 16 9
Amblyopia/Blurred Vision 12 9
Ataxia 8 1
Nystagmus 8 1
Emotional Lability 6 4
Thinking Abnormal 6 0
Amnesia 5 1
Respiratory System
Flu Syndrome 12 9
Infection 12 6
Bronchitis 5 1
Rhinitis 5 4
Other
Alopecia 6 1
Weight Loss 6 0

Table 3 lists treatment-emergent adverse reactions which were reported by ≥ 5% of patients in the high dose valproate group, and for which the incidence was greater than in the low dose group, in a controlled trial of divalproex sodium monotherapy treatment of complex partial seizures. Since patients were being titrated off another antiepilepsy drug during the first portion of the trial, it is not possible, in many cases, to determine whether the following adverse reactions can be ascribed to divalproex sodium alone, or the combination of valproate and other antiepilepsy drugs.

Table 3. Adverse Reactions Reported by ≥ 5% of Patients in the High Dose Group in the Controlled Trial of Valproate Monotherapy for Complex Partial Seizures 1

Body System/Reaction

High Dose (%)

(n=131)

Low Dose (%)

(n=134)
Body as a Whole
Asthenia 21 10
Digestive System
Nausea 34 26
Diarrhea 23 19
Vomiting 23 15
Abdominal Pain 12 9
Anorexia 11 4
Dyspepsia 11 10
Hemic/Lymphatic System
Thrombocytopenia 24 1
Ecchymosis 5 4
Metabolic/Nutritional
Weight Gain 9 4
Peripheral Edema 8 3
Nervous System
Tremor 57 19
Somnolence 30 18
Dizziness 18 13
Insomnia 15 9
Nervousness 11 7
Amnesia 7 4
Nystagmus 7 1
Depression 5 4
Respiratory System
Infection 20 13
Pharyngitis 8 2
Dyspnea 5 1
Skin and Appendages
Alopecia 24 13
Special Senses
Amblyopia/Blurred Vision 8 4
Tinnitus 7 1

1 Headache was the only adverse reaction that occurred in ≥ 5% of patients in the high dose group and at an equal or greater incidence in the low dose group.

The following additional adverse reactions were reported by greater than 1% but less than 5% of the 358 patients treated with valproate in the controlled trials of complex partial seizures:

Body as a Whole: Back pain, chest pain, malaise.

Cardiovascular System: Tachycardia, hypertension, palpitation.

Digestive System: Increased appetite, flatulence, hematemesis, eructation, pancreatitis, periodontal abscess.

Hemic and Lymphatic System: Petechia.

Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders: SGOT increased, SGPT increased.

Musculoskeletal System: Myalgia, twitching, arthralgia, leg cramps, myasthenia.

Nervous System: Anxiety, confusion, abnormal gait, paresthesia, hypertonia, incoordination, abnormal dreams, personality disorder.

Respiratory System: Sinusitis, cough increased, pneumonia, epistaxis.

Skin and Appendages: Rash, pruritus, dry skin.

Special Senses: Taste perversion, abnormal vision, deafness, otitis media.

Urogenital System: Urinary incontinence, vaginitis, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, urinary frequency.

6.2 Mania

Although valproate sodium has not been evaluated for safety and efficacy in the treatment of manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder, the following adverse reactions not listed above were reported by 1% or more of patients from two placebo-controlled clinical trials of divalproex sodium tablets.

Body as a Whole: Chills, neck pain, neck rigidity.

Cardiovascular System: Hypotension, postural hypotension, vasodilation.

Digestive System: Fecal incontinence, gastroenteritis, glossitis.

Musculoskeletal System: Arthrosis.

Nervous System: Agitation, catatonic reaction, hypokinesia, reflexes increased, tardive dyskinesia, vertigo.

Skin and Appendages: Furunculosis, maculopapular rash, seborrhea.

Special Senses: Conjunctivitis, dry eyes, eye pain.

Urogenital: Dysuria.

6.3 Migraine

Although valproate has not been evaluated for safety and efficacy in the prophylactic treatment of migraine headaches, the following adverse reactions not listed above were reported by 1% or more of patients from two placebo-controlled clinical trials of divalproex sodium tablets.

Body as a Whole: Face edema.

Digestive System: Dry mouth, stomatitis.

Urogenital System: Cystitis, metrorrhagia, and vaginal hemorrhage.

6.4 Post-Marketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post approval use of divalproex sodium. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Dermatologic: Hair texture changes, hair color changes, photosensitivity, erythema multiforme, toxic epidermal necrolysis, nail and nail bed disorders, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Psychiatric: Emotional upset, psychosis, aggression, psychomotor hyperactivity, hostility, disturbance in attention, learning disorder, and behavioral deterioration.

Neurologic: Paradoxical convulsion.

There have been several reports of acute or subacute cognitive decline and behavioral changes (apathy or irritability) with cerebral pseudoatrophy on imaging associated with valproate therapy; both the cognitive/behavioral changes and cerebral pseudoatrophy reversed partially or fully after valproate discontinuation.

There have been reports of acute or subacute encephalopathy in the absence of elevated ammonia levels, elevated valproate levels, or neuroimaging changes. The encephalopathy reversed partially or fully after valproate discontinuation.

Musculoskeletal: Fractures, decreased bone mineral density, osteopenia, osteoporosis, and weakness.

Hematologic: Relative lymphocytosis, macrocytosis, leucopenia, anemia including macrocytic with or without folate deficiency, bone marrow suppression, pancytopenia, aplastic anemia, agranulocytosis, and acute intermittent porphyria.

Endocrine: Irregular menses, secondary amenorrhea, hyperandrogenism, hirsutism, elevated testosterone level, breast enlargement, galactorrhea, parotid gland swelling, polycystic ovary disease, decreased carnitine concentrations, hyponatremia, hyperglycinemia, and inappropriate ADH secretion.

There have been rare reports of Fanconi’s syndrome occurring chiefly in children.

Metabolism and nutrition: Weight gain.

Reproductive: Aspermia, azoospermia, decreased sperm count, decreased spermatozoa motility, male infertility, and abnormal spermatozoa morphology.

Genitourinary: Enuresis and urinary tract infection.

Special Senses: Hearing loss.

Other: Allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, developmental delay, bone pain, bradycardia, and cutaneous vasculitis.

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