The World Health Organization reports that more than 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy, a neurological condition marked by the occurrence of seizures. There are a number of prescription medications available to help control epileptic seizures. In the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and parts of Europe, the drug Epilim or sodium valporate is one such medication. Despite its effectiveness, Epilim is not for everyone as it presents several risks for side effects and complications in some patients.
Common Side Effects of Epilim
Approximately 57 percent of Epilim users report tremors, making this the most common side effect of the drug. Headaches, drowsiness and nausea are also common, occurring in at least 30 percent of users. More than 20 percent of patients who take Epilim experience weakness, dizziness, reversible hair loss, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and increased incidences of infections. Double vision and insomnia are also commonly reported, occurring in 15 to 16 percent of users.
Other Epilim Side Effects
Epilim also has the potential to cause a number of other troublesome or annoying, but not dangerous, side effects. Additional gastrointestinal side effects include indigestion, loss of appetite, constipation and dry mouth. Between 1 and 5 percent of women who take Epilim report vaginal infections, cramping or the absence of menstruation. Neurological side effects of Epilim include nervousness, depression, drowsiness, abnormal dreams, agitation, ringing in the ears, dry eyes and tingling in the extremities. Outbreaks of acne are also possible while taking Epilim.
Drug Interactions for Epilim
There are some medications that produce unwanted side effects when used in conjunction with Epilim. For instance, the combination of Epilim and antipsychotic drug Olanzapine causes decreased liver functioning in some patients. Because sodium valproate often causes drowsiness, you should not combine Epilim with other drugs that make you sleepy like narcotics, sedatives and anti-anxiety medications. When combined with blood thinners like warfarin, Epilim increases your risk of experiencing uncontrollable bleeding during surgery or following an injury.
Risks for People Taking Epilim
In addition to minor side effects and the risk of interactions, Epilim has the potential to cause serious medical complications. Inflammation or damage to your liver is possible while taking Epilim. With high dosages of the drug, patients suffer from a shortage of blood platelets or thrombocytopenia, increasing the risk for bleeding around the brain. Some patients experience suicidal thoughts or other serious psychological side effects like memory loss, hallucinations, speech difficulties and dementia while taking Epilim. Infrequently, use of Epilim results in potentially life-threatening infections of the skin such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis.
Considerations for Patients Prescribed Epilism
Epilim has the potential to cause birth defects or spina bifida and is only recommended during pregnancy when there is no safe alternative. If you have a history of kidney or liver disease, lupus or diabetes, your doctor will most likely not prescribe Epilim for you due to its potential side effects. Suddenly discontinuing usage of Epilim often results in severe seizures. Because of this, you should consult your doctor before discontinuing use of the drug even if you experience side effects. Since it has the potential to cause dizziness and drowsiness, you should not operate a motor vehicle or heavy machinery until you know how Epilim will affect you.