Epilepsy Home > Stavzor Warnings and Precautions

To help ensure safe treatment with Stavzor, warnings and precautions should be discussed with your healthcare provider before you start the drug. Stavzor can cause a number of side effects or complications, including pancreatitis, thrombocytopenia, and dangerous allergic reactions. You should not take Stavzor if you are allergic to any components of the medication, have liver disease, or have a urea cycle disorder.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Stavzor?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Stavzor™ (delayed release valproic acid) if you have:
  • A urea cycle disorder
  • Mental retardation
  • Liver disease, such as liver failure or cirrhosis
  • A blood disorder
  • Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you:
  • Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Smoke cigarettes.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Precautions and Warnings for Stavzor

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Stavzor include the following:
  • You should not take Stavzor if you have liver disease. Also, you should not take Stavzor if you have a urea cycle disorder (a problem with the enzymes that clear ammonia from the body, leading to high ammonia levels in the blood), as the drug may worsen this condition. You should be evaluated for a urea cycle disorder if you have a history of:


    • A brain disease or problem associated with pregnancy
    • Unexplained brain disease or problems
    • Unexplained mental retardation
    • High ammonia levels in your blood
    • Vomiting and lethargy that comes and goes regularly.


  • There have been cases of liver failure caused by Stavzor. Children under two years old are at especially high risk, especially children with mental retardation, brain damage or disease, or certain other health problems. Stavzor is not approved for children under 10 years old and should rarely be used in young children, due to the risk of liver damage.


  • Seizure medications, including Stavzor, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you feel depressed or have any suicidal thoughts (see Seizure Medications and Suicide for more information)


  • As with all seizure medications, Stavzor should not be stopped suddenly, as this may increase the risk of seizures.
  • Stavzor can cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), which may be very dangerous. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you have any signs of pancreatitis, including:


    • Severe abdominal pain (stomach pain)
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Loss of appetite.


  • Elderly people may be more sensitive to Stavzor side effects, such as drowsiness. If you are elderly and take Stavzor, your healthcare provider should monitor you more closely.
  • Stavzor can cause low platelets in the blood (thrombocytopenia). Tell your healthcare provider if you have any unusual bruises or bleeding.
  • Let your healthcare provider know right away if you have a rash along with a fever or any other symptoms, as this may be a sign of a dangerous allergic reaction.
  • Stavzor can interact with other medications (see Stavzor Interactions).
  • Stavzor is considered a pregnancy Category D medication when used for the treatment of epilepsy or bipolar disorder. This means that it is probably not safe for pregnant women in these situations. Stavzor is considered a pregnancy Category X medication when used for the prevention of migraine headaches. This means that the risks of taking this medication during pregnancy clearly outweigh the benefits in this situation. 
Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy (see Stavzor and Pregnancy).
  • Stavzor passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Stavzor and Breastfeeding).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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