Epilepsy Home > Valproic Acid Side Effects

Common side effects of valproic acid include dizziness, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms (such as fever or chills). Some problems should be reported to your healthcare provider immediately, such as worsening of seizures, unexplained bruising, or signs of an allergic reaction. Talk with your healthcare provider if you experience any negative reactions to valproic acid or if anything "just does not seem right."

An Introduction to Valproic Acid Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with valproic acid (Depakene®); however, not everyone who takes the medication will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with valproic acid. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of valproic acid side effects with you.)

Common Side Effects of Valproic Acid

Most of what is known about valproic acid side effects is based on clinical trials of Depakote® (divalproex sodium), a similar medication. Depakote is changed in the body into the same medication as valproic acid. However, it is important to understand that valproic acid may be more likely to cause certain problems when compared to Depakote.
In these studies, some of the most common side effects of Depakote (and therefore of valproic acid) included:
  • Shakiness (tremors) -- in up to 57 percent of people
  • Nausea -- up to 48 percent
  • Headaches -- up to 31 percent
  • Drowsiness -- up to 30 percent
  • Vomiting -- up to 27 percent
  • Weakness -- up to 27 percent
  • Dizziness -- up to 25 percent.
Some other common side effects, occurring in 5 to 24 percent of people, included:
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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