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Valproate (Epilim, Depakote) is an anticonvulsant used as a mood stabiliser.
You can find detailed information about this drug in the official Patient Information Leaflet (PIL), including what it's for, how to take it, possible side effects and safety information. This leaflet should come with your medication (usually inside the box). You can also access it online as a PDF by clicking the links here:
If a drug can come in different forms (such as tablets or liquid), there may be a separate PIL for each one. You should look at the PIL for the particular form and dose you've been prescribed. All PILs are available online on the MHRA Products website.
If you have any questions about your medication you can:
A pregnancy prevention programme involves:
You will also be asked to sign an Annual Risk Acknowledgement Form. This is something that your doctor will discuss with you. Signing the form means that you understand the risks with taking valproate during pregnancy. And you understand the need to avoid becoming pregnant while taking the medication.
The packaging for prescriptions of valproate may also include a visual warning showing that the medication can cause risks during pregnancy.
You should only be prescribed valproate if you can make sure that you won’t become pregnant, through a pregnancy prevention programme. But if you're thinking of stopping your medication, it's really important to speak to your doctor about doing this safely. If you stop taking valproate suddenly, it can be very dangerous.
If you are taking valproate and think you could be pregnant, visit your doctor as soon as you can. You can discuss your options with them, including other medications that might be available.
The UK Government’s website has a page of information and updates on taking valproate and pregnancy.
If you think this information affect someone you care about, it might be helpful to show them this page. You could also encourage them to visit their doctor to discuss their options. And if you are just there to listen, this can help them feel supported.
This information was published in June 2020. We will revise it in 2023.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.