Sodium Valproate

I’ve had the flu since Sunday. I caught my brother’s cough on Tuesday. The flu has almost gone but the cough is still sort of here so I’ve been feeling terrible all week and that meant I was feeling too crappy to do revision. But today when I’m feeling like the flu has just begun to disappear I get bitch slapped by Sodium Valproate. I was Mr pdocman and Miss D yesterday who decided it was the best course of action because according to wikipedia:

Sodium valproate (epilim) is the sodium salt of valproic acid and is an anticonvulsant used in the treatment of epilepsy, anorexia nervosa, panic attack, anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, migraine and bipolar disorder, as well as other psychiatric conditions requiring the administration of a mood stabilizer. Sodium valproate can be used to control acute episodes of mania and acute stress reaction.

Well it’s perfect for me then since it treats both bipolar disorder and PTSD and migraines…
Introducing the paradoxical effect. I have the worst headache. Or migraine but jeez it kills. So I looked up whether it was a side effect and:

Valproate sodium causes a number of side effects that affect your brain. It may cause unnatural drowsiness, dizziness, insomnia, nervousness, memory loss, headache and emotional instability. You should not operate heavy machinery or drive until you know how valproate affects you.

Other known side effects include hair loss (but apparently when it grows back it’s more curly so it’s a lose-win situation – yes I want curly hair), nausea, vomiting, liver, pancreas and kidney problems, low platlet count, intenstinal issues, increased appetite and weight gain, tremours, insomnia, sedation, dizziness etc.
How does it work? I hear you ask.

The brain is exceptionally complex, especially when it comes to controlling behavior. The cause of bipolar disorder is not understood, although there is significant evidence that imbalances in neurotransmitter levels and the signaling of another messenger molecule, arachidonic acid, are involved.

Sodium valproate regulates the main inhibitory transmitter GABA, preventing over-inhibition, thereby moderating the decreased brain activity that may cause depressive episodes. Sodium valproate is also used to prevent seizures and acts to block certain types of ion channels responsible for propagating brain activity. Over-activity is thought to underly manic episodes.

In addition to neurotransmitter activity, the level of arachidonic acid, a phospholipid found in large amounts in the brain, has been shown to correlate with manic-depressive episodes and is also affected by sodium valproate administration. Too little arachidonic acid has been correlated with depression and too much has been correlated with manic episodes.

Due to my known sensitivity with medication I’m on 100mg of Sodium Valproate in the morning and 100mg at night and I think the dosage will probably go up. I don’t know. Some thing will happen, it’s cool.

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4 thoughts on “Sodium Valproate

  1. It is good to see you are having a positive attitude as far as the new medication is concerned. I was on valproic acid which is very similar (if not the same) and it did really well for me for about three years. I wish you the best of luck with it!

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