A patient is diagnosed with epilepsy and prescribed valproic acid. The nurse should instruct the patient on which common side effect(s) associated with this medication?


• Valproic acid (Depakote) is commonly used in the treatment of seizures and bipolar disorder.

• Common side effects of valproic acid include nausea/vomiting, hair loss, tremors, vertigo, fatigue, and thrombocytopenia.

• Less common side effects may include weight gain, edema, and acne. 

• Side effect is an imprecise term used to describe unintended or unwanted effects that occur with normal use of the drug. 

Rare and more serious adverse drug effects that may be seen are hallucinations, hyperammonemia, liver failure, and encephalopathy.  

• Adverse drug effects refer to unwanted or dangerous effects of a drug. This may include toxicity or enhanced effects during normal use of the drug. 

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