As is true of all drugs, the drugs used to treat epilepsy have side effects. The occurrence of side effects depends on the dose, type of medication, and length of treatment. The side effects are usually more common with higher doses but tend to be less severe with time as the body adjusts to the medication. Anti-epileptic drugs are usually started at lower doses and increased gradually to make this adjustment easier.
There are three types of side effects:
Common or predictable side effects. These side effects include blurry or double vision, fatigue, sleepiness, unsteadiness, as well as stomach upset.
Idiosyncratic side effects. These are rare and unpredictable reactions which are not dose-related. Most often, these side effects are skin rashes, low blood cell counts, and liver problems.
Unique side effects. These are those that are not shared by other drugs in the same class. For example, Dilantin or Phenytek can cause the gums to swell and Depakene can cause hair loss.
How Long Epilepsy Treatment Lasts
In some types of epilepsy, patients can be taken off treatment after a few years, while other types of epilepsy require life-long treatment.
There is some evidence that Valproate (Depakote) may cause birth defects if taken by pregnant mothers. New England Journal Of Medicine.
Depakote is manufactured by Abbot Laboratories. The video below is produced by a law firm with the purpose of soliciting clients to possiblly sue Abbot Laboratories.