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An Overview of Valproic Acid

December 11, 2007

val-PROE-ic A-cid

Brand Name: Depakene
Drug Class: Opportunistic Infection and Other Drugs

Valproic acid, also known as Depakene, is a type of medicine normally used to treat seizures and other nervous system problems. Valproic acid works against HIV by releasing the virus from resting cells so other anti-HIV medicines can attack it.


HIV/AIDS-Related Uses

Valproic acid is being studied for the treatment of HIV infection and is not yet approved by the FDA for HIV use outside of clinical trials. This medicine does not cure or prevent HIV infection or AIDS and does not reduce the risk of passing the virus to other people.

Dosage Form/Administration

Valproic acid comes in oral capsule and syrup forms and is taken by mouth. Valproate sodium is available as a syrup and as an intrevenous injection.

Recommended Daily Dose

Valproic acid doses of 500 to 750 mg twice daily have been tested for treatment of patients with HIV infection.


Individuals should tell a doctor about any medical problems before taking this medicine. Valproic acid should not be used in patients with liver disease.

Possible Side Effects

Along with its desired effects, valproic acid can cause some unwanted effects. Serious side effects of this medicine include liver failure, possibly leading to death. Symptoms of liver problems include weakness, tiredness, facial swelling, vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms. Individuals should tell a doctor if they have any of these side effects. Other side effects may not be serious and may lessen or disappear with continued use of the medicine. Less serious side effects of this medicine include headache, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, dizziness, sleepiness, and tremor. Individuals should tell a doctor if these side effects continue or are bothersome.

Drug and Food Interactions

A doctor should be notified of any other medications being taken, including prescription, nonprescription (over-the-counter), or herbal medications.

Clinical Trials

Click here to search for trials that use Valproic acid.

Manufacturer Information

Valproic acid
Abbott Laboratories
One Hundred Abbott Park Rd
Abbott Park, IL 60064-3500
Phone: 800-633-9110

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This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.
See Also
More on HIV Medications
More on Valproic Acid