Valproic acid is a drug that is used primarily to control certain seizures by lessening their severity and frequency. It may be prescribed in combination with other antiepileptic drugs such as phenytoin or phenobarbital. The valproic acid level in the blood must be maintained within a narrow therapeutic range. This test measures the level of valproic acid in the blood.
Seizure disorders affect the brain’s ability to transmit electrical impulses and to regulate nerve activity. During a seizure, someone may experience changes in consciousness, alterations in sight, smell, and taste, and may experience convulsions. Seizures are associated with several conditions but, in many cases, the cause is not known. The frequency of seizures varies from a single episode, to frequent, recurrent seizures. Rarely, someone may have a seizure that does not stop without prompt medical intervention. People may experience some fatigue and a short period of confusion after a seizure. Muscle contractions during a seizure can lead to an injury and, in some cases, recurrent seizures can eventually lead to progressive brain damage but, for most people, there will be little or no residual damage.