Vigabatrin

Generic Name: vigabatrin (vye-GA-ba-trin)
Brand Name: Sabril

Vigabatrin may cause permanent vision loss in a high percentage of patients. This effect may occur within weeks or sooner after starting treatment. It may also occur after months or years. The risk may increase with higher doses and prolonged use, but it may occur with any dose or length of use. Vision loss may continue to worsen after stopping vigabatrin.

Vision loss may not be detected until it is severe. Patients or caregivers may not be able to recognize the symptoms of vision loss. Eye exams will be performed at the start of treatment and at least every 3 months during treatment. They will also be performed for 3 to 6 months after treatment stops. Some patients may develop severe vision loss even with monitoring.

Tell your doctor if you have or are at risk for developing another type of permanent vision loss. Tell your doctor if you use other medicines that may cause serious vision problems (eg, retinopathy, glaucoma). Vigabatrin should not be used in these patients unless the benefit outweighs the risks.

Use the lowest dose of vigabatrin for the shortest time needed. Vigabatrin should not be used for longer than 3 months if no improvement is seen in your condition.


Vigabatrin is used for:

Treating refractory complex partial seizures (CPS) that have not responded to several other treatments. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Vigabatrin is an antiepileptic. Exactly how it works is not known, but it may work by blocking certain enzymes in the brain.

Do NOT use vigabatrin if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in vigabatrin

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Flashback: FDA Drug Approvals 2013

Before using vigabatrin:

Some medical conditions may interact with vigabatrin. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have vision problems, kidney problems, or certain blood problems (eg, anemia, porphyria)
  • if you have a history of depression, other mental or mood problems, or suicidal thoughts or actions

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with vigabatrin. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because their effectiveness may decreased by vigabatrin

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if vigabatrin may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use vigabatrin:

Use vigabatrin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Vigabatrin comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get vigabatrin refilled.
  • Take vigabatrin by mouth with or without food.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking vigabatrin. There may be an increased risk of side effects (eg, seizures). If you need to stop vigabatrin, your doctor will gradually lower your dose.
  • Talk with your doctor about what to do if you miss a dose of vigabatrin.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use vigabatrin.

Important safety information:

  • Vigabatrin may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or vision problems. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use vigabatrin with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • If symptoms do not get better within 3 months or if they get worse, check with your doctor.
  • Vigabatrin may cause weight gain. If you notice unusual weight gain, contact your doctor.
  • Vigabatrin may cause abnormal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) changes in infants. These changes have not been seen in adults. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Patients who take vigabatrin may be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts or actions. The risk may be greater in patients who have had suicidal thoughts or actions in the past. Watch patients who take vigabatrin closely. Contact the doctor at once if new, worsened, or sudden symptoms such as depressed mood; anxious, restless, or irritable behavior; panic attacks; or any unusual changes in mood or behavior occur. Contact the doctor right away if any signs of suicidal thoughts or actions occur.
  • Vigabatrin may interfere with certain lab tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking vigabatrin.
  • Lab tests, including eye exams, may be performed while you use vigabatrin. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use vigabatrin with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Vigabatrin should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 10 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if vigabatrin may cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using vigabatrin while you are pregnant. Vigabatrin is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking vigabatrin.

Possible side effects of vigabatrin:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; irritability; joint pain; nausea; sore throat; stomach pain or upset; stuffy or runny nose; tiredness; trouble sleeping; vomiting; weakness; weight gain.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); burning, numbness, or tingling of the hands or feet; chest pain; confusion; decreased coordination; ear pain or discharge; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; increased or painful urination; memory or attention problems; new or worsening mental, mood or behavior changes (eg, aggressiveness, agitation. depression; exaggerated feeling of well-being, hostility, impulsiveness, irritability, panic attacks, restlessness, or inability to sit still); new or worsening seizures; painful menstrual period; suicidal thoughts or actions; tremor; trouble walking; uncontrolled eye movements; unusual swelling (eg, of the hands or feet); unusual tiredness or weakness; vision changes (eg, blurred vision, double vision); vision loss (eg, loss of the outer edges of your vision).

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of vigabatrin:

Store vigabatrin at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C), in the original container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep vigabatrin out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about vigabatrin, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Vigabatrin is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take vigabatrin or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about vigabatrin. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to vigabatrin. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using vigabatrin.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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