Generic Name: vigabatrin (vye GA ba trin)
Brand Name: Sabril
What is vigabatrin?
Vigabatrin is an anti-epileptic medication, also called an anticonvulsant.
Vigabatrin is used in combination with other medications to treat complex partial seizures in adults and adolescents who are at least 16 years old. Vigabatrin is usually given after other anti-epileptic medications have been tried without successful control of seizures.
The powder form of vigabatrin is used to treat infantile spasms in babies and children between the ages of 1 month and 2 years.
Vigabatrin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about vigabatrin?
Before you take vigabatrin, tell your doctor if you have any vision problems, such as retinitis or glaucoma. Some people taking vigabatrin have developed mild to severe vision problems. Vision loss caused by vigabatrin may be permanent, and you must have eye exams on a regular basis while taking this medication.
To be sure vigabatrin is not causing harmful effects on your vision, you will need a thorough eye exam when you start taking the medication and then every 3 months during treatment. If you ever stop taking vigabatrin, you may still need to have eye exams every 3 to 6 months after your treatment ends. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use.
You may have thoughts about suicide while taking vigabatrin. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits. Call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, or thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Vigabatrin is available only under a special program called SHARE. You must be registered in the program and sign documents stating that you understand the risks and benefits of taking this medication and that you agree to have vision exams on a regular basis while you are taking vigabatrin.
What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking vigabatrin?
Some people taking vigabatrin have developed mild to severe vision problems. Vision problems may occur within weeks to years after you start taking vigabatrin. Vision loss caused by vigabatrin may be permanent, and you may notice only mild symptoms of the onset of vision loss. You must have eye exams on a regular basis while taking this medication.
Vigabatrin is available only under a special program called SHARE. You must be registered in the program and sign documents stating that you understand the risks and benefits of taking this medication and that you agree to have vision exams every 3 months while you are taking vigabatrin. Ask your doctor or call the drug maker if you have questions about the program or the written requirements.
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to vigabatrin.
To make sure you can safely take vigabatrin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
vision problems, such as retinitis or glaucoma; or
if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using vigabatrin.
You may have thoughts about suicide while taking this medication. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether vigabatrin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
Although vigabatrin might harm an unborn baby, having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both mother and baby. If you become pregnant while taking vigabatrin, do not stop taking it without your doctor's advice.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of vigabatrin on the baby.
Vigabatrin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using vigabatrin.
How should I take vigabatrin?
Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose over several weeks or months to make sure you get the best results from this medication.
Vigabatrin may be taken with or without food.
Vigabatrin powder must be mixed with water before you give it to a child. Empty the packet of powder into an empty cup and add 10 milliliters (2 teaspoons) of water that is cold or room temperature. If your doctor has prescribed more than 1 packet per dose, use 2 teaspoons of water for each packet of powder you are mixing.
Do not mix the powder and water until you are ready to give a dose. Stir the mixture until the powder dissolves completely. Give the liquid mixture to your child using the 10 mL oral syringe that comes with the medicine. If your child's dose is more than 1 packet, you will need to fill the syringe once for each packet mixed.
To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects on your vision, you will need a thorough eye exam when you start taking vigabatrin and then every 3 months during treatment. If you ever stop taking vigabatrin, you may still need to have eye exams every 3 to 6 months after your treatment ends. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor.
Do not stop using vigabatrin without first talking to your doctor, even if you feel fine. You may have increased seizures if you stop using vigabatrin suddenly. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.
It may take up to 3 months before your seizure control improves. Contact your doctor if your seizures get worse or you have them more often while taking vigabatrin.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include severe drowsiness or dizziness, confusion, trouble speaking, feeling agitated or irritable, unusual thoughts or behavior, increased seizures, slow heart rate, weak or shallow breathing, or fainting.
What should I avoid while taking vigabatrin?
This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Vigabatrin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
any change in your vision, no matter how mild;
back and forth eye movements you cannot control;
pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
worsening seizures; or
confusion, mood or behavior changes, depression, thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Less serious side effects may include:
headache, feeling irritable;
dizziness, drowsiness, tired feeling;
weight gain, swelling anywhere in your body;
numbness, burning pain, or tingly feeling in your hands or feet;
loss of coordination;
cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, fever, sneezing, sore throat;
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; or
sleep problems (insomnia).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect vigabatrin?
Cold or allergy medicine, sedatives, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for depression or anxiety can add to sleepiness caused by vigabatrin. Tell your doctor if you regularly use any of these medicines, or any other seizure medications.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:
amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone);
tamoxifen (Soltamox); or
steroid medicine such as prednisone (Deltasone, Sterapred), budesonide (Pulmicort, Rhinocort, Symbicort), fluticasone (Advair , Flonase, Flovent, Veramyst), mometasone (Asmanex, Nasonex), triamcinolone (Nasacort), and others.
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with vigabatrin. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
More about Sabril (vigabatrin)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about vigabatrin.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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