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Vigabatrin Side Effects

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of vigabatrin include: confusion, fatigue, diplopia, weight gain, arthralgia, blurred vision, depression, abnormal gait, cough, diarrhea, memory impairment, drowsiness, tremor, ataxia, irritability, and pharyngolaryngeal pain. Other side effects include: status epilepticus, urinary tract infection, pulmonary congestion, sinus headache, abnormality in thinking, peripheral edema, eye pain, erectile dysfunction, muscle twitching, paresthesia, weakness, dysmenorrhea, depressed mood, sensory disturbance, peripheral neuropathy, bronchitis, hyporeflexia, upper abdominal pain, toothache, hypoesthesia, back pain, abnormal behavior, constipation, myalgia, fever, nervousness, vertigo, anemia, chest pain, nystagmus, lethargy, sedation, malaise, bruise, abnormal dreams, and increased appetite. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to vigabatrin: oral powder, oral powder for solution, oral tablet

As well as its needed effects, vigabatrin may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

Severity: Major

If any of the following side effects occur while taking vigabatrin, check with your doctor immediately:

More common:
  • Blue-yellow color blindness
  • blurred vision
  • decreased vision or other vision changes
  • eye pain
  • increase in seizures
  • loss of memory
  • problems with memory
Less common or rare:
  • Uncontrolled rolling eye movements

Severity: Minor

Some vigabatrin side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

More common:
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • abnormal coordination
  • agitation
  • burning, tingling, or prickly sensations
  • clumsiness
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • double vision or seeing double
  • drowsiness
  • increased movement
  • joint pain
  • mental depression
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • trembling
  • tremor
  • trouble sitting still
  • unsteadiness
Less common:
  • Aggression
  • headache
  • increased saliva
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea
  • poor concentration
  • speech disorder
  • thinking abnormal
  • trouble sleeping
  • vomiting
  • weight gain

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to vigabatrin: oral powder for reconstitution, oral tablet


General side effects including fatigue (up to 40%), gait disturbance (up to 12%), asthenia (up to 7%), peripheral edema (up to 7%), influenza (up to 7%), chest pain (up to 5%), malaise (up to 5%), contusion (up to 5%), wound secretion (up to 2%), thirst (up to 2%), developmental delay, facial edema, malignant hyperthermia, and multi-organ failure have been reported.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects including headache (up to 33%), somnolence (up to 26%), dizziness (up to 26%), nystagmus (up to 19%), tremor (up to 16%), memory impairment (up to 16%), abnormal coordination (up to 16%), disturbance in attention (up to 9%), sensory disturbance (up to 7%), paraesthesia (up to 7%), lethargy (up to 7%), hypoesthesia (up to 5%), status epilepticus (up to 5%), sensory loss (up to 5%), hyporeflexia (up to 5%), hyperreflexia (up to 4%), sedation (up to 4%), dysarthria (2%), postictal state (up to 2%), dystonia, encephalopathy, hypertonia, hypotonia, and optic neuritis have been reported.[Ref]


Psychiatric side effects including irritability (up to 23%), depression (up to 14%), confusional state (up to 14%), expressive language disorder (up to 7%), abnormal thinking (up to 7%), depressed mood (up to 5%), abnormal behavior (up to 5%), nervousness (up to 5%), abnormal dreams (up to 5%), anxiety (up to 4%), acute psychosis, apathy, delirium, hypomania, neonatal agitation, and psychotic disorder have been reported.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects including diarrhea (up to 16%), nausea (up to 10%), vomiting (up to 9%), constipation (up to 8%), upper abdominal pain (5%), dyspepsia (up to 5%), toothache (up to 5%), stomach discomfort (up to 4%), abdominal pain (up to 3%), abdominal distension (up to 2%), gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and esophagitis have been reported.[Ref]


Ocular side effects including blurred vision (up to 16%), diplopia (up to 16%), eye pain (5%), asthenopia (2%), and changes in color vision have been reported.[Ref]


Metabolic side effects including increased weight (up to 14%) and increased appetite (up to 5%) have been reported.[Ref]


Respiratory side effects including nasopharyngitis (up to 14%), pharyngolaryngeal pain (up to 14%), cough (up to 14%), upper respiratory tract infection (up to 9%), sinus headache (up to 6%), pulmonary congestion (up to 5%), bronchitis (up to 5%), laryngeal edema, pulmonary embolism, respiratory failure, and stridor have been reported.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects including arthralgia (up to 10%), muscle twitching (up to 9%), back pain (up to 7%), pain in extremity (up to 6%), myalgia (up to 5%), muscle spasms (up to 3%), joint sprain (up to 2%), muscle strain (up to 2%), and myoclonus have been reported.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects including dysmenorrhea (up to 9%) and erectile dysfunction (up to 5%) have been reported.[Ref]


Other side effects including vertigo (up to 5%), tinnitus (up to 2%), and deafness have been reported.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects including rash (up to 5%), angioedema, maculopapular rash, pruritus, Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) have been reported.[Ref]


Renal side effects including urinary tract infection (up to 5%) have been reported.[Ref]


Endocrine side effects including delayed puberty have been reported.[Ref]


Hepatic side effects including cholestasis have been reported.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Sabril (vigabatrin)." Lundbeck Inc, Deerfield, IL.

2. Mecarelli O, Rinalduzzi S, Accornero N "Changes in color vision after a single dose of vigabatrin or carbamazepine in healthy volunteers." Clin Neuropharmacol 24 (2001): 23-6

It is possible that some side effects of vigabatrin may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

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