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EPILIM CHRONOSPHERE 500MG MODIFIED RELEASE GRANULES

Active substance(s): SODIUM VALPROATE / VALPROIC ACID

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Ref: 1333/106015/1/F

®

®

Epilim Chronosphere 500mg modified release granules
(sodium valproate/valproic acid)
Patient Information Leaflet

▼This medicine is subject to additional monitoring. This will allow quick
identification of new safety information. You can help by reporting
any side effects you may get. See the end of section 4 for how to report side
effects.
WARNING
Valproate can cause birth defects and problems
with early development of the child if it is
taken during pregnancy. If you are a female of
childbearing age you should use an effective
method of contraception throughout your
treatment.
Your doctor will discuss this with you but you
should also follow the advice in section 2 of this
leafl et. Tell your doctor at once if you become
pregnant or think you might be pregnant.

* Medicines used to calm emotional and mental conditions such as
diazepam and olanzapine

The following medicines can affect the way Epilim Chronosphere
works:
* Some medicines used for the prevention and treatment of malaria such as
mefloquine and chloroquine
* Cimetidine used for stomach ulcers
* Carbapenem agents (antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections) such as
imipenem, meropenem, rifampicin and erythromycin. The combination of
Epilim Chronosphere and carbapenems should be avoided because it may
decrease the effect of your medicine.
* Colestyramine used to lower blood fat (cholesterol) levels
Taking Epilim Chronosphere with food and drink
Alcohol intake is not recommended during treatment.
Pregnancy, breast feeding and fertility

Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start taking this medicine
because it contains important information for you.
* Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
* If you have further questions, please ask your doctor or pharmacist.
* This medicine has been prescribed for you. Do not pass it on to others. It
may harm them even if their symptoms are the same as yours.
* If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. This includes
any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet. See section 4.
Your medicine is called Epilim Chronosphere 500mg modified release
granules but will be referred to as Epilim Chronosphere throughout the
leaflet. Please note that the leaflet also contains information about other
strengths of the medicine, Epilim Chronosphere 50mg modified release
granules, Epilim Chronosphere 100mg modified release granules,
Epilim Chronosphere 250mg modified release granules,
Epilim Chronosphere 750mg modified release granules and
Epilim Chronosphere 1000mg modified release granules.
What is in this leaflet
1 What Epilim Chronosphere is and what it is used for
2 What you need to know before you take Epilim Chronosphere
3 How to take Epilim Chronosphere
4 Possible side effects
5 How to store Epilim Chronosphere
6 Contents of the pack and other information

1

What Epilim Chronosphere is and what it is used for

What Epilim Chronosphere is
The name of your medicine is Epilim Chronosphere 500mg modified release
granules. “Modified release” means that the active ingredients (sodium
valproate and valproic acid) are slowly released from the granules over a
long period of time.
What Epilim Chronosphere contains
Epilim Chronosphere contains two medicines called sodium valproate and
valproic acid. Both belong to a group of medicines called anti-convulsants or
anti-epileptic agents. They work by helping to calm the brain down.
What Epilim Chronosphere is used for
Epilim Chronosphere is used to treat epilepsy (fits) in adults and children.

2

What you need to know before you take Epilim
Chronosphere

Do not take Epilim Chronosphere and tell your doctor if:
* You are allergic (hypersensitive) to sodium valproate, valproic acid or any
of the other ingredients of Epilim Chronosphere (listed in Section 6 below).
* You have liver problems or you and your family have a history of liver
problems
* You have a rare illness called porphyria
* If you have a genetic problem caused by a mitochondrial disorder (e.g.
Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome)
Do not take this medicine if any of the above apply to you. If you are not
sure, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking Epilim Chronosphere.
Warnings and precaution
A small number of people being treated with anti-epileptics such as sodium
valproate have had thoughts of harming or killing themselves. If at any time
you have these thoughts, immediately contact your doctor.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking Epilim Chronosphere
* You have diabetes. This medicine may affect the results of urine tests
* You have kidney problems. Your doctor may give you a lower dose
* You have a ‘urea cycle disorder’ - where too much ammonia builds up in
the body.
* You have an illness called “systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)” - a
disease of the immune system which affects skin, bones, joints and
internal organs
* You know that there is a genetic problem caused by a mitochondrial
disorder in your family.
If you are not sure if any of the above apply to you, talk to your doctor or
pharmacist before taking Epilim Chronosphere.
Weight gain
Taking Epilim Chronosphere may make you put on weight. Talk to your
doctor about how this will affect you.
Blood tests
Your doctor may wish to do blood tests before you start taking Epilim
Chronosphere and during your treatment.
Other medicines and Epilim Chronosphere
Please tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken
any other medicines. This includes medicines you buy without a prescription,
including herbal medicines. This is because Epilim Chronosphere can affect
the way some other medicines work. Also some medicines can affect the
way Epilim Chronosphere works.
The following medicines can increase the chance of you getting side
effects, when taken with Epilim Chronosphere:
* Some medicines used for pain and inflammation (salicylates) such as
aspirin
* Some other medicines used to treat fits (epilepsy) – see page 2, section 3,
“Patients taking other medicines for ‘fits’. This includes medicines such as
phenobarbital, primidone, phenytoin, carbamazepine, topiramate,
lamotrigine and felbamate
Epilim Chronosphere may increase the effect of the following
medicines:
* Medicines used for thinning the blood (such as warfarin)
* Zidovudine used to treat HIV infection
* Temozolomide used to treat cancer
* Medicines for depression
* Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) such as moclobemide, selegiline,
linezolid

Important advice for women
* Valproate can be harmful to unborn children when taken by a woman
during pregnancy.
* Valproate carries a risk if taken during pregnancy. The higher the dose, the
higher the risks but all doses carry a risk.
* It can cause serious birth defects and can affect the way in which the child
develops as it grows. Birth defects which have been reported include spina
bifida (where the bones of the spine are not properly developed); facial
and skull malformations; heart, kidney, urinary tract and sexual organ
malformations; limb defects.
If
* you take valproate during pregnancy you have a higher risk than other
women of having a child with birth defects that require medical treatment.
Because valproate has been used for many years we know that in women
who take valproate around 10 babies in every 100 will have birth defects.
This compares to 2-3 babies in every 100 born to women who don’t have
epilepsy.
* It is estimated that up to 30-40% of preschool children whose mothers took
valproate during pregnancy may have problems with early childhood
development. Children affected can be slow to walk and talk, intellectually
less able than other children, and have difficulty with language and
memory.
* Autistic spectrum disorders are more often diagnosed in children exposed
to valproate and there is some evidence children may be more likely to
develop symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
* If you are a woman capable of becoming pregnant your doctor should only
prescribe valproate for you if nothing else works for you.
Before
prescribing this medicine to you, your doctor will have explained
*
what might happen to your baby if you become pregnant whilst taking
valproate. If you decide later you want to have a child you should not
stop taking your medicine until you have discussed this with your doctor
and agreed a plan for switching you onto another product if this is
possible.
* Ask your doctor about taking folic acid when trying for a baby. Folic acid
can lower the general risk of spina bifida and early miscarriage that exists
with all pregnancies. However, it is unlikely that it will reduce the risk of
birth defects associated with valproate use.
FIRST PRESCRIPTION
If this is the first time you have been prescribed valproate your doctor will
have explained the risks to an unborn child if you become pregnant. Once
you are of childbearing age, you will need to make sure you use an
effective method of contraception throughout your treatment. Talk to your
doctor or family planning clinic if you need advice on contraception.
Key messages:
* Make sure you are using an effective method of contraception.
* Tell your doctor at once if you are pregnant or think you might be
pregnant.
CONTINUING TREATMENT AND NOT TRYING FOR A BABY
If you are continuing treatment with valproate but you don’t plan to have a
baby make sure you are using an effective method of contraception. Talk to
your doctor or family planning clinic if you need advice on contraception.
Key messages:
* Make sure you are using an effective method of contraception
* Tell your doctor at once if you are pregnant or think you might be
pregnant.
CONTINUING TREATMENT AND CONSIDERING TRYING FOR A BABY
If you are continuing treatment with valproate and you are now thinking of
trying for a baby you must not stop taking either your valproate or your
contraceptive medicine until you have discussed this with your prescriber.
You should talk to your doctor well before you become pregnant so that you
can put several actions in place so that your pregnancy goes as smoothly as
possible and any risks to you and your unborn child are reduced as much as
possible.
Your doctor may decide to change the dose of valproate or switch you to
another medicine before you start trying for a baby.
If you do become pregnant you will be monitored very closely both for the
management of your underlying condition and to check how your unborn
child is developing.
Ask your doctor about taking folic acid when trying for a baby. Folic acid can
lower the general risk of spina bifida and early miscarriage that exists with all
pregnancies. However, it is unlikely that it will reduce the risk of birth defects
associated with valproate use.
Key messages:
* Do not stop using your contraception before you have talked to your
doctor and worked together on a plan to ensure your epilepsy is
controlled and the risks to your baby are reduced.
* Tell your doctor at once when you know or think you might be pregnant.
UNPLANNED PREGNANCY WHILST CONTINUING TREATMENT
Babies born to mothers who have been on valproate are at serious risk of
birth defects and problems with development which can be seriously
debilitating. If you are taking valproate and you think you are pregnant
or might be pregnant contact your doctor at once. Do not stop taking your
medicine until your doctor tells you to.
Ask your doctor about taking folic acid. Folic acid can lower the general risk
of spina bifida and early miscarriage that exists with all pregnancies.
However, it is unlikely that it will reduce the risk of birth defects associated
with valproate use.
Key messages:
* Tell your doctor at once if you know you are pregnant or think you might
be pregnant.
* Do not stop taking valproate unless your doctor tells you to.
Make sure you read the patient booklet and sign the Acknowledgement
of Risk form which should be given to you and discussed with you by
your doctor or pharmacist.
Breast-feeding
Very little Epilim Chronosphere gets into the breast milk. However, talk to
your doctor about whether you should breast-feed your baby.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any medicine.
Driving and using machines:
You may feel sleepy when taking Epilim Chronosphere. If this happens to
you, do not drive or use any tools or machines. Taking other medicines used
to treat fits or calm emotional and mental problems may increase sleepiness.

Ref: 1333/100615/1/B

®

Epilim Chronosphere 500mg modified release granules
®

(sodium valproate/valproic acid)
Patient Information Leaflet (continued)
* Bruising more easily and getting more infections than usual. This could be
3

How to take Epilim Chronosphere

Always take Epilim Chronosphere exactly as your doctor has told you. You
should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
Epilim Chronosphere treatment must be started and supervised by a doctor
specialised in the treatment of epilepsy
Taking this medicine
* Your doctor will decide how much Epilim Chronosphere to give you or your
child depending on your or your child’s body weight
* Take this medicine by mouth
* Do not crush or chew the granules
* Do not store partially used sachets or a mixture of the granules with liquid
or food for future use. Always use the full contents of each sachet
* Do not sprinkle Epilim Chronosphere on warm or hot foods and drinks,
such as soup, coffee, tea, or something similar
* The granules should not be given in babies bottles. This is because they
can block the nipple
* If you feel the effect of your medicine is too weak or too strong, do not
change the dose yourself but ask your doctor
How to take this medicine
* This medicine can be taken once or twice daily
* The granules should be sprinkled on a small amount of soft food or drink
which should be cold or at room temperature
* This medicine can be taken with soft food or drink such as yoghurt,
mousse, jam, ice cream, milk shake and orange juice
* When the granules are put onto food, you must swallow all the food with
the granules to make sure you get the correct dose of medicine
* When the granules are swallowed in a drink, the empty glass should be
rinsed with a small amount of water. This water should be swallowed
because some granules may stick to the glass
* The mixture of granules with food or drink should be swallowed
immediately
How much to take
Adults
* The starting dose is 600mg daily. Your doctor will gradually increase this
dose by 200mg every 3 days depending on your condition
* The usual dose is generally between 1000mg and 2000mg (20-30mg per
kilogram of body weight) each day
* This may be increased to 2500mg each day depending on your illness
Children over 20 kilograms
* The starting dose should be 400mg daily. Your doctor should increase this
dose depending on your child’s illness
* The usual dose is usually between 20 and 30mg for each kilogram of body
weight
* This may be increased to 35mg for each kilogram of body weight each day
depending on your child’s illness
Children under 20 kilograms
* The usual dose is 20mg for each kilogram of body weight
* Depending on the child’s condition your child’s doctor may decide to
increase this dose
Patients with kidney problems
* Your doctor may decide to adjust your or your child’s dose
Patients taking other medicines for ‘fits’ (epilepsy)
* You or your child may be taking other medicines for epilepsy at the same
time as Epilim Chronosphere. If so, your doctor should gradually initiate
treatment depending on you or your child’s condition
* Your doctor may increase the dose of Epilim Chronosphere by 5 to 10mg
for each kilogram of body weight each day depending on which other
medicines you are taking
If you take more Epilim Chronosphere than you should
If you take more Epilim Chronosphere than you should, tell a doctor or go to
a hospital casualty department straight away. Take the medicine pack with
you. This is so the doctor knows what you have taken. The following effects
may happen: feeling sick or being sick, pupils of the eye become smaller,
dizziness, loss of consciousness, weak muscles, breathing problems,
headaches, memory loss and unusual or inappropriate behaviour.
If you forget to take Epilim Chronosphere
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it
is nearly time for the next dose, skip the missed dose.
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
If you stop taking Epilim Chronosphere
Keep taking until your doctor tells to stop. Do not stop taking Epilim
Chronosphere just because you feel better. If you stop your fits may come
back.
Tests
Make sure you or your child keep your regular appointments for a check up.
They are very important as your or your child’s dose may need to be
changed. Epilim Chronosphere can change the levels of liver enzymes
shown up in blood tests. This can mean that your or your child’s liver is not
working properly.
If you or your child go into hospital or visit another doctor or a dentist, tell
them you are taking Epilim Chronosphere.
You may see what appears to be complete granules in your stool. This is
normal as the matrix of the Epilim Chronosphere granules is not digested by
the body. It does not mean that the medicine is not working.
If you have any further questions on the use of this product, ask your doctor
or pharmacist.

4

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, Epilim Chronosphere can cause side effects, although not
everybody gets them.
Tell your doctor straight away if you notice any of the following serious
side effects - you may need urgent medical treatment:
* You have an allergic reaction. The signs may include: a rash, joint pain,
fever (systemic lupus erythematosus), swallowing or breathing problems,
swelling of your lips, face, throat or tongue. Hands, feet or genitals may
also be affected. More severe allergic reactions can lead to lymph node
enlargement and possible impairment of other organs.
* Liver problems and problems of the pancreas may show as a sudden
illness which may happen in the first six months of treatment. This
happens in a very small number of people taking Epilim Chronosphere. It
includes feeling and being sick many times, being very tired, sleepy and
weak, stomach pain including very bad upper stomach pain, jaundice
(yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes), loss of appetite, swelling
(especially of the legs and feet but may include other parts of the body),
worsening of your fits or a general feeling of being unwell.
Your doctor may tell you to stop taking Epilim Chronosphere immediately if
you have these symptoms
* You have a skin rash or skin lesions with a pink/red ring and a pale centre
which may be itchy, scaly or filled with fluid. The rash may appear
especially on the palms or soles of your feet. These could be signs of a
serious allergy to the medicine called ‘erythema multiforme’
* Blistering or bleeding of the skin around the lips, eyes, mouth, nose and
genitals. Also flu-like symptoms and fever. This may be something called
‘Stevens-Johnson syndrome’
* Severe blistering rash where layers of the skin may peel off to leave large
areas of raw exposed skin over the body. Also a feeling of being generally
unwell, fever, chills and aching muscles. This may be something called
‘Toxic epidermal necrolysis’

*
*
*
*

a blood problem called ‘thrombocytopenia’. It can also be due to a fall in
the number of white blood cells, bone marrow depression or another
condition that affects red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets
(pancytopenia) or how the blood clots
Blood clotting problems (bleeding for longer than normal), bruising or
bleeding for no reason
Changes in mood, loss of memory, lack of concentration and deep loss of
consciousness (coma)
Underactive thyroid gland, which may cause tiredness or weight gain
(hypothyroidism)
Breathing difficulty and pain due to inflammation of the lungs
(pleural effusion)

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of the following
side effects:
* Changes in behaviour including being very alert, and sometimes also
aggressive, hyperactive and unusual or inappropriate behaviour. This is
more likely if other medicine to treat fits such as phenobarbital and
topiramate are taken at the same time or if the Epilim Chronosphere
starting dose is high or has been suddenly increased
* High levels of ammonia in the blood. Symptoms of this condition are being
sick, problems with balance and co-ordination, feeling lethargic or less
alert
* Feeling shaky (tremor), sleepy or unsteady when walking or jerky muscle
movements
* Feeling tired or confused with loss of consciousness sometimes
accompanied by hallucinations or fits
* Blisters with the skin flaking away
* Rapid, uncontrollable movement of the eyes
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side effects get
serious or lasts longer than a few days, or if you notice any side
effects not listed in this leaflet:
* Feeling sick, stomach ache or diarrhoea, especially when starting
treatment. Feeling sick may be made better by taking the granules with
food
* Fainting
* Hearing loss
* Skin problems such as rashes. These happen rarely, but more often in
people also taking lamotrigine
* Acne
* Hair loss which is usually temporary. When it grows back it may be more
curly than before
* Hair, including body or facial hair grows more than normal in women
* Skin rash caused by narrow or blocked blood vessels (vasculitis)
* Changes in women’s periods and increased hair growth in women
* Breast enlargement in men
* Swelling of the feet and legs (oedema)
* Weight gain - as your appetite may be increased
* Kidney problems, bedwetting or increased need to pass urine
* Headache
* Aggression, agitation, disturbance in attention, abnormal behaviour,
restlessness/hyperactivity, and learning disorder
* Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
Bone Disorders
There have been reports of bone disorders including osteopenia and
osteoporosis (thinning of the bone) and fractures. Check with your doctor or
pharmacist if you are on long-term antiepileptic medication, have a history of
osteoporosis, or take steroids.
Blood tests
Epilim Chronosphere can change levels of liver enzymes, salts or sugars
shown up on blood and urine tests.
Male Fertility
Taking Epilim Chronosphere can be a contributing factor in male infertility.
Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This
includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet. You can also
report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at
www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
By reporting side effects, you can help provide more information on the
safety of this medicine.

How to store Epilim Chronosphere

5

KEEP OUT OF THE SIGHT AND REACH OF CHILDREN.
Do not store above 25°C.
Store in the original package.
Do not refrigerate or freeze.
Protect from moisture.
Do not take this medicine after the expiry date shown on the carton or
sachet label. If your doctor tells you to stop taking the medicine, take any
remaining medicine back to the pharmacist for safe disposal. Only keep this
medicine if your doctor tells you to.
If your medicine becomes discoloured or shows any signs of deterioration,
ask your pharmacist who will advise you what to do.
Medicines should not be disposed of via waterwaste or household waste.
Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medicines no longer required. These
measures will help to protect the environment.

6

Contents of the pack and other information

What Epilim Chronosphere contains
Each sachet of 1515mg modified release granules contains a mixture of
333.30mg sodium valproate and 145.14mg valproic acid, equivalent to
500mg of the active substance sodium valproate.
The other ingredients are hard paraffin, glycerol dibehenate and colloidal
hydrated silica.
What Epilim Chronosphere looks like and contents of the pack
The sachets contain small off-white to slightly yellow, modified release waxy
microgranules.
These modified release granules are supplied in cartons of 30 sachets.
Manufacturer and Licence Holder
The tablets are manufactured by Sanofi Winthrop Industrie, 196, avenue du
Maréchal Juin, 45200 Amilly, France and are procured from within the EU
and repackaged by the Product Licence Holder: Lexon (UK) Limited, Unit 18,
Oxleasow Road, East Moons Moat, Redditch, Worcestershire, B98 0RE.

POM

PL 15184/1333

Epilim and Chronosphere are registered trademarks of Sanofi-Aventis
Leaflet revision date: 10/06/15

Blind or partially sighted?
Is this leaflet hard to see or read?
Phone Lexon (UK) Limited,
Tel: 01527 505414 for help.

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Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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