Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Anemia: Vigabatrin may cause low levels of red blood cells. If you experience symptoms of reduced red blood cell count (anemia) such as shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired or pale skin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells, including red blood cells, in your blood.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: People with uncontrolled epilepsy should not drive or operate potentially dangerous machinery. The most common side effects with vigabatrin are drowsiness and fatigue. People taking the medication are advised to avoid activities requiring mental alertness or physical coordination until they determine that vigabatrin does not affect them adversely.
Eye problems: A number of different types of eye problems have been reported for people taking vigabatrin, often in combination with other antiepileptic medications. The onset of problems has occurred from less than 1 month to over 6 years after the start of treatment. The onset of symptoms tends to be reported most frequently within the first year of treatment. Eye examinations are recommended at the start of treatment with vigabatrin and should continue to take place every 3 months.
If you are taking this medication, report any narrowing of the field of vision or loss of visual sharpness to your doctors and promptly report any emerging visual problems. The use of vigabatrin should be stopped if eye problems occur unless the benefit of controlling seizures through continued treatment outweighs the risk of visual impairment.
Increased seizures: As with other antiepileptic medications, some patients experience an increase in the number of seizures or new seizure types. If you experience this effect, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Mental health: People taking this medication may feel agitated (restless, anxious, aggressive, emotional, and feeling not like themselves), or they may want to hurt themselves or others. These symptoms may occur within several weeks after starting this medication. If you experience these side effects or notice them in a family member who is taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. You should be closely monitored by your doctor for emotional and behaviour changes while taking this medication.
Sudden discontinuation of medication: As with other antiepileptic medications, stopping vigabatrin suddenly may lead to an increased number of seizures. If possible, it is recommended that the dose be reduced gradually over a period of 2 to 4 weeks.
Pregnancy: Vigabatrin should not be used if you are pregnant. Before you take this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, likely to become pregnant, or planning to become pregnant. If you become pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking vigabatrin, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding. Breast-feeding is generally not recommended while taking this medication.
Seniors: People over the age of 65 years may be more at risk of side effects from this mediction due to age-related decreases in kidney function.