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Sodium Valproate And Valerian Extract


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#1 In_Remission_Anonymous Bosch

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 06:00 AM

It's a bit late for me to start wondering now, but for the last few years I've been taking 2x700mg sodium valproate a day - I love it, it's changed my life. I've put on a bit of weight, but that's probably more my not exercising and eating badly than the meds :mad:

Anyhow, I've never been good at sleeping, when I would sleep, I'd sleep badly. No bad dreams that I'm aware of, but I'd either wake up frequently at night just to go to sleep again or just not feel rested in the morning - assuming i could get to sleep at all in the first place. Getting on meds really helped stablise my sleeping, but early this year my sleeping patterns really went off the rails and I couldn't get them back in place again.

That's when I stumbled accross valerian - and it's fixed *everything*. I now go to sleep easily, sleep through the night, wake up rested on time.

So, having done some reading about valerian, I've been wondering - due to its relationship to valproic acid, could there be an interaction here i should be wary of? Could using valerian (2g extract tablet) affect my sodium valproate levels? Could there be additional side effects?

If anyone knows anything, I'd be grateful for any information they might be able to offer - not due to see my pdoc for another 4 months



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#2 Anna

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 08:17 AM

I don't know the answer to this, but why don't you call the pdoc? I'm sure he could give you some kind of feedback prior to your appointment. It might also be a good idea to check with your pharmacist.

If valarian root is out, you have other options. Melatonin, OTC things, ambien or trazodone.

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#3 KarenRB53

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 09:12 AM

It's a bit late for me to start wondering now, but for the last few years I've been taking 2x700mg sodium valproate a day - I love it, it's changed my life. I've put on a bit of weight, but that's probably more my not exercising and eating badly than the meds :mad:

Anyhow, I've never been good at sleeping, when I would sleep, I'd sleep badly. No bad dreams that I'm aware of, but I'd either wake up frequently at night just to go to sleep again or just not feel rested in the morning - assuming i could get to sleep at all in the first place. Getting on meds really helped stablise my sleeping, but early this year my sleeping patterns really went off the rails and I couldn't get them back in place again.

That's when I stumbled accross valerian - and it's fixed *everything*. I now go to sleep easily, sleep through the night, wake up rested on time.

So, having done some reading about valerian, I've been wondering - due to its relationship to valproic acid, could there be an interaction here i should be wary of? Could using valerian (2g extract tablet) affect my sodium valproate levels? Could there be additional side effects?

If anyone knows anything, I'd be grateful for any information they might be able to offer - not due to see my pdoc for another 4 months



Do you take any other meds? Are you taking an Antidepressant with the valproic acid. Thats the same as Depakote or Epival, isn't it?

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#4 In_Remission_Anonymous Bosch

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 02:56 PM

Do you take any other meds? Are you taking an Antidepressant with the valproic acid. Thats the same as Depakote or Epival, isn't it?

Not on any other meds, just Valpro/Epilim (Sodium Valproate). It's similar to Depakote and Epival (both Valproate semisodium), but slightly different. I hear better reports on Epilim than Depakote, for example (but these things are kinda subjective)

My docs prescription-averse, one of those seemingly rare finds that prefers not to prescribe anything if they don't have to - which is what i like most about her. I'd rather not be on any more meds than I have to be & if that means I have to work a little harder, then so be it.

#5 Jerod Poore

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 04:56 PM

So, having done some reading about valerian, I've been wondering - due to its relationship to valproic acid, could there be an interaction here i should be wary of?


That relationship is a bit stretched. There seems to be one thing that's consistent between the two...

Could using valerian (2g extract tablet) affect my sodium valproate levels?


Valerian inhibits UGTs, which would reduce the clearance of valproates and, for anyone else reading this, Lamictal.

Effectively having more sodium valproate may have had as much impact on your sleep as the valerian.
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#6 KarenRB53

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 05:50 PM

Do you take any other meds? Are you taking an Antidepressant with the valproic acid. Thats the same as Depakote or Epival, isn't it?

Not on any other meds, just Valpro/Epilim (Sodium Valproate). It's similar to Depakote and Epival (both Valproate semisodium), but slightly different. I hear better reports on Epilim than Depakote, for example (but these things are kinda subjective)

My docs prescription-averse, one of those seemingly rare finds that prefers not to prescribe anything if they don't have to - which is what i like most about her. I'd rather not be on any more meds than I have to be & if that means I have to work a little harder, then so be it.



I think thats great! The less medication you have to take the better. I've just been diagnosed Bipolar ll, for the past many years I've been taking only an antidepressant (mostly Prozac) and Ativan because the Prozac does increase my anxiety a great deal. I was only asking because I'm very interested in what other people with Bipolar ll are taking for meds.

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#7 Serpens

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 07:08 PM

So, having done some reading about valerian, I've been wondering - due to its relationship to valproic acid, could there be an interaction here i should be wary of?


That relationship is a bit stretched. There seems to be one thing that's consistent between the two...

Could using valerian (2g extract tablet) affect my sodium valproate levels?


Valerian inhibits UGTs, which would reduce the clearance of valproates and, for anyone else reading this, Lamictal.

Effectively having more sodium valproate may have had as much impact on your sleep as the valerian.



Glucuronidation interactions. Now that's not every day stuff.
Looked it up and sure enough. Relatively minor concentrations of valerian (and valerian's active component) can decrease UGT1A1 activity by as much as 87%.

By sweet reptilian christ, that won't just mess with your meds, that could conceivably mess with endogenous metabolism.
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#8 Jerod Poore

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:57 AM

Glucuronidation interactions. Now that's not every day stuff.
Looked it up and sure enough. Relatively minor concentrations of valerian (and valerian's active component) can decrease UGT1A1 activity by as much as 87%.


Given the inconsistencies of herbal concoctions, who knows what the inhibition is like from day to day.

By sweet reptilian christ, that won't just mess with your meds, that could conceivably mess with endogenous metabolism.


Really? So maybe it's not the valproic acid lookalike found in Valerian root preparations that helps control seizures in rare cases, maybe they help deal with inborn errors of metabolism. Nothing to do with the brain, everything to do with the liver and pancreas.
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#9 Serpens

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 07:59 PM

Glucuronidation interactions. Now that's not every day stuff.
Looked it up and sure enough. Relatively minor concentrations of valerian (and valerian's active component) can decrease UGT1A1 activity by as much as 87%.


Given the inconsistencies of herbal concoctions, who knows what the inhibition is like from day to day.

By sweet reptilian christ, that won't just mess with your meds, that could conceivably mess with endogenous metabolism.


Really? So maybe it's not the valproic acid lookalike found in Valerian root preparations that helps control seizures in rare cases, maybe they help deal with inborn errors of metabolism. Nothing to do with the brain, everything to do with the liver and pancreas.



I believe the data I was looking at was using purified valerenic acid in cultured hepatocytes. But the point is valid. The total lack of quality control, accountability and ethical practices in the supplement industry is one of the most problematic aspects of it.

And that's certainly possible, but what is worrisome is that the importance of UGT is as great as most of the cytochromes put together. Just about everything that goes through phase II metabolism goes through UGT, and that's not just including drugs. The overwhelming majority of metabolic byproducts from a disturbing array of pathways end up there. Fortunately, UGT conjugation appears to have an enormous capacity, and damned near unlimited supply of substrate. Deficiencies along this pathway are incredibly problematic in some aspects. Gilbert Syndrome results from a reduction of UGT capacity by a little over 50% by knocking down promoters for two of the UGT1A enzymes. The most that has is usually chronic or recurrent jaundice and mild liver problems. Total deficiency in a major UGT is basically unheard of, there's maybe a thousand cases on the planet. Deficiency in the production of glucuronic acid -does- happen, but people with it have atrocious cancer rates - from vague recollection of an old class I think well over 3/4 of them develop some malignancy before age 18.

While the fact that there's no real reported problems with Valerian is reassuring.. this is slightly below finding a human ether-a-go-go interaction in terms of worrisome.
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#10 In_Remission_Anonymous Bosch

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 12:54 AM

And given the above, people who are already taking a medication which plays hackey sack with your liver should presumably not be taking herbal supplements which are keen to come to the party - presuming i've managed to correctly interpret this science mumbo-jumbo :)

(i never was one fer book learnin :mad:)

#11 Jerod Poore

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 11:44 AM



By sweet reptilian christ, that won't just mess with your meds, that could conceivably mess with endogenous metabolism.


Really? So maybe it's not the valproic acid lookalike found in Valerian root preparations that helps control seizures in rare cases, maybe they help deal with inborn errors of metabolism. Nothing to do with the brain, everything to do with the liver and pancreas.


Gilbert Syndrome results from a reduction of UGT capacity by a little over 50% by knocking down promoters for two of the UGT1A enzymes. The most that has is usually chronic or recurrent jaundice and mild liver problems. Total deficiency in a major UGT is basically unheard of, there's maybe a thousand cases on the planet. Deficiency in the production of glucuronic acid -does- happen, but people with it have atrocious cancer rates - from vague recollection of an old class I think well over 3/4 of them develop some malignancy before age 18.


It was just a wild-ass guess on my part. Inborn errors of metabolism have come up when trying to track down the possible causes involving treatment-resistant seizures with a cluster of other symptoms. You know, the play-at-home version of House.

As the UGTs are in one of the numerous areas of human biology about which I know just enough to make a connection as tenuous as the valproic acid lookalike molecule in Valerian it made sense to me.

While the fact that there's no real reported problems with Valerian is reassuring.. this is slightly below finding a human ether-a-go-go interaction in terms of worrisome.


If I had the software that could produce Venn diagrams it would be easy to illustrate. You've got the population of people who take Lamictal (and other meds where the active elements are cleared by UGTs), the population who use Valerian, the population who use both, and the population who use standardized extracts that really are made from the plants they claim to be made from.
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#12 Jerod Poore

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 11:50 AM

And given the above, people who are already taking a medication which plays hackey sack with your liver should presumably not be taking herbal supplements which are keen to come to the party - presuming i've managed to correctly interpret this science mumbo-jumbo :D


Exactly. As I wrote on the page dealing with libido-reducing side effects:

One guy died from the drug-herb interaction with ginkgo biloba, as ginkgo induces both CYP2C19 activity (used by valproates and Dilantin) as well as seizure activity. So it should be avoided by the epileptic and people taking medications metabolized by CYP2C19.


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