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Vigabatrin - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Vigabatrin: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Vigabatrin?

Vigabatrin is an anticonvulsant drug used in the treatment of epilepsy. It is prescribed mostly as an adjunctive therapy. Structurally it is very similar to a powerful neurotransmitter called GABA. GABA has a calming and soothing effect on the brain. Vigabatrin functions by preventing the metabolism of GABA by the brain. 

It is effective in treating kids and young adults where traditional treatment options have failed to produce results.

What Uses of Vigabatrin?

Vigabatrin is an effective anticonvulsant drug, effective as a combination and as a monotherapy drug. Vigabatrin reduces the frequency and severity of seizures and is beneficial in the treatment of epileptic patients. Some of its common uses are

  • Epilepsy and seizures- Vigabatrin effectively controls Tonic-clonic partial seizures and Refractory Complex Partial Seizures (CPS).
  • Infantile spasm- Vigabatrin is useful in the treatment of a condition known as infantile spasm. The condition primarily affects babies ageing one month to two years in age.
  • Other uses- Vigabatrin has also shown promising results in the treatment of cholecystokinin-induced panic attacks.
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What are the side effects of Vigabatrin?

Some of the minor side effects of Vigabatrin are –

  1. Sleepiness.
  2. Headaches.
  3. Dizziness.
  4. Depression.
  5. Diplopia.
  6. Psychosis.

One of the main side effects of Vigabatrin is visual impairment. Vigabatrin was first introduced in 1989 in the UK and was hailed for its antiepileptic effects, but soon after the first evidence, visual impairment was reported.

Vigabatrin causes irreversible damage to the retinal nerve fibre layer caused by the depletion of an essential enzyme called taurine in the retina.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Vigabatrin

1. How does Vigabatrin work?

Vigabatrin irreversibly inhibits the enzyme that causes the metabolism of GABA in the brain. This action causes an increase in the concentration of GABA in the brain. Vigabatrin ultimately works by decreasing the transmission of abnormal electrical impulses of the brain, thus reducing the intensity and the frequency of seizures in people suffering from epilepsies.

2. Is Vigabatrin Cyp2E1 inhibitor?

Clinical studies conducted so far have indicated that Vigabatrin has neither an inhibitory effect nor an enzyme-inducing effect on the human body. Vigabatrin remains unchanged throughout its metabolism and is excreted mainly in its original form by the kidneys.

3. Why does Vigabatrin cause vision loss?

Vigabatrin causes depletion of an enzyme called taurine, which is essential for the proper functioning and health of the eye's retina. Due to the lack of taurine, there is irreversible damage or atrophy of the retinal nerve fibres. To know more about the side effects of Vigabatrin, consult our specialist; click here.

4. Is Vigabatrin safe for kids?

Vigabatrin is prescribed in cases where conventional treatment therapies have failed to give results. It is used in the treatment of seizures and infantile spasm in kids one-month-old as well. Vigabatrin does cause vision impairment. Hence, it is prescribed only after careful evaluation of its merits and side effects in some cases.

5. Can you crush Vigabatrin?

Vigabatrin tablets can be crushed. The crushed tablets should be added to soft foods like curd, jam, or jellies and consumed with the intake of the mix. Parents should ensure that the child should not chew the crushed tablets, as it can affect the efficiency of the medicine.

Vigabatrin also comes in a powder form that can be dissolved in water, juice, or milk.

6. How common is vision loss with Vigabatrin?

Vigabatrin is useful in the treatment of seizures in babies and young kids. Unfortunately, it causes irreversible vision loss in some cases. The incidence of vision impairment or vision loss is fairly common, and per clinical data, as high as 50% have reported visual impairment of some form after taking Vigabatrin.

7. How do you dissolve Vigabatrin?

Vigabatrin is available in the market in tablet and powder form. The powder can be dissolved in water, juice, or milk. The tablets can be crushed and added to soft foods like yoghurt or jellies and consumed without chewing. Crushed tablets can also be dissolved with water or milk and given to the child.

8. How quickly Vigabatrin works for infantile spasms?

Vigabatrin is the drug of choice in the treatment of infantile spasms. It is usually given as mono drug therapy or single medicine. It takes about 5 to 7 days for Vigabatrin to show significant results in controlling the seizures caused by infantile spasms.

9. Can Vigabatrin cause seizures?

Vigabatrin is a potent anticonvulsant medicine. It is helpful in the treatment of Tonic-clonic seizures, infantile spasms, and epilepsies of unknown origin. It does not cause seizures; on the other hand, it helps to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures. It calms the brain and reduces the transmission of abnormal electrical impulses in the brain.

10. Does Vigabatrin cause constipation?

Vigabatrin has some minor side effects on the gastric system. It is known to cause gastric pain, dyspepsia, and an increase in appetite in some people. It may cause constipation in some instances, the incidence of this side effect is fairly low. Less than 1.4% of people have reported severe constipation while taking Vigabatrin.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.

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