Vigabatrin

Parent or patient Information Leaflet

Dr. C. P. Ravi Kumar

Consultant Paediatric Neurologist
MRCPCH, CCT in Paediatrics (U.K.)
Fellow in Paediatric Epilepsy &
Neurology (London)

Brand names : Sabril (Tablet)

Vigabatrin is a medicine used in epilepsy to control a number of different seizures or convulsions (fits)’ specifically infantile spasms (also called epileptic spasms) and in case of focal seizures when other medications have failed.

Why is Vigabatrin important for my child’s treatment?

It is important that your child takes Vigabatrin regularly so that they have no Seizures or fewer seizures.

Do not stop giving Vigabatrin all of a sudden , as it may lead to your child having more seizures.

What is Vigabatrin available as?

Vigabatrin is available only in tablet form in India in 500mg of strength.

Brand name: Sabril (Tablet)

“Side effects”

Unfortunately, it is not manufactured in India; hence the drug is imported into India through various channels. Often, there is difficulty in the availability of Vigabtrin.

When should I give Vigabatrin?

Twice a day; morning and evening. Ideally, 10-12 hours apart.

For example, anytime between 7 to 8 am and right after 12 hours between 7 to 8 pm. You can adjust the time slot according to your schedule.

However, there are some exceptions when your doctor may advise to give it thrice a day. Please follow your doctor’s instructions in such case.

It should ideally be given at the samE time every day to establish a routine as it minimizes the chances of missing a dose.

What if I miss a dose?

The missed dosage can be given, if you remember to give it within a lapse of 6 hours. If you fail to give the missed dose within 6 hours, then might as well leave it. It is advisable to wait until the time of next routine dose.

Never give a double dose of Vigabatrin.

If your child vomits out the content within 30 minutes of taking the medicine dosage then you can give the dose again; but if your child vomits after 30 minutes of taking the dose, then just leave it be and do not give it again.

How much of the drug should be given?

Your doctor will advise the correct dosage that is required for your child in the prescription

When Vigabatrin is first given to your child, it will be started with a small amount, and then will be increased, little by little, over the course of a few days or weeks, in order to allow the child’s to get use to the medication. Your doctor will clarify what steps to take.

It is mandatory to follow the instructions given by your doctor about the dosage of medication.

Ultimately, when your child is free of seizures or convulsions (fits) and has no obvious side effects, you will know that the dosage is just correct.

How should I give this medicine? “Giving Medicines”

Tablets: A whole tablet must be swallowed with a glass of water, juice or milk. You may give it by crushing and mixing it in water/ juice or small serving of yogurt / Curd.

Could this medication have any side effects on my child? “Side effects”

Although medicines are given to make children feel better, they may sometimes cause unwanted side effects.

Side effects that you must do something about.

Vision: About one third of individuals on Vigabatrin develop reduction in peripheral vision (Tunnel Vision), this is noted more in adults when they have been on this medication for more than 6 – 12 months. In Children, it is difficult to check and to estimate when they can develop this problem. Whenever child is co-operative, peripheral field can be checked and monitored regularly.

Excessively sleepy – Some children may become excessively sleepy, not waking up to drink or eat or not playing as they normally do. In such cases, dosage must be reviewed.

Liver disease: If your child’s health deteriorates and falls sick every few hours, suffers from stomachache, skin and eyes are pale yellow in color, feels lethargic and sleepy or increased number of seizures take them to your doctor straight away.

Other side affects you need to know about

Your child may get these side effects when they first start taking Vigabatrin. They will usually settle down within a course of week or so as their body gets used to the medicine. Continue to give Vigabatrin to your child as your doctor has directed you to.

Your child may be unusually sleepy, or their behaviour may change.

Your child may be hungrier than usual – this effect can last for many weeks or months. Coax your child to eat food low in sugar and fat otherwise they will put on a lot of weight.

If your child starts developing skin Rash, Stop Medications right there and SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ADVICE from your DOCTOR

Sometimes your child may experience other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice any abnormalities with your child’s body or behavior, do not hesitate and immediately contact your doctor.

Despite this long list of side effects, Vigabatrin is a very effective anti-epileptic (anticonvulsant) medicine and is used only for specific indications such as spasms where its effectiveness is proven beyond doubt.

Can other common medicines be given during the course of Vigabatrin?

Medications like ibuprofen, paracetamol, antibiotics or any of the other over the counter medicines can be given when necessary, except the ones your doctor has prohibited you from.

Consult with your doctor before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

Some other medicines used to treat epilepsy may affect how well Vigabatrin works or may cause side effects. If your child is experiencing more fits or seizures, or any other side effects after using other medications, talk to your doctor immediately.

Where should I keep the medication?

Keep the medicine in a cupboard, secured away from heat and direct sunlight. It is not a must to keep the medicine in the refrigerator though.

Make sure the medicine is out of your child’s reach.

Store the medication in the same box it was packed in.

For more information please take a look at the manufacturer’s information leaflet.

References :

1. IAP Drug Formulary Web Update 2020(3) Edition 58, https://www.iapdrugformulary.com/Home
2. Consumer Medicines Information (CMI), https://www.tga.gov.au/consumer-medicines-information-cmi
3. British National Formulary for Children (BNFC), https://www.nice.org.uk/bnfc
4. Food and Drug Administration, USA https://www.fda.gov