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People over the age of 10 who have complex partial seizures and children who have infantile spasms may be given vigabatrin. This drug can cause serious side effects, so it is generally not used as a first-line treatment. It comes as tablets (for adults) and as a powder that is mixed with water (for children). Possible side effects of this prescription medicine include fatigue, shakiness, and permanent vision loss.

What Is Vigabatrin?

Vigabatrin (Sabril®) is a prescription medication approved to treat certain types of seizures. In adults and children age 10 and older, it is approved to treat complex partial seizures, when several other treatments have already been tried unsuccessfully. In young children, it is used to treat infantile spasms. Because of the high risk for permanent vision loss, this drug should be used very cautiously and only when the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.
 
Prescribers and pharmacists must be registered with the special restricted distribution program for this medication (the "SHARE" program) before prescribing or dispensing it. This program is designed to help ensure that only appropriate individuals receive this medication, and that appropriate vision monitoring is performed. Patients must also be enrolled in the SHARE program.
 
(Click What Is Vigabatrin Used For? for more information this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any medicine, vigabatrin may cause side effects. However, the risk for very serious side effects, including permanent vision loss, is quite high with this medication. This is why vigabatrin is generally used as a "last resort."
 
Some of the most common vigabatrin side effects include but are not limited to:
 
  • Permanent vision loss
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Shakiness (tremors).
 
(Click Vigabatrin Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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