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Generic Name:

vigabatrin, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Sabril
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for vigabatrin

Oral tablet
1

Vigabatrin is used to treat complex partial seizures after other treatments haven’t worked. It’s also used to treat spasms in infants.

2

This drug comes as a tablet you take by mouth. It’s also available as a powder for oral solution.

3
Vigabatrin is only available as the brand-named drug Sabril. It’s not available as a generic drug.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning indicates drug effects that may be dangerous.

Permanent vision problems warning. This drug may harm your peripheral vision, which is your ability to see to the side while looking straight ahead. This may also cause blurry vision. In severe cases, you may only be able to see what’s straight in front of you. This effect is called tunnel vision. Vision loss from this drug can be permanent. Because of this risk, this drug is only available to doctors who are under a special program. This is called the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program. Your doctor will test your vision often during treatment with this drug and after you stop taking it. You have to agree to be in the REMS program and have your vision tested regularly. Your doctor will explain the REMS program to you.

Suicidal thoughts or actions

This drug may cause changes in your mood or behavior. It may raise your risk of suicidal thoughts or actions. If you have any thoughts of harming yourself, call your doctor right away.

Brain damage

This drug can harm your brain and cause other changes to your nervous system. Symptoms may include abnormal movements. This effect is more common in infants taking this drug. Your doctor will monitor you for brain damage during treatment. If you have brain damage or changes to your nervous system, your doctor will reduce your dosage or stop treatment.

Weight gain

Your doctor will monitor your weight while you take this drug. If you gain too much weight, your doctor may reduce your dosage or stop treatment.

What is vigabatrin?

This drug is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet. It’s also available as a powder that you mix into an oral solution.

Vigabatrin is only available as the brand-named drug Sabril. It’s not available as a generic drug.

Why it's used

This drug is used to treat complex partial seizures after other treatments haven’t worked. It’s also used to treat spasms in infants.

How it's used

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called antiepileptics.

See Details

How it's used

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called antiepileptics. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

This drug works by increasing the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your nervous system. GABA is a substance that decreases the activity of your nervous system. This action reduces your risk of seizures.

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SECTION 2 of 5

vigabatrin Side Effects

Oral tablet

More common side effects

The side effects of vigabatrin are slightly different in children and adults.

  • Adults’ side effects can include:

    • vision problems, such as:
      • permanent vision loss
      • double vision
      • blurry vision
      • uncontrollable eye movement
    • fatigue
    • drowsiness
    • shaking
    • memory problems
    • weight gain
    • body aches
    • walking or coordination trouble
    • confusion
  • Children’s side effects can include the above, plus:

    • upper respiratory tract infection, with symptoms such as:
      • nasal congestion
      • coughing
    • aggression
    • dizziness
    • headache

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Permanent vision loss, with symptoms such as:

    • tunnel vision
    • vision loss
    • double vision
    • blurry vision
    • eye pain
    • tripping and bumping into things
    • being more clumsy than normal
    • being surprised by people or things in front of you
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions. Symptoms can include:

    • thoughts about suicide or dying
    • attempts to commit suicide
    • new or worse depression
    • new or worse anxiety
    • feeling agitated or restless
    • panic attacks
    • trouble sleeping
    • new or worse irritability
    • aggressive, angry, or violent behavior
    • acting on dangerous impulses
    • extreme increase in activity and talking
    • other unusual changes in behavior or mood
  • Pain in your arms and legs. Symptoms can include:

    • numbness or tingling in your toes or feet
    • decreased feeling or sensitivity in your legs
    • loss of reflexes and coordination in your limbs
  • Blood disorders or low red blood cell counts. This can cause anemia. Symptoms can include:

    • shortness of breath
    • fatigue
    • confusion
    • chest pain
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team
This drug may cause drowsiness. Don’t drive or do other activities that require alertness until you know you can function normally with this drug.
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

vigabatrin May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Vigabatrin can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Interactions that increase the risk of side effects

Increased side effects from other drugs: Taking vigabatrin with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from those drugs. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Clonazepam
    • Side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, and decreased control of your body movements.

Interactions that can make your drugs less effective

When other drugs are less effective: When certain drugs are used with vigabatrin, they may not work as well. This is because the amount of these drugs in your body may be decreased. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Phenytoin
    • Your doctor may increase your dosage of phenytoin or decrease your dosage of vigabatrin.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
kidney problem warning
People with kidney problems

If you have kidney problems or a history of kidney disease, you may not be able to clear this drug from your body well. This may increase the levels of this drug in your body and cause more side effects.

vision problem warning
People with vision problems

This drug may make your vision worse. These changes are permanent and can’t be reversed. Ask your doctor if this drug is safe for you.

depression or mood problem warning
People with depression or mood problems

This drug may make your depression or mood issues worse. This may lead to more suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Ask your doctor if this drug is safe for you.

pregnant women warning
Pregnant women

This drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the pregnancy.

breast-feeding warning
Women who are breast-feeding

This drug may pass into breast milk and cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

senior warning
For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

children warning
For children

It has not been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for the treatment of complex partial seizures in people who are younger than 10 years.

This drug may be used to treat infantile spasms in children who are younger than 2 years.

when to call your doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergy warning
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take vigabatrin (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

The dosage information below is for the conditions that this drug is most often prescribed to treat. This list may not contain all conditions that your doctor can prescribe this drug for. If you have questions about your prescription, talk with your doctor.

What are you taking this medication for?

Complex partial seizures

Brand: Sabril

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 500mg
Form: Powder for oral solution
Strengths: 500mg
Adult dosage (ages 17 years and older)
  • Typical starting dosage: 500 mg twice per day for a total of 1,000 mg per day
  • Dosage increases: Your doctor may increase your dosage each week by 500 mg per day until you reach the recommended dosage of 3,000 mg per day (taken as two 1,500-mg doses).  
  • Maximum dosage: 3,000 mg per day taken as two 1,500-mg doses
Child dosage (ages 10–16 years)

Children who weigh 60 kg (132 lbs.) or less:

  • Typical starting dosage: 500 mg per day in two 250-mg doses
  • Dosage increases: Your doctor may increase your child’s dosage each week by 500 mg per day until they reach the recommended dosage of 2,000 mg per day.
  • Maximum dosage: 2,000 mg per day in two 1,000-mg doses

Children who weigh more than 60 kg (132 lbs.):

  • Typical starting dosage: 1,000 mg per day in two 500-mg doses
  • Dosage increases: Your doctor may increase your child’s dosage each week by 500 mg per day until they reach the recommended dosage of 3,000 mg per day.
  • Maximum dosage: 3,000 mg per day in two 1,500-mg doses
Child dosage (ages 0–9 years)

It has not been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in children younger than 10 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

People with kidney disease: Your doctor may give you a lower dosage of this drug if you have kidney disease.

  • Mild kidney problems: Your dosage may be decreased by 25%.
  • Moderate kidney problems: Your dosage may be decreased by 50%.
  • Severe kidney problems: Your dosage may be decreased by 75%.

Spasms in infants

Brand: Sabril

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 500mg
Form: Powder for oral solution
Strengths: 500mg
Adult dosage (ages 17 years and older)

This condition does not occur in this age group.

Child dosage (younger than 2 years)
  • Typical starting dosage: 50 mg/kg of body weight per day in two divided doses
  • Dosage increases: Your doctor may increase your child’s dosage every three days by 25-50 mg/kg per day
  • Maximum dosage: 150 mg/kg per day
Child dosage (2 years of age and older)

This condition does not occur in this age group.

Special considerations

People with kidney disease: Your doctor may give you a lower dosage of this drug if you have kidney disease.

  • Mild kidney problems: Your dosage may be decreased by 25%.
  • Moderate kidney problems: Your dosage may be decreased by 50%.
  • Severe kidney problems: Your dosage may be decreased by 75%.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

This drug comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

If you don’t take this drug at all, you’ll continue to have seizures. Stopping this drug suddenly can cause seizures that won’t stop. Always talk to your doctor if you want to stop taking your medication.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • loss of consciousness
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • shortness of breath
  • low blood pressure (may make you feel dizzy or lightheaded)
  • increase in seizures

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. If you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should have fewer seizures.

This drug is used for long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking this drug
with or without food
You can take this drug with or without food
take every 12 hours
Take this drug every 12 hours. Don't take it more often
cut or crush the tablet
You can cut or crush the tablet
store drug carefully
Store this drug carefully
See Details
medication is refillable
A prescription for this medication is refillable
See Details
Travel
Travel
See Details
Self-management
Self-management
See Details
Clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not always stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead
Insurance authorization
Insurance
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store this drug at room temperature. Keep it between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription to refill this medication. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it in a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

Watch for any changes in your mood, behavior, and vision. Tell your doctor if you notice any changes.

If you’re taking the powder for oral solution, you’ll receive packets containing 500 mg of the drug. Ask your pharmacist how to prepare each dose. The number of packets you need will depend on your dosage. To mix the solution:

  1. Empty the correct number of packets for your dose into a cup.
  2. Add 10 mL of water for each packet. For example, if you take 1500 mg, you will empty three packets into a cup and add 30 mL of water.
  3. Stir the solution until all of the powder has dissolved.

Then take the solution. You may need an oral syringe for child or infant dosing. Your pharmacist may be able to give you one.

Clinical monitoring

You and your doctor should monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:

  • Kidney function. Your doctor may do blood tests to check how well your kidneys work. If your kidneys aren’t working well, your doctor may lower your dosage of this drug.
  • Mental health and behavioral problems. You and your doctor should watch for any unusual changes in your behavior and mood. This drug can cause new mental health and behavior problems. It can also make problems you already have worse. If you develop these problems, your doctor may decrease your dosage or stop treatment.
  • Vision problems. You and your doctor should watch for any symptoms of vision loss. If this drug affects your vision, your doctor may lower your dosage or stop your treatment with this drug.
  • Red blood cell count. Your doctor will monitor your red blood cell count. This drug may decrease your red blood cell count. If this happens, your doctor may lower your dosage or stop your treatment with this drug.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does vigabatrin Cost?

Oral tablet

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for vigabatrin on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on April 29, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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