Depakote is a prescription drug that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1983 to treat epilepsy. Depakote is also referred to by its drug name, Divalproex sodium. Within the body, Depakote metabolizes into a chemical compound known as Valproate or Valproic acid, which is the active ingredient of Depakene. Therefore, the two drugs are very similar in their effects.
Depakote may not be suitable for children under the age of 2. Depakote is not appropriate for use in pregnant women. Depakote should be used with caution in people who have a history of liver problems, depression, or blood disorders.
Depakote is an acidic chemical compound used as an anticonvulsant and mood stabilizer. Depakote is believed to work by changing the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.
How do I take it?
Your doctor may take regular blood tests while you are on Depakote in order to monitor blood levels of the medication. Your doctor will likely begin you on a very low dose of Depakote and increase the dosage gradually in order to avoid side effects.
Depakote is taken orally one or more times a day. Depakote can be taken with food if stomach upset occurs.
Do not stop taking Depakote suddenly. If you decide to stop taking Depakote, consult your physician for a plan to taper off gradually.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Depakote.
In several clinical studies, drugs containing Valproate (Depakote, Depakene) have been shown to control absence seizures completely in many people. In other studies, Valproate prevented tonic-clonic and related types of seizures in more than 80 percent of participants.
Serious side effects of Depakote can include liver damage, suicidal thoughts, and pancreatitis.
Common side effects of Depakote are diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, tremors, hair loss, depression, unsteadiness, and changes in vision, hearing, menstrual cycle or weight.
Notify your doctor if side effects worsen, or if partial tablets appear in stools. Call your doctor if you experience abdominal pain, vomiting, and lack of appetite, which can be signs of pancreatitis.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.