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Depakene is a fatty acid derivative anticonvulsants drug made up of valproic acid. This medication can be bough as Depakene (brand choice) or as valproic acid (generic choice). Both can be purchased in 250mg.

This medication is used primarily for the treatment of seizures, but is also used for mental/mood conditions like manic phase of bipolar disorder, and to prevent migraine headaches. All of these conditions happen in the brain, and can be treated with valproic acid because it works by restoring the balance of neurotransmitters (a natural substance in your brain that acts as a messenger) in the brain.

You may take Depakene with or without food; you are less likely to get a stomachache if you take it with food.

Continue taking this medication until you have used the entire prescribed amount; even if you feel better.

You may worsen your condition if you suddenly stop taking Depakene. Consult you doctor before stopping any medication.

If you are a patients taking cholestyramine, you may need to take it at a different point of the day. Speak with your doctor about appropriate times to take your dosages.

Avoid crushing, chewing, or breaking this tablet; swallow whole.


It is possible to develop serious liver problems while taking Depakene and sometimes it can be fatal. Liver problems usually occur within 6 months of treatment. Monitor yourself for signs of liver problems (see side effects). Those under 2 are more likely to develop liver problems.

This medication may cause extreme birth defects you take it while pregnant. It can also result in the baby having a lower IQ and brain problems. Use appropriate birth control to avoid becoming pregnant if you are taking Depakene.

Pancreatitis (very bad and sometimes fatal pancreas problems) can sometimes be a result of valproic acid. This is more likely to happen after years of use. Watch for signs of pancreatitis (see side effects).

Tell your doctor if you have urea cycle disorder. You may need a different medication, special directions or a dose adjustment.

Patients who use valproic avid are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts. The risk is greater in those who have previously experienced these thoughts or actions in the past. Watch for signs of suicidal thoughts (see side effects).

Side Effects

Please note this is not a complete list of side effects. Not everyone experiences side effects; they are not guaranteed. If you do have side effects and they become unmanageable, consult your doctor about alternate medications.

Common side effects of Valproic Acid may include:

  • Headache
  • Constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, upset stomach, throwing up, or feeling less hungry
  • Feeling hungry
  • Feeling dizzy, sleepy, tired, or weak
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight gain or loss

The above side effects should not alarm you.

Serious side effects of Valproic Acid may include:

  • Chest pain.
  • Swelling in the arms or legs
  • Change in eyesight
  • Memory problems or loss
  • Change in balance
  • Trouble walking
  • Any unexplained bruising or bleeding

If you have any of the above side effects, contact your doctor right away.

Signs to watch for:

  • Liver problems; dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes. In people who have seizures, loss of seizure control may happen
  • Pancreatitis; belly pain, upset stomach, throwing up, or not feeling hungry
  • Suicidal thoughts; low mood (depression), nervousness, restlessness, grouchiness, panic attacks, or changes in mood or actions are new or worse.
  • Infection;  fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • High ammonia levels;  a heartbeat that does not feel normal, breathing that is not normal, feeling confused, pale skin, slow heartbeat, seizures, sweating, throwing up or twitching.


How should I store this product?

Store Depakene in a dry place; avoid storing it in a bathroom. This product should be kept at room temperature.

Will I need to get tests done while on this medication?

You will likely need to get blood work done while using Depakene.

I am a senior. Anything I should know specifically about this product?

Seniors may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication. Seniors should use extra caution when using this medication.

What does this tablet usually look like?

Usually, it is elliptical/oval-shaped and orange in color, although its appearance can vary.

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