Depakote is an oral tablet made up of a fatty acid derivative anticonvulsants drug called divalproex sodium. This tablet comes in many colors and is usually oval in shape. Depakote can be purchased as a generic alternative (sold as divalproex sodium) or the brand choice Depakote in 250mg and 500mg.
Depakote (divalproex sodium) is most commonly prescribed to treat seizures; however it can also be prescribed to treat certain psychiatric conditions like manic phase of bipolar disorder, and to prevent migraines, a very severe type of headache. All of these conditions occur in the head/brain and are able to be treated by Depakote because the divalproex sodium is able to restore the balance of neurotransmitters (which works like a messenger; sending signals of information between neurons) in the brain. Each of these conditions are similar in the fact that they may be caused by a chemical imbalance.
To use Depakote properly, follow directions given to you by your doctor.
You may take this medication with food but it is not necessary.
Swallow the tablet whole; do not crush, chew or break it.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor first; this could cause a life threatening seizure.
Store at room temperature, away from heat and children.
Depakote can cause liver failure, especially in children under the age of 2 and in people who suffer from liver problems as a result of a genetic disorder; this could be fatal.
If you have liver disease, a urea cycle disorder, low platelet counts, or a genetic disorder such as Alpers' disease or Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome, your doctor will likely tell you that Depakote is not suitable for you. You may need to reconsider taking Depakote.
If you are pregnant, it is extremely important to follow your doctor’s directions; it is still very important to follow your doctor’s directions regardless; this medication could harm a baby but stopping the medication or taking it incorrectly could cause a fatal seizure for both the mother and unborn baby.
Do not use this as a migraine relief medication if you are pregnant; there are safer alternatives for migraines when you are pregnant.
If you have signs of liver or pancreas problems, contact your doctor right away (see side effects for signs to watch for).
If you have ever had depression, mental illness, suicidal thoughts or actions, or HIV or CMV infection, tell your doctor as you may need a dose adjustment or special cautions while taking Depakote.
Common side effects of Depakote (Divalproex Sodium) may include:
nausea, vomiting, mild stomach pain, diarrhea; headache, mild dizziness, weakness, tremors; problems with balance or walking; blurred vision, double vision; or changes in appetite, weight gain.
The above side effects should not alarm you.
Serious side effects of Depakote (Divalproex Sodium) may include:
confusion, tiredness, cold feeling, vomiting, change in your mental state; easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, or gums), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin; severe drowsiness; or worsening seizures;
If you have any of the above side effects, contact your doctor right away.
Signs to watch for:
Liver or pancreas problems: loss of appetite, upper stomach pain (that may spread to your back), ongoing nausea or vomiting, dark urine, swelling in the face, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Inflammation in your body; swollen glands, flu symptoms, severe tingling or numbness, muscle weakness, chest pain, new or worsening cough with fever, trouble breathing.
What is my dose based on?
Doses are based on a combination of body weight, age, medical condition, response to treatment and any other medications you may be taking.
Will this medication help acute migraines?
No, you will need a different medication to help with acute migraines.
Will alcohol affect my medication?
You should limit your alcohol intake while using this medication as it can cause side effects to be much worse and can almost impair your thinking more so than if you are not on medications.
Anything else I should know about Depakote? Any tips for first time users?
You may wants to avoid excessive sunlight exposure as well as tanning beds as this medication may increase your sensitivity to radiation. Use effective birth control methods while using this medication as pregnancy is not recommended while on Depakote. Always take this tablet with plenty of water and ensure hydration is always maintained.