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Depakote ER is an oral extended-release tablet made up of a fatty acid derivative anticonvulsant drug called divalproex sodium. This tablet comes in many colors and is usually oval in shape. Depakote ER can be purchased either as a generic alternative (sold as divalproex sodium) or the brand choice Depakote ER in 250mg and 500mg.

Depakote ER (divalproex sodium) is most commonly prescribed to treat seizures; however, it can also be prescribed to treat certain psychiatric conditions like the 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 ER 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 ER properly, follow the directions given to you by your doctor.

You may take this medication with food, but it is not necessary.

Swallow the tablet whole (once daily); 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 ER 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 ER is not suitable for you.  You may need to reconsider taking Depakote ER.

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 ER.

Side Effects

Common side effects of Depakote ER (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 ER (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 do I do in the case of an overdose?

Call 911 right away. Overdose symptoms include passing out, trouble breathing, excessive drowsiness, coma, and/or irregular or slow heartbeat.

What does this tablet usually look like?

Most of the time, it is a small, white or grey, oval tablet with a blue imprint that reads the logo followed by “HC”. Your tablet may not look this way if you buy a generic form.

Are there any drug interactions with Depakote?

Yes, some medications do interact with this product. Some of these medications include certain anti-depressants, antibiotics, and other seizure medications. Examples include amitriptyline, doripenem, rufinamide, warfarin, and orlistat.

Will Depakote affect any laboratory tests?

It may affect urine, ketones and other lab tests. Ensure you mention all medications you take before having tests done.

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