Depakote is a medication that works by altering the levels of specific chemicals in the body that may contribute to the onset of seizures. It is utilized in the treatment of various types of seizure disorders and may be prescribed in combination with other anticonvulsant medications.
Depakote tablets and capsules are indicated for use in individuals aged 10 years and above who suffer from epilepsy and require treatment for their seizures. The tablet form of this medication may also be prescribed in conjunction with other anticonvulsant drugs.
In adults, Depakote tablets are used for the prevention of migraine headaches and for the management of manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder.
Uses and Dosage
Depakote is available in multiple formulations including capsule, extended-release tablet, delayed-release tablet, sprinkle capsule, and syrup, to be taken orally. The recommended dosing frequency is two or more times daily for the syrup, capsules, delayed-release tablets, and sprinkle capsules, while the extended-release tablets are to be taken once daily.
Take valproic acid at consistent intervals and with food to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal distress. Adhere strictly to the dosing instructions specified by the physician or as mentioned on the prescription label, and seek clarification from a healthcare provider if unclear.
Regular capsules, delayed-release capsules, and extended-release tablets should be ingested whole without crushing, chewing, or splitting. Sprinkle capsules can be taken as a whole or opened and sprinkled on a spoonful of soft food, such as applesauce or pudding. The mixture should be consumed immediately and should not be stored for later use. It is imperative not to mix the syrup with carbonated drinks.
Note that divalproex sodium, valproate sodium, and valproic acid differ in their absorption and hence, cannot be used interchangeably. A change in product formulation may require an adjustment of dose, and the prescribed product should be verified with the pharmacist before use.
The physician may initiate therapy with a low dose of valproic acid and gradually escalate as necessary.
Depakote may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- changes in appetite
- weight changes
- back pain
- mood swings
- abnormal thinking
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- problems with walking or coordination
- uncontrollable movements of the eyes
- blurred or double vision
- ringing in the ears
- hair loss
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects while taking Depakote, including:
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- tiny purple or red spots on the skin
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swollen glands
- swelling of face, eyes, lips, tongue, or throat
- peeling or blistering skin
- drop in body temperature
- weakness or swelling in the joints
Before initiating treatment with divalproex sodium, inform your healthcare provider of any prior history of allergies, including reactions to the drug itself, or to valproic acid or valproate sodium. Discuss any other medical conditions, including liver disease, pancreatitis, metabolic disorders (such as urea cycle disorders or Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome), alcohol abuse, bleeding problems, brain disease (dementia), kidney disease, dehydration, and poor nutrition.
Exercise caution while using this medication as it may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurring of vision. Combining with alcohol or marijuana may enhance these effects. Engaging in activities that require alertness or clear vision, such as driving or operating machinery, should be avoided until the individual can safely perform these tasks.
Pediatric patients below the age of 6 years and elderly individuals may be at an increased risk for liver problems and pancreatitis, as well as for the side effects of drowsiness, dizziness, unsteadiness, or tremor, which may further increase the risk of falls.
Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should consult their doctor before taking divalproex sodium, as the drug may harm an unborn fetus. The medication is also present in breast milk, seek medical advice before breast-feeding.
Form and Strength
Depakote is available in the following forms and strengths:
- Depakote capsule:
- divalproex sodium capsule:
Can Depakote change your personality?
Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including Depakote, increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in patients taking these drugs for any indication.
How long does it take for Depakote to kick in?
While it only takes a few hours for your body to fully absorb divalproex (Depakote), it can take a few weeks before you start to notice a difference in your symptoms.