Depakote (divalproex sodium) is an enteric-coated antiepileptic drug used for treating seizures. Other forms of the drug include Depakene (valproic acid), Depakote sprinkle capsules, and Depakote ER, an extended release formulation. They are used for generalized tonic/clonic, myoclonic, partial and absence seizures. Depakote/Depakene can be taken as a single drug therapy or in combination with other antiepileptic drugs. Depakote is also indicated in the treatment of bipolar disorders and migraine headaches (prophylaxis).
Depakote is available in 125 mg, 250 mg and 500 mg tablets. Depakote ER is available in 250 mg and 500 m extended release tablets. Depakote sprinkle capsules are only available in 125 mg capsules. Depakene is available as 250 mg capsules or as a syrup (250mg/5 ml).
What side effects can be caused by Depakote/Depakene?
Just like other drugs, Depakote/Depakene can cause side effects. Also, every patient is different. If you experience any bothersome side effects, report them to your doctor. (There is a risk of serious side effects, including death, with all medications that are used to treat seizures; however, the risk is very small). This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Please refer to the package insert for more details about Depakote/Depakene.
Some of the common side effects of Depakote/Depakene include:
Shaking or tremor of the hands
Increased appetite and/or weight gain
Irregular menstrual cycles
Rare, but serious side effects:
Prolonged bleeding if you are cut or bruised. Mention this to your doctor or dentist prior to any surgical procedure.
Women who plan to have children should consult with their doctor about the possible effects on the fetus.
How should I take Depakote?
It is important that you take the total dose of Depakote as prescribed by your doctor. Depakote is normally taken two or three times a day. Depakote ER, however, can be taken once a day. A convenient dosing would be at meals or at breakfast and bedtime. Do not stop this medication without the advice of your doctor; doing so may result in an increase in seizures.
Does Depakote/Depakene interact with other medications?
Tegretol/Carbatrol (carbamazepine), Dilantin/Phenytek (phenytoin), Luminal (phenobarbital), Mysoline (primidone), Felbatol (felbamate) and rifampin may affect valproic acid levels in the bloodstream. Depakote/Depakene can affect the levels of Tegretol/Carbatrol (carbamazepine), Dilantin/Phenytek (phenytoin), Luminal (phenobarbital), Mysoline (primidone), zidovudine, Warfarin (coumadin), amitryptiline and nortryptiline.
This list is not meant to be complete. Please ask your doctor about any specific drug-drug interactions, especially when starting a new prescribed or over-the-counter drug.
Can I take Depakote/Depakene with food or other medications?
Yes, Depakote and Depakene can be taken with meals and at the same time as other medications.