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About Depakote

Prescribed to millions of patients since 1983, Depakote is one of the first generation of a class of drugs called "antiepileptics," or AEDs. This antiepileptic drug is used to treat a variety of epilepsy seizure types as well as acute manic symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder. See the Depakote Safety Facts Box for additional important information about Depakote.

Use:

  • Depakote, Depakote ER and Depakote Sprinkle Capsules are used:
  • Alone or with other medications to treat:
    • Complex partial seizures in adults and children 10 years of age and older
    • Simple and complex absence seizures, with or without other seizure types
  • Depakote and Depakote ER are used to treat acute manic episodes associated with
    bipolar disorder.
  • Depakote and Depakote ER are also used to prevent migraine headaches in adults.
  • DO NOT TAKE Depakote or Depakote ER for the prevention of migraine headaches if you are pregnant.

Talk with your doctor or other healthcare professional about how you should take Depakote, Depakote ER, or Depakote Sprinkle Capsules (for epilepsy)—and what to expect from your treatment.

Important Safety Information

Serious side effects including:

  • Serious liver damage that can cause death, especially in children younger than 2 years old. The risk of having serious liver damage is more likely within the first 6 months of treatment.
  • Taking Depakote during pregnancy can harm your unborn baby; increasing the risk for serious birth defects [e.g. brain and spinal cord (spina bifida)] and the risk of your child for having a lower IQ.
  • Inflammation of your pancreas that can cause death.
  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. Be alert to sudden change in mood, behaviors, thoughts or feelings.

DO NOT TAKE Depakote:

  • If you have liver problems, including genetic liver problems (e.g. Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome); are allergic to the ingredients or have a genetic disorder called Urea Cycle Disorder (UCD)
  • for the prevention of migraine headaches if you are pregnant

Common Side Effects Include:

  • Headache
  • Sick feeling in the stomach
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling extremely tired
  • Tremor
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Weakness
  • Double vision
  • Problems with walking
    or coordination
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain

Depakote, Depakote ER, and Depakote Sprinkle Capsules can also lower your blood platelet count. If you experience bruising while taking Depakote, please contact your doctor.

This is not a complete description of all of the risks and possible effects of Depakote. Please see the Medication Guide and Full Prescribing Information for additional information.

Depakote Dosing Considerations

Depakote and Depakote ER tablets should be swallowed whole and should not be crushed or chewed. Depakote and Depakote ER can be taken with or without food and are available in tablet form in different dosage strengths so that your doctor can choose the strength that is right for you.

The Depakote brand tablets look like this:

Depakote 125 mg, 250 mg and 500 mgDepakote ER 250 mg and 500 mg

Tablets Shown Are Not Actual Size


Depakote and Depakote ER tablets should be swallowed whole and should not be crushed or chewed. Depakote and Depakote ER can be taken with or without food and are available in tablet form in different dosage strengths so that your doctor can choose the strength that is right for you.

The Depakote Sprinkle Capsules look like this:

Depakote Sprinkle Capsules 125 mg

Capsule Shown Is Not Actual Size

  • Important
    Safety
    Facts
  • Do Not
    Use If
  • Before Using Depakote
  • Tell Your Doctor
  • Side Effects
  • Uses
  • Useful Resources

The most important information about Depakote:

Do not stop taking Depakote without first talking to your doctor. Stopping Depakote suddenly can cause serious problems.

Depakote can cause SERIOUS
SIDE EFFECTS, including:

Serious liver damage that can cause death, especially in children younger than 2 years old. The risk of getting serious liver damage is more likely within the first 6 months of treatment. Liver damage may continue despite stopping the drug. Call your doctor right away if you develop any of these symptoms: nausea or vomiting that doesn’t go away, loss of appetite, pain on the right side of your stomach, dark urine, swelling of your face, or yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes.

Depakote may harm your unborn baby. Taking Depakote during pregnancy puts your baby at risk for serious birth defects. The most common birth defects affect the brain and spinal cord, called spina bifida or neural tube defects, and occur in 1 to 2 out of every 100 babies born to mothers who use Depakote during pregnancy. These defects can begin in the first month, before you know you are pregnant. Other birth defects can also happen. If you take Depakote while you are pregnant, your child is at risk for having a lower IQ. Women who are pregnant must not take Depakote to prevent migraine headaches. All women of childbearing age should talk to their doctor about using other treatments instead of Depakote. There may be other medicines to treat your condition that have a lower chance of causing birth defects and decreased IQ in your child. If you use Depakote, use effective birth control. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while taking Depakote. Taking folic acid supplements before getting pregnant and during early pregnancy can lower the chance of having a baby with neural tube defects.

Inflammation of your pancreas that can cause death. Call your doctor right away if you develop severe stomach pain that you may also feel in your back, or nausea or vomiting that does not go away.

Depakote may cause suicidal thoughts and actions in a very small number of people, about 1 in 500. Be alert for any sudden changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts or feelings. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms, especially if they are new or worsen: thoughts of suicide or dying; attempting suicide; new or worse depression, anxiety or irritability; feeling agitated or restless, angry, aggressive, or violent; panic attacks; trouble sleeping; acting on dangerous impulses; or extreme increase in talking or activity.

Click to view full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.

References:
1. Depakote [package insert].
2. Depakote ER [package insert].
3. Depakote Sprinkle Capsules [package insert].

DO NOT TAKE Depakote if you have liver problems, have or think you have a genetic liver problem caused by a mitochondrial disorder (e.g. Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome), are allergic to the ingredients, or have a genetic condition called urea cycle disorder, causing too much ammonia to build up in your body.

DO NOT TAKE Depakote for the prevention of migraine headaches if you are pregnant.

Click to view full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.

References:
1. Depakote [package insert].
2. Depakote ER [package insert].
3. Depakote Sprinkle Capsules [package insert].

BEFORE starting Depakote, tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • Have liver disease
  • Have a genetic liver problem caused by a mitochondrial disorder (e.g., Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome)
  • Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • Drink alcohol
  • Have depression, mood problems, or suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Have a colostomy, ileostomy, or gastrointestinal disorder
  • Have any other medical condition
  • Take any medicines, including those with and without a prescription, vitamins, and herbal supplements and medicines

Click to view full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.

References:
1. Depakote [package insert].
2. Depakote ER [package insert].
3. Depakote Sprinkle Capsules [package insert].

Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop:

  • Red or purple spots on your skin
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding from your mouth, teeth, or nose
  • Abnormal drowsiness, a feeling of being more tired or drowsy than usual
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion, difficulty thinking, or difficulty staying awake or waking up
  • An inability to eat or drink as you normally do, a loss of appetite or not wanting to eat or drink as you normally do
  • Call your doctor immediately if you become pregnant or think you are pregnant. If you want to become pregnant, let your doctor know before you begin trying
  • Tell your doctor if you notice the shell of the Depakote tablet or capsule in your stool

Or if you develop signs of an allergic reaction including the following: fever; skin rash; hives; blisters; sores in mouth; swelling of lymph nodes, face, eyes, lips, tongue, or throat; or trouble swallowing or breathing

Click to view full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.

References:
1. Depakote [package insert].
2. Depakote ER [package insert].
3. Depakote Sprinkle Capsules [package insert].

Other serious side effects from taking Depakote include low blood platelet counts, high blood ammonia levels, hypothermia (body temperature less than 95º F), allergic reactions, or extreme drowsiness in some elderly patients, causing less than normal eating or drinking.

Some common side effects of Depakote include nausea, tremor, hair loss, weight gain, increased appetite, stomach pain, headache, dizziness, diarrhea, blurry vision, coordination problems, double vision, sleepiness, weakness, vomiting, loss of appetite, or walking problems.

Click to view full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.

References:
1. Depakote [package insert].
2. Depakote ER [package insert].
3. Depakote Sprinkle Capsules [package insert].

Depakote comes in different dosage forms. Depakote® (divalproex sodium) Tablets, for Oral use and
Depakote® ER (divalproex sodium) Tablet, Extended Release for Oral use are prescription medications used:

  • To treat acute manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder
  • Alone or with other medicines to treat:
    • Complex partial seizures in adults and children 10 years of age and older
    • Simple and complex absence seizures, with or without other seizure types
  • To prevent migraine headaches

Depakote® Sprinkle Capsules (divalproex sodium coated particles in capsules), for oral use is a prescription medicine used alone or with other medicines to treat:

  • Complex partial seizures in adults and children 10 years of age and older
  • Simple and complex absence seizures, with or without other seizure types

Click to view full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.

References:
1. Depakote [package insert].
2. Depakote ER [package insert].
3. Depakote Sprinkle Capsules [package insert].

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088).

If you cannot afford your medication, contact www.pparx.org or call the toll free phone number (1-888-4PPA-NOW) (1-888-477-2669) for assistance.

Click to view full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.

References:
1. Depakote [package insert].
2. Depakote ER [package insert].
3. Depakote Sprinkle Capsules [package insert].

Depakote can cost as little as $5

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Program may help reduce
prescription costs.

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