When a person has seizures, doctors will gather a comprehensive medical and genetic history from the patient. They will also perform a neurological exam and other clinical tests to help provide a diagnosis.
Doctors may ask such questions as:
- What was the person doing before the seizure?
- What did the seizure look like?
- What happened during the seizure?
- Was this the first seizure or has the patient had a seizure before?
Once the doctor has completed the initial exam and determined that the seizures are not due to fainting, lack of oxygen, hypoglycemia or non-epileptic causes, or transient ischemic attacks (also called TIAs or tiny strokes), additional tests may be conducted:
- An EEG (electroencephalograph) to record brain waves for abnormal activity — showing specific patterns of brain waves and their related seizure types
- Imaging methods such as CT (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans to identify brain abnormalities that may cause seizures
With the results of these tests, the doctor will attempt to:
If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with epilepsy, remember that it can be a manageable condition in most patients. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.
Depakote, Depakote ER, and Depakote Sprinkle Capsules are prescription medications 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
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 getting this serious liver damage is more likely to happen within the first 6 months of treatment.
- Taking Depakote during pregnancy for any medical condition puts your baby at risk for serious birth defects that affect the brain and spinal cord and are called spina bifida or neural tube defects. Other birth defects can affect the structures of the heart, head, arms, legs, and penis and can lower IQ. All women of child-bearing age should talk to their healthcare provider about using other possible treatments instead of Depakote. If the decision is made to use Depakote, you should use effective birth control.
- Inflammation of your pancreas that can cause death.
- Increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. Pay attention to any changes, especially sudden changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings.
- Call your doctor right away with any changes in your condition.
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