Depakote tablets are "delayed-release," which means they have a special coating that prevents the drug from dissolving too early in the digestive tract. Available in three strengths, Depakote must be taken twice a day, as prescribed by your doctor. Talk with your doctor about the most appropriate treatment choice for you.
Depakote ER Tablets
The "ER" in Depakote ER stands for Extended Release. Available in two strengths, Depakote ER contains the same active ingredient as Depakote (divalproex sodium) but it is designed to slowly deliver the medication over a 24-hour period. This means that Depakote ER only has to be taken once a day. If you have been prescribed Depakote, ask your doctor if Depakote ER is right for you.
Depakote and Depakote ER should be swallowed whole and should not be crushed or chewed. Depakote tablets and capsules have a special coating to prevent the entire tablet from breaking down at the same time. This makes the tablet dissolve slowly, controlling the amount of medicine released into your system. Sometimes the shell does not completely dissolve and passes through your intestines with your stool. This is called a "ghost tablet," and may contain a trace, if any, amount of medicine. If you have a shortened intestine (ie, colostomy or ileostomy) or an intestinal disorder and diarrhea, you may not have received all your medicine from the tablet. Notify your doctor if you notice a ghost tablet in your stool.
Depakote Sprinkle Capsules
Available in 125 mg strength only, Depakote Sprinkle Capsules work in the same way as Depakote delayed-release tablets, although they are in a capsule form instead of a tablet. Some patients, for example those who have difficulty swallowing, may find it easier to take Depakote Sprinkle Capsules because the capsules can be swallowed whole or opened and the contents sprinkled on soft food. Talk with your doctor about the most appropriate treatment choice for you.
Depakote Sprinkle Capsules are only approved for the treatment of epilepsy.