Depakote – Information, Uses, Side Effects and Dosage


Drug trade name-Depakote

Category- anticonvulsant

Generic name- Divalproex Sodium

Group- pharmaceuticals


Introduction and Quick Information:

Depakote contains a compound of valproic acid and sodium valproate in a coated form. This medicine used in the treatment of various types of seizure disorders and manic episodes of bipolar disorder. In certain cases, it is also used in the treatment of the major depressive disorder and recommend for long-term treatment for both depressive and manic of bipolar disorder. In United States, it is widely prescribed or recommended for the treatment of a migraine headache, epilepsy and chronic pain associated with neuropathy. Depakote comes under the chemical name of sodium hydrogen.

Is Depakote approved by FDA?

Valproic acid and its derivative Divalproex comes under the brand name called Depakote. Both chemicals were approved by United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The FDA has approved both these chemicals in different years as the valproic acid was approved in February 1978 and the later approved in March 1983 by FDA. This medicine is being sold worldwide under different brand names.

Usage and Benefits of Depakote:

Depakote is used in the treatment of acute manic episodes associated with the associated bipolar disorder.

In certain health condition, this medicine is taken alone or with seizure medications which are generally prescribed to treat seizure disorder in adults and children (older than 10 years).

Depakote works to improve concentrations of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (well known as GABA) in the brain which further helps to prevent seizures from occurring.

Depakote is also used to reduce the effects of manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder. Apart from this, it is also prescribed for preventing migraine headache, but it is not used to treat a migraine headache.

Side Effects of Depakote

Seek for medical emergency or attention, if you experience any of the below mentioned health condition while using Depakote-

  • hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there);
  • urinating less than usual
  • easy bruising or bleeding, blood in your urine
  • double vision or back-and-forth movements of the eyes
  • body aches, fever, sore throat, chills, flu symptoms
  • lack of coordination, extreme drowsiness
  • unexplained weakness with vomiting and confusion or fainting
  • headache with a severe blistering, peeling and red skin rash
  • enlarged breasts
  • weight changes
  • mild drowsiness or weakness
  • changes in your menstrual periods
  • anxiety, depression, or other emotional changes
  • upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea
  • hair loss
  • vision changes
  • unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • facial swelling
  • hypothermia
  • severe stomach pain
  • unexplained lethargy
  • loss appetite
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • jaundice
  • dizziness

These health conditions are medically known as side effects of Depakote which occur due to various reasons and sometimes due to overdose. Immediate medical help and attention are recommended by the doctors to avoid the minor/serious health damage caused due to side effects.


General Recommended Dosages of Depakote:

Recommended dosages for seizure treatment is initiated with 10 to 15 mg/kg/day and added by 5 to10 mg/kg/day per week to get quick and desired response. However, dosage amount is not same for every patient as dosage amount depends on patient’s age, weight and health condition.

Recommended dosage for acute mania associated with bipolar disorder- treatment is initiated with 750 mg every day. Further dose should be increased rapidly to get the maximum health benefits and effects. Maximum dose of Depakote is 60 mg/kg/day.

Recommended dosages for the prevention of migraines- treatment is started with 250 gm twice in a day. Further dose should be increased slowly to get maximum health benefits and effects; maximum dose of Depakote is 60 mg/kg/day.

These dosages can only be prescribed by your doctor or health care provider. Before taking Depakote, you need to undergo some medical tests to make sure that you are not having any serious health conditions. You cannot take this medicine if you have some serious health complications as it can worsen them.

In Case I Miss a Dose?

Missed dose consequences are not known. Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. Skip the missed dose if it is time for next dose. Inform your doctor about the missed dose and do not try to take a double dose to make up for the missed one.

In Case I Take Overdose?

Overdose of Depakote can have several health complications which can worsen your disease or disorder condition for which you are taking this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include loss of consciousness, shallow breathing, drowsiness or sleepiness, weak pulse. Ask your doctor for further information on overdose symptoms.

Drug Interactions of Depakote

Drug interactions could have some serious side effects to the body hence it is recommended to get full information of Depakote interaction with other drugs before using this medicine. Here we have some drugs enlisted which interact with Depakote and could lead to fatal effects on the body.

  • Carbamazepine
  • Lamotrigine
  • Rifampin
  • Phenobarbital
  • Diazepam
  • Clonazepam
  • Phenytoin
  • Felbamate
  • Topiramate
  • Zidovudine
  • Ethosuximide
  • Primidone
  • Aspirin
  • Warfarin
  • Carbapenem antibiotics such as ertapenem, imipenem or meropenem

Life Style and Food habits one must follow When on Depakote:

Almost every medicine has certain food restrictions and Depakote has too. You can ask your doctor for the list of foods which you should avoid during the treatment. Your doctor will provide you complete information of what you should do and how to go about it.

Drinking alcohol or smoking in an excessive manner can increase the adverse effects. There are some other medical conditions which you should tell your doctors before starting with this drug. Do inform your doctor if you have any of these health issues-

  • HIV or CMV (cytomegalovirus) infection
  • Bleeding or blood clotting disorder
  • Urea cycle disorder
  • Brain disorder, head injury or coma
  • Family history of infant deaths with unknown cause

You need to give a minor medical test to make sure that your body and health condition are suitable for this treatment.

How safe is Depakote for Pregnant Women or Nursing Mothers?

One should never use any drug during pregnancy or nursing a baby. When you are in such condition, inform your doctor as it could have some severe effects to the body. Several studies have shown that Depakote can harm unborn babies. Do not use this medicine until your doctor does not prescribe it. You should not use this medicine if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Complication and Conditions Possible due to Prolonged Use of Depakote

Although depakote does not have any habit-forming capabilities however it may harm your health if you use this medicine longer than recommended. Prolonged use of Depakote can lead to certain health issues and complication which you can know more about from your healthcare provider. Ask your doctor for possible complication and condition of prolonged use of this anticonvulsant.

Availability of the Drug Depakote

Depakote is a FDA approved anticonvulsant drug and available at only government and FDA approved drug stores. Remember this is a prescription medicine and you cannot buy this medication without a doctor’s prescription.