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Divalproex sodium

Divalproex sodium

Overview

Depakote is an anticonvulsant prescribed for control of seizures alone or together with other drugs.

It is also approved for preventing migraine headaches and for treating manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder.

Side Effects and Interactions

The most common side effects associated with Depakote include nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea. These may fade after a few days or weeks.

Do not drive, operate machinery or undertake any activity that requires close attention.

Other reactions that have been reported include constipation, abdominal cramps, change in appetite, rash, hair loss, tremor, headache, unsteadiness, hallucinations, confusion, depression, agitation, lupus, changes in menstruation, and urinary difficulties.

Report any such symptoms to your physician promptly.

Special Precautions

Depakote must not be prescribed for people with liver disease or reduced liver function.

Weakness, lethargy, feeling bad, swollen face, loss of appetite, and vomiting are possible early warning signs of liver failure due to Depakote and should be brought to the immediate attention of the physician.

Very young children under two years of age are especially vulnerable to liver damage from Depakote.

Depakote has been linked to birth defects. It should be used by women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant only if the benefits to the mother clearly outweigh the risks to the fetus.

Taking the Medicine

Depakote tablets and Depakote Sprinkle are usually taken two or three times a day.

Take them in the same way every day. Depakote may be taken with food, especially if it upsets your stomach.

Carry identification (Medic-Alert) if you are taking Depakote as an anticonvulsant.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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