GENERIC NAME(S): Divalproex
OTHER NAME(S): Depakote Tablet, Delayed Release (Enteric Coated)
Rarely, this medication has caused serious (sometimes fatal) liver problems, usually within the first 6 months of starting treatment. Laboratory tests should be performed before you start treatment and periodically during treatment, especially within the first 6 months, to monitor this side effect.
The risk of serious liver problems is increased in children younger than 2 years, especially if they have an inherited metabolic disorder, severe seizure disorder with mental retardation, organic brain disease, or if they take more than one seizure medication. Talk with the doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication in children younger than 2 years.
Due to an increased risk for liver problems, people with certain inherited metabolic disorders (such as Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome) should not use this medication. Children younger than 2 years who might have these disorders should not use this medication. Children older than 2 years who might have these disorders should be closely monitored during treatment with divalproex sodium. Talk to your doctor for details.
This medication has rarely caused severe (sometimes fatal) disease of the pancreas (pancreatitis). This may occur at any time during treatment and can quickly worsen.
Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of liver problems or pancreatitis such as unusual tiredness, weakness, swelling of the face, stomach/abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin, or persistent nausea/vomiting.
Taking this medication during pregnancy can cause birth defects and may lower your child’s IQ. Women of childbearing age should discuss the risks and benefits of this medication, other treatment options, and use of reliable forms of birth control with their doctor. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, immediately talk to your doctor. If you are taking divalproex sodium only to prevent migraine headaches, this medication must not be used during pregnancy. If you are taking divalproex sodium to treat seizures or mental/mood problems (such as bipolar disorder), do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor. Untreated seizures and mental/mood problems (such as bipolar disorder) are serious conditions that can harm both a pregnant woman and her unborn baby.
- Side Effects
- Side Effects
This medication is used to treat seizure disorders, certain psychiatric conditions (manic phase of bipolar disorder), and to prevent migraine headaches. It works by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain.
How to use Depakote
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking divalproex sodium and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. You may take it with food if stomach upset occurs. Swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush or chew the tablet, which can irritate the mouth or throat.
The dosage is based on your age, weight, medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each day to keep the amount of medication in your blood constant.
If this medication is used for seizures, do not stop taking it without consulting your doctor. Your condition may become worse if the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
Divalproex sodium does not relieve acute migraine headaches. Take other medications as directed by your doctor for acute attacks.
Inform your doctor if your condition does not improve.
See also Warning section.
Diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, hair loss, blurred/double vision, change in menstrual periods, ringing in the ears, shakiness (tremor), unsteadiness, weight changes may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
You may rarely see partial tablets in your stool. This may occur if you have certain intestinal disorders (such as ileostomy, colostomy). Tell your doctor right away if you see partial tablets in your stool.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
A small number of people who take anticonvulsants for any condition (such as seizure, bipolar disorder, pain) may experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems. Tell your doctor right away if you or your family/caregiver notice any unusual/sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior including signs of depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, thoughts about harming yourself.
Severe (sometimes fatal) brain disorder (encephalopathy) has rarely occurred, particularly in patients with certain metabolic disorders (urea cycle disorders). Tell your doctor right away if you develop unexplained weakness, vomiting, or sudden mental/mood changes (such as confusion).
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: chest pain, easy bruising/unexplained bleeding, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, swelling of hands/feet, uncontrolled eye movement (nystagmus), feeling cold/shivering, rapid breathing, loss of consciousness.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
See also Warning section.
Before taking divalproex sodium, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to valproic acid or valproate sodium; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, pancreatitis, certain metabolic disorders (such as urea cycle disorders, Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome), alcohol abuse, bleeding problems, brain disease (dementia), kidney disease, low body water (dehydration), poor nutrition.
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or blur your vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness or clear vision until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness, dizziness, unsteadiness, or tremor. Drowsiness, dizziness, unsteadiness can increase the risk of falling.
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. See also Warning section.
This medication passes into breast milk. While there have been no reports of harm to nursing infants, consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
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