Divalproex sodium


Generic Name: Divalproex sodium

Used to Treat: epilepsy

Seizure Type: All seizure types

Forms of the medicine:
pills, sprinkles

1750 mg. - 3000 mg. daily

General Info:
What is Depakote / Depakote ER?
Depakote (DEH-pah-kote) / Depakote ER (DEH-pah-kote-Ee-Ar) are two different preparation of the generic drug divalproex (di-VAL-pro-eks) sodium. They are used in the treatment of partial or absence seizures by itself or as add-on therapy in adults and children 10 years and older. It is also effective in other primary generalized seizures. These medicines are also used to prevent migraine headache or to treat mood disorder. Depakote is available in tablet and sprinkle capsule form. Depakote ER is an extended-release tablet version of Depakote.

How do I take Depakote / Depakote ER?
Take this medication exactly as it is prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts or longer than recommended by your doctor. Do not change your dosage without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor if the medication does not seem to work in treating your condition.

Depakote / Depakote ER may or may not be taken with food depending on your tendency for upset stomach. However, do try to take in the same manner and at the same time every day. Except sprinkle capsule, do not open, chew, or crush the capsules; swallow them whole. The extended –release tablets are especially designed to release the medication slowly throughout the body. If you decide to take them with food, do so every day as this will change the medication’s absorption time.

Sprinkle capsules are an easy way to give Depakote to children and others who have trouble swallowing pills. The capsules can be swallowed whole, but usually they are opened and the contents are sprinkled onto a teaspoon of soft food such as applesauce, custard, ice cream, oatmeal, pudding, or yogurt. After taking Depakote sprinkle capsule, drinking a glass of water or another liquid may help with swallowing

What if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take an extra dose, unless prescribed by your doctor.

What if I experience side effects?
Various side effects may occur in taking this medicine. Most side effects are not serious and may disappear naturally. Call your doctor if you have any questions concerning your possible side effects. However, do not stop taking your medication without advice from your doctor. They will discuss and recommend possible options. At times it is necessary to continue taking your medication despite these side effects.

There are other side effects that may be serious and indicate that your body is not tolerating the drug properly. Call a doctor right away if these side effects become severe or cause considerable problems in your daily functions. If you experience a change in seizures, severe rash, or allergic reaction contact your doctor immediately as these may indicate potentially life threatening problems.

Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Tiny purple spots on the skin
  • Unexplained fever
  • Blisters or rash
  • Hives
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Swollen glands
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes

Keep this medication in its original container, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store your prescription at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (i.e. not the bathroom). Protect the extended-release capsules and liquid from excessive light. Do not freeze the liquid. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

Recommendation for women
Depakote / Depakote ER are classified as FDA pregnancy category “D” meaning that there is a risk to the developing fetus. If you find or suspect that you are pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the potential benefits and risks before making any decisions about the use of this medicine. Women who are taking this medication and who wish to become pregnant should discuss treatment options with their physicians before the pregnancy begins.

Other helpful information
Depakote / Depakote ER is not for the people with liver diseases or pancreas diseases or diseases called urea cycle disorders, if you have these diseases, be sure to discuss with your doctor before starting Depakote / Depakote ER. Taking other medications during taking Depakote / Depakote ER may cause unexpected side effects or may increase the possibility of side effects, discuss with your doctor if you have to take other medications while you are taking Depakote / Depakote ER.

Side Effects

Liver toxicity, Altered bleeding time, Tremor, Upset stomach, Weight gain, Twitching, Poor coordination, Blurred or double vision, Dizziness, Headaches