Depakote is a medicine that affects chemicals in the brain that are the cause of seizures, mania, and migraines. Depakote's generic name is divalproex sodium.
Depakote is prescribed for the treatment of varied kinds of chemical imbalances in the brain that are cause of seizures, migraine headaches and mania associated with Bipolar Disorder. The exact way that Depakote works to treat the above illnesses is not known.
Depakote can also be prescribed to treat other medical conditions aside from those mentioned above.
Depakote belongs to the FDA Pregnancy Category D. Depakote has been known to be harmful when prescribed by pregnant women as it can lead to birth defects such as malformations of the face, head and heart. It can also lead to problems in the development of the nervous system of the fetus. Never take Depakote when you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant without first talking to your doctor about doing so.
Breastfeeding mothers should also be warned against taking Depakote as it passes into the breast milk and may cause potential harm to a nursing infant.
Patients with liver diseases are not advised to take Depakote. Patients with urea cycle disorders are also not advised to take Depakote.
Depakote is not to be taken by patients who are taking other medicines for their seizure problems. Always wear identification to warn paramedics and doctors that you are taking Depakote. This may come in handy during emergency medical situations.
Taking Depakote can cause drowsiness and dizziness. Always perform activities that require alertness cautiously when on Depakote medication.
Take Depakote exactly as your doctor indicated. Never deviate from your doctor's instructions on how to take Depakote. Each dose of Depakote is to be taken with a full glass of water.
Depakote is likely to cause stomach upsets. Always take Depakote with food or milk to lessen its stomach irritating actions. Never crush, chew or break the capsules of Depakote. Always swallow it whole.
It is important that when taking Depakote, individuals subject themselves to medical- and blood tests often in order to monitor liver condition and the amount of Depakote that remains in their systems.
The exact dosage of Depakote can only be effectively determined by your doctor. Never attempt to prescribe a dose of Depakote for yourself.
An overdose of Depakote can be characterized by:
- Decrease in the frequency of breathing;
- Faint heartbeat;
If any of these symptoms are present and if a Depakote overdose is suspected, immediately seek emergency medical attention.
If you happen to miss a dose of Depakote take one as soon as you remember, provided that it is not yet time for the next dose of Depakote. Do not take a double dose of Depakote.
In some cases, taking Depakote can cause liver diseases that can be fatal. Always be cautious of this side effect, especially if you already have a weak liver or are at high risk of developing liver problems. People who are at high risk of developing liver problems are patients with mental retardation, those who have organic brain diseases or metabolic diseases, as well as individuals who take multiple seizure medicines.
Severe Pancreatitis has also been reported to be a side effect of taking Depakote. Always be on the lookout for symptoms of Pancreatitis when on Depakote medication. These include abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.
Other side effects of taking Depakote include:
- Allergic reactions;
- Depression and psychiatric changes;
- Double vision or eye disturbances;
- Hair loss;
- Lethargy and fatigue;
- Menstrual changes and irregularities;
- Unusual bleeding and bruising;
- Weight gain;
Always inform your doctor if you experience anything out of the ordinary while on Depakote medication.
There are certain drugs that may not be advised for intake together with Depakote. These include:
- Antidepressants, alcohol, anti-anxiety drugs, antihistamines, pain relievers, muscle relaxants and others;
- Blood thinners (coumadin and aspirin);
Other drugs may also interact with Depakote. Always inform your doctor of the drugs you are taking before taking Depakote. Your doctor may advise you to lower your dosage or ask you to stop taking Depakote entirely.