Depakote is used for controlling certain types of seizures in the treatment of epilepsy. It is also used to treat the manic phase of bipolar disorders (manic-depressive illness), and to prevent migraine headaches.
How to use
Use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor.
- Depakote is taken by mouth both with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
- Swallow Depakote as a whole. Do not break, crush, or chew before swallowing.
- Taking Depakote at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
- Continue to use Depakote even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses. Depakote works best when there is a constant level of it in your body.
Drug Class and Mechanism
By its drug class Depakote is an anticonvulsant. It works by reducing or preventing the number of seizures by controlling the abnormal activity of nerve impulses in the brain and central nervous system.
Should you miss a dose of Depakote, take it as soon as possible. In case it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Avoid taking 2 doses at once.
Depakote is stored at room temperature, below 86 degrees F (30 degrees C). Keep away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Depakote out of the reach of children and away from pets.
Do not use Depakote:
- if you are allergic to any ingredient in Depakote;
- if you have a history of liver conditions, low levels of the enzyme ornithine carbamoyltransferase, or a urea cycle disorder.
See your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
- Avoid driving or performing other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Do not stop taking Depakote suddenly. This may cause seizures.
- Inflammation of the pancreas is a potentially life-threatening illness associated with Depakote. Symptoms include stomach pain, vomiting, or appetite loss. Contact your doctor at once if any of these symptoms occur.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Depakote before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Diabetes patients - Depakote may cause the results of some tests for urine ketones to be wrong. Ask your doctor before you change your diet or the dose of your diabetes medicine.
- Lab tests, including blood cell counts and liver function tests, may be performed while you use Depakote. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use Depakote with caution in the elderly; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially sleepiness.
- Depakote should be used with extreme caution in children younger than 10 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed. Children younger than 2 years of age may be at increased risk of serious liver problems
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Depakote has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Depakote while you are pregnant. Depakote is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while you are taking Depakote.
Possible Side Effects
Check with your doctor if any of these most common side effects persist or become bothersome:
- change in appetite; constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; hair loss; headache; indigestion; nausea; stomach pain; trouble sleeping; vomiting; weight changes.
Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:
- severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); abdominal cramps; abnormal thinking; change in menstrual period; changes in mood or behavior; chest pain; confusion; dark urine; difficulty speaking; difficulty urinating or other urination problems; extreme tiredness; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever; general body discomfort; hallucinations; hearing loss; involuntary movements of the arms and legs; involuntary movements or chewing movements of face, jaw, mouth, or tongue; joint pain; lack of energy; loss of appetite; loss of coordination; loss of seizure control; memory loss; nosebleed; pounding in the chest; severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain; sore throat; swelling of the arms or legs; tremor; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual weakness; vision changes; yellowing of skin or eyes.
This medicine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.