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Depakote (sodium divalproex)

What are the Uses?

Sodium Divalproex, or Depakote, is a medication used to treat: Epilepsy, Bipolar Disorder and Migraine headaches

This medication works by increasing the nerve impulse transmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA, a chemical in the brain), thereby suppressing the spread of abnormal electrical discharges, relieving the symptoms of such disorders as epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and migraine headaches.

When Will My Medication Start to Work?

If taken to treat epilepsy, Depakote (sodium divalproex) should be taken for a week or two to see if it will decrease the severity or frequency of seizures.

Any Other Important Information?

If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the potential risks of this or any medication with your doctor.

Do not stop taking this drug abruptly, this could cause psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms.

What are the Side Effects?

Remember that only some people will experience side effects and that no one experiences side effects in exactly the same way. If you experience any side effects, contact your doctor or clinician right away and continue taking your medication. The following list may not contain all of the side effects associated with this medication.

Most common side effects: Drowsiness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue/weakness, tremor (at high doses), headache, asthenia

Infrequent side effects: Indigestion, stomach cramps, slurred speech, insomnia, nervousness, respiratory infection, blurred vision, flu syndrome

Rare side effects: Risks liver irritation, pancreas problems, weight gain, tinnitus, hallucinations/psychosis.

Are there any Drug Interactions? Remember, always follow your physician's recommendations on how to take your medication. Even if you are taking one of the following substances, continue taking your medication as prescribed and consult your physician. Also, if you are taking any herbal remedies, vitamins, and/or over-the-counter medications, be sure to tell your physician. The following section offers some, but not necessarily all, of the possible drug interactions.

Do NOT take MAO Inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants; both medications can cause drug toxicity. Nimotop(nimodipine), phenobarbital, Ery-Tab(erythromycin), INH(isoniazid), aspirin and Dilantin(phenytoin), when taken with Depakote, can cause drug toxicity. Coumadin and other anticoagulants may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with Depakote. Antacids will decrease in absorption and lose their therapeutic effects. Persantine(dipyridamole), Anturane(sulfinpyrazone), and aspirin may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with Depakote. Klonopin(clonazepam) may result increase episodes of seizures. Sandimmune(cyclosporine) may increase the risk of liver toxicity when taken with Depakote. Rifadin (rifampin), Tegretol/Carbatrol (carbamazepine), and Lamictal (lamotrigine) may reduce Depakote's effect. The toxicity of Valium (diazepam), Tegretol/Carbatrol (carbamazepine), Zarontin (ethosuximide), Lamictal (lamotrigine), and Retrovir/AZT (zidovudine) are increased.

Alcohol can increase the sedative effect of Depakote and can also increase the depressant effects of alcohol on the brain. Also, carbonated beverages should not be taken with with medication due to the possible irritation of the mouth and throat.