Depakote or divalproex sodium is used for treatment of various types of seizures. It contains valporate and valporic acid. It is a white powder and can be identified by its distinct odor. It is used to treat maniac attacks, epilepsy and migraine attacks.

Depakote and Depakote ER come in tablet form. They are taken orally and are swallowed. They should not be crushed or chewed. They must be swallowed whole. Depakote also comes in sprinkle capsules. These capsules are opened and powder within it is sprinkled on the food before taking it.

Side effects of Depakote or divalproex sodium

Depakote can lead to various side effects in different patients. It is said to have bad effect on liver with prolonged use in some patients. Some patients may have these side effects while using Depakote and some can suffer side effects after a long time of stopping the medicine.

Children are at more risk, especially under 2 years of age. It can damage their liver. If taken with other seizure medicines, the risk of liver damage can become multifold. It is advisable to consult a doctor before giving Depakote to a child. Normally this medicine is used for adults or children above 10 years.

Pregnant women are advised to not use this medicine. Divalproex sodium is harmful for fetus or infants. It can cause fatal damages to them. It can even result in death of the unborn baby. If a woman is planning to have a baby, then also it is advisable to consult a doctor before going on this medicine. While using this drug, if a woman gets pregnant, then she should immediately consult a doctor. There also have been reports of children developing autism, if this drug is taken by mother while pregnant.

Breast-feeding mothers should also avoid Depakote, as it is harmful for infants. It can cause serious damages to their liver. It gets mixed in blood stream and mother’s milk. So it can easily pass to breast-feeding child through mother’ milk. It can cause fatal effects on their liver and can result in deaths in infants.

Some patients including children have suffered from pancreatitis, which is a life threatening disease, with use of valporate. In this disease pancreas gets inflamed. Starting symptoms of these disease are nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or loss of appetite. If you experience any of these symptoms while using Depakote, immediately call a doctor.

Patient allergic to valporate should avoid taking this medicine. It can have serious implications, if taken.

Patients having liver disease should also avoid Depakote. It can aggravate your problem as it adversely affects the liver. Patients having urea cycle disorder should also avoid it as it can lead to building up of too much ammonia in the body, causing harm to them.

Some patients suffer low platelet counts or high level of ammonia in body or a sharp decline in body temperature after using this drug.

Some old patients can suffer too much tiredness or drowsiness by use of this drug. Some can develop allergic rashes or lumps along with fever, mild drowsiness or weakness; diarrhea, constipation, upset stomach; enlarged breasts, hair loss, change in weight and vision, bad taste in mouth, depression, anxiety, or other emotional changes; menstrual changes, etc.

Call immediately a doctor if following symptoms persist while taking Depakote.

  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or loss of appetite
  • Low fever, dark urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Jaundice or other liver problems
  • Unusual weakness or drowsiness
  • Unusual bleeding or bloody urine
  • Skin rashes or blistering and peeling of skin
  • Vision problems
  • Hallucinations

Any of the above symptoms while using Depakote should not be ignored. It’s advisable to seek medical help immediately.