Divalproex (By mouth)

Introduction

Divalproex Sodium (dye-VAL-proe-ex SOE-dee-um)

Treats seizures (epilepsy). Also used to treat the manic phase of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) and to prevent migraine headaches. Belongs to a class of drugs called anticonvulsants.

Brand Name(s)

Depakote, Depakote Sprinkles, Depakote ER

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You or your child should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to valproic acid or divalproex, or if you have a severe liver disease, a urea cycle disorder (a disease that causes too much ammonia in the blood), or are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine

Delayed Release Capsule, Delayed Release Tablet, Coated Tablet, Long Acting Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • May be taken with food to decrease stomach upset.
  • Swallow the capsule or tablet whole. Do not crush, break or chew it.
  • You may open the sprinkle capsule and mix the medicine beads with a small amount (about a spoonful) of soft food such as applesauce or pudding. Swallow the mixture whole. Do not chew.
  • If you or your child are taking this medicine in the form of sprinkle capsules, you may see small amounts of the coating in your stool. This is normal.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • If you miss two or more doses, call your doctor.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you or your child are taking a blood thinner (such as aspirin, warfarin, or Coumadin®), or other medicines that could make you sleepy, such as sleeping pills (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, Ativan®, or Xanax®), pain medicines (such as Lorcet®, Percocet®, Tylenol® with Codeine, Vicodin®, or Vicoprofen®), or cold medicines. Tell your doctor if you or your child are using any other medicine for seizures.
  • Tell your doctor if you or your child are taking meropenem (Merrem®), rifampin (Rifadin®, Rimactane®), amitriptyline (Elavil®, Vanatrip®), topiramate (Topamax®), or zidovudine (Retrovir®).
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant (especially during first trimester) can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • It is very important to take folic acid before getting pregnant and during early pregnancy to lower chances of harmful side effects to your unborn baby. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for help if you are not sure how to choose a folic acid product.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you or your child have liver disease, pancreas problems, or blood disorders. Tell your doctor if you have a family history of urea cycle disorders or unexplained infant deaths.
  • Because of the risk of increased seizures, do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Changes in vision.
  • Chest pain.
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools.
  • Fast, pounding heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, or fainting.
  • Sudden and severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
  • Swelling on your face, hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Tremors or loss of seizure control.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Back pain.
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or upset stomach.
  • Hair loss.
  • Headache.
  • Increase in appetite.
  • Mood changes, unusual thoughts, or memory loss.
  • Nervousness or depression.
  • Rash or hives with itching.
  • Restlessness or irritability.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Weight gain or weight loss.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

         
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