Depakote, also known as Divalproex Sodium, is an anti-convulsion prescription for treating chronic medical conditions, including bipolar disorder mania attacks, partial-seizure disorder in epileptic patients and chronic migraine headaches. Understanding side effects and risks of Depakote ER is important so you will recognize likely dangerous developments in your health and report to your doctor as soon as possible. The Abbot Labs pharmaceutical website offers a $75 coupon you can take to your pharmacist to help pay for this prescription.
Possible Side Effects
All drugs may have side effects, with some stopping after a few days or weeks, while other side effects stay as long as you take the drug. If they occur, it is important to discuss with your doctor if the side effects outweigh any of the drug benefits.
Abbott Labs’ webpage information about Depakote says some of the most common side effects in clinical studies include weight gain, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, back pain, increased appetite, loss of appetite, tremor, bruising, insomnia, dizziness, swelling of arms, legs or feet, weakness, abdominal pain, stomach upset, rash, diarrhea, headache, abnormal thinking, amnesia, and others.
Serious side effects can include fever with rash, prolonged vomiting, and anything you did not experience before taking Depakote that gives you the feeling that ‘things just are not right.’ You know your body best and should never be shy about questioning your doctor or pharmacist. It costs little to make a phone call and it might save your life.
Tell Your Doctor About
Every medicine can interact with other medicines, and Depakote does too. Commonly used over the counter medicines like for cold or allergy, pain relievers, sleeping pills, and others can add to sleepiness caused by divalproex sodium. Tell your doctor if you regularly use any of these or other over-the-counter items including vitamins, herbals and supplements.
Prescription drugs you take cannot be ignored either. Before starting Depakote, give your doctor a list of all the prescriptions you take daily or even rarely. Include all the drugs other doctors have prescribed to you. Do not start any new medication without talking with all your doctors and pharmacist for possible problems with combining that new drug into the mix.
Avoid While Taking Depakote
When you start taking Depakote it can impair you thinking and judgment, so do not drive or do anything else that needs you to be alert until this temporary side effect passes. It also makes your skin more sun sensitive, so avoid direct sun by wearing sunscreen of at least SPF 15 and protective clothing, like hats, when outside.
Alcohol is important to avoid while under Depakote treatment, because it can make some side effects worse to the point of death.
Using Depakote during pregnancy has shown to increase infant defects like autism, developmental delay, and autism spectrum disorders. However if it is being used for epilepsy with major seizures, Depakote should not be stopped suddenly. That decision should be made only with a benefits and risks discussion between you and your doctor.
A patient who have had unexplained mental retardation, encephalitis, reoccurring vomiting and lethargy, a family history of Urea Cycle Disorders (UCD), or a family history of unexplained infant deaths (especially male babies) should be tested for UCD. If it is diagnosed, Depakote should not be used.
Life-threatening pancreatitis may be caused by Depakote use. If symptoms of vomiting, nausea, anorexia or abdominal pain in either adults or children occurs, a doctor’s evaluation is needed.
If chemically-caused liver damage occurs, also called Hepatoxicity, it is most likely to happen during the first six months of Depakote use or if consuming alcohol. Watch for non-specific symptoms like swelling of the feet or face, vomiting, malaise, weakness or lethargy. In some cases the liver cannot recover even after the drug is discontinued. Monitoring of liver functions at intervals determined by you and your doctor can help prevent or stop this problem with either lowering dose or stopping treatment.
Abbott Labs, Depakote and Coupon at: http://www.depakoteer.com/
Drugs Information at: http://www.drugs.com/pro/depakote.html
National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation at: http://www.nucdf.org/ucd.htm
Depakote Information on RxList at: http://www.rxlist.com/depakote-drug-patient.htm#drugs
No More Seizures at: http://www.nomoreseizures.org
This article is for informational purposes only. If you need specific advice on this or any other issue please seek individual counsel from a professional who is licensed in that medical specialty area.