Drug Class: What is Depakote and why is Depakote prescribed?
Drug Mechanism: How does it work?
Dosage: How should you take this medication?
Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication
Special information on Depakote
Depakote side effects
|Drug Class: What is Depakote and why is Depakote prescribed?|
| Depakote ER, in both delayed-release tablet and capsule form, is used to treat certain types of seizures and convulsions. It may be prescribed alone or with other epilepsy medications.
The delayed-release tablets are also used to control the manic episodes--periods of abnormally high spirits and energy--that occur in bipolar disorder (manic depression).
An extended-release form of this drug, Depakote ER, is prescribed to prevent migraine headaches. The delayed-release tablets are also used for this purpose.
|Drug Mechanism: How does it work?|
|Valproic acid and its derivative, divalproex, are oral drugs that are used for the treatment of convulsions, migraines and bipolar disorder. The active ingredient in both products is valproic acid or valproate. Scientists do not know the mechanism of action of valproate. The most popular theory is that valproate exerts its effects by increasing the concentration of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Gamma-aminobutyric acid is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that nerves use to communicate with one another.|
|Dosage: How should you take this medication?|
| Take the Depakote tablet with water and swallow it whole (don t chew it or crush it). It has a special coating to avoid upsetting your stomach.
If you are taking the sprinkle capsule, you can swallow it whole or open it and sprinkle the contents on a teaspoon of soft food such as applesauce or pudding. Swallow it immediately, without chewing. The sprinkle capsules are large enough to be opened easily.
Depakote can be taken with meals or snacks to avoid stomach upset. Take it exactly as prescribed.
If you miss a Depakote dose:
|Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication|
| Depakote depresses activity of the central nervous system, and may increase the effects of alcohol. Do not drink alcohol while taking Depakote.
If Depakote is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Depakote with the following:
|Special information on Depakote|
| Depakote may produce birth defects if it is taken during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Depakote appears in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If Depakote is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment with this medication is finished.
Depakote can severely damage the liver (see Most important fact about this drug). Your doctor will test your liver function before you begin taking Depakote
|Depakote side effects|
| Side effects of Depakote cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Because Depakote is often used with other antiseizure drugs, it may not be possible to determine whether a side effect is due to Depakote alone. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Depakote.
More common Side effects of Depakote may include:
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