Depakote is the generic brand for Divalproex which is also known as valproic acid. Depakote belongs to the class of medication known as the anti-seizures. Depakote is an anti-seizure drug used for treating epilepsy, bipolar disorder and migraine headaches. Depakote acts by increasing the levels of a chemical neurotransmitter present in the brain (GABA). Speeding up GABA helps in inhibiting brain signals that lead to seizures. Depakote also lessens the natural balance of chemicals in the brain thereby lessening the mood swings common with manic depression.
Depakote Dosage forms and doses
Depakote tablets come in 125mg, 250mg and 500mg doses of pink, peach and lavender flavors. Depakote delayed-release tablets come in a 125mg dose of brown flavor. Administer Depakote tablets as prescribed directly by your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the dosage prescribed by your doctor. Do not withdraw Depakote medication without talking to your doctor first; stopping a medication like Depakote abruptly can result in a serious problem.
In patients suffering from epilepsy, withdrawing suddenly results in seizures that will not stop. Individual doses are based on their condition. Doses are changed occasionally by the doctor to make sure the desired result is achieved. Depakote tablets or Depakote ER tablets should not be crushed or chewed but should be swallowed whole. Depakote is also available in sprinkle capsule; the capsule can be open and the contents sprinkled on a small amount of small food like apple sauce and be taken immediately.
Side Effects of Depakote
Some common side effects of Depakote are dizziness, diarrhea, double vision, hair loss, tinnitus, shakiness, weight gain, irregular or painful menstrual periods. Any serious side effects of Depakote should be reported immediately to the doctor; chest pain, swelling of hands or feet, involuntary eye movement, feeling cold, loss of consciousness and sudden bleeding.
Depakote and Alcohol
Alcohol should be avoided or limited while taking Depakote medication. Drinking alcohol can increase side effects of Depakote like drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired judgment.
Patients on certain anticonvulsants, barbiturates and hydrantoins should not take Depakote; effect of barbiturates can increase to toxic level thereby decreasing the potency of Depakote causing the medicine to be ineffective.
Inform your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, over the counter, herbal remedies, nutritional supplements and all other treatments you are taking.
Children younger than 2 years of age should not take Depakote; it can cause serious liver damage that can be very fatal. Patients who develop abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and a stomach tender to touch should call 911 immediately. Patients with a history of liver disease, urea cycle disorder, genetic disorders such as a progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system that happens mostly in infants and children (Alper’s disease) should not take Depakote. One of the risks of Depakote is an increase in the chances of liver damage, patients should look out for these liver damage symptoms; nausea, pain in the right side of the stomach, dark urine, swelling of your face.
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