Depakote (Divalproex sodium) Side Effects, Overall Information, Before Taking & How to Use

Depakote is used to treat a variety of mental and physical health issues. The drug has been found to be of help to treat seizure disorders, also known as epilepsy. Seizures are sudden and uncontrolled electrical disturbances in the brain. It can cause changes in behavior and levels of consciousness of an individual. Repeated seizures are a symptom of the disease, epilepsy.

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Depakote is also widely used to treat the psychiatric condition that is the manic phase of bipolar disorder. The manic phase of a patient with bipolar disorder consists of the patient being hyperactive, talking too much and too quick, sleeping less, and feeling powerful and invincible. Depakote may also be used to treat and prevent migraine headaches that cause discomfort in the individual.

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What are the common side effects of Depakote?

Although severe side effects of this medicine are rare, there have been instances of such effects on a few users. The major side effects of Depakote are mentioned below and will require immediate medical attention.

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Major side effects

  • Worsening seizures
  • Severe drowsiness and dizziness
  • Signs of inflammation like swelling of the hands and knees, swollen glands
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe tingling or numbness on the skin
  • Muscle weakness and pain
  • Easy bruising along with unusual bleeding such as from the nose, mouth, ears, gums, red or purple bumps under the skin
  • Confusion and tiredness
  • Feeling cold suddenly
  • Vomiting

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There are minor side effects of this drug too, but these are temporary and tend to go away once treatment is completed. It is possible you might not even experience any side effects at all.

Minor side effects

  • A headache
  • Mild dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach such as diarrhea
  • Poor coordination and trouble walking and talking
  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Increased appetite and rapid weight gain

These side effects are mild and are fairly common among users. They are not dangerous and do not require you to consult a doctor. However, if you notice these signs aggravating, see a doctor at once.

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How to use Depakote?

Depakote is a medicinal drug and should only be taken with a doctor’s recommendation. It must be taken orally with a full glass of water. It is recommended to take this medicine without food, but if you suffer from an upset stomach, you may take it with food or a glass of milk. You may also choose to follow your doctor’s directions. The dosage may vary according to the patient’s medical health, weight, and age. It is important to swallow the tablet whole and not chew, break or bite it as this may increase the side effects.

Do not alter dosages or overdose as it may lead to serious, potentially fatal, side effects. Take Depakote regularly as per your doctor’s recommendation for the best of results.

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Precautions

  • Do not use Depakote if you are allergic to it or to Divalproex sodium
  • Do not use it if you suffer from liver diseases, urea cycle disorder, a mitochondrial genetic disorder such as Alper’s disease.
  • May make you dizzy; do not engage in activities that require complete attention such as driving and operating machinery until fully alert.
  • Get up from a lying or a sitting position slowly to avoid falling over due to being dizzy.

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  • Limit the use of alcohol when using the drug as it may increase the risk of side effects.
  • May cause suicidal thoughts and behavior
  • Pregnant women should only use this medicine with a doctor’s recommendation. It is important to treat epilepsy during pregnancy as it can be harmful to both the mother and the child. This medicine may cause harmful effects on the growing baby later in its life.
  • Do not use Depakote to treat migraines if you are pregnant.