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Divalproex (By mouth)

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

Treats seizures. Also treats bipolar disorder and helps prevent migraine headaches.

Brand Name(s):

Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakote Sprinkles

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to divalproex, valproate sodium, or valproic acid. Do not use it to prevent migraine headaches if you are pregnant, or if you have liver disease, or certain genetic disorders (including urea cycle disorder or mitochondrial disorder).

How to Use This Medicine:

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

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • You may take this medicine with food to decrease stomach upset.
  • Capsule, tablet, or extended-release tablet: Swallow the medicine whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.
  • Sprinkle capsule: You may open the capsule and pour the medicine onto a teaspoonful of soft food (including pudding or applesauce). Stir this mixture well and swallow it without chewing.
  • Part of the medicine may pass into your stool after your body has absorbed the medicine. Check with your doctor right away if this happens.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose. If you miss 2 or more doses, call your doctor.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Some medicines can affect how divalproex sodium works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Amitriptyline, aspirin, chlorpromazine, clonazepam, diazepam, lorazepam, nortriptyline, propofol, rifampin, ritonavir, rufinamide, tolbutamide, zidovudine
    • Birth control pill
    • Blood thinner (including warfarin)
    • Carbapenem antibiotic (including ertapenem, imipenem, meropenem)
    • Other seizure medicines (including carbamazepine, ethosuximide, felbamate, lamotrigine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, topiramate)
  • Alcohol, narcotic pain relievers, or sleeping pills may cause you to feel more lightheaded, dizzy, or faint when used together with this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, blood disease, pancreas problems, a viral infection (including HIV or cytomegalovirus infection), or a history of depression or mental health problems.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Liver problems
    • Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas)
    • Hyperammonemic encephalopathy (too much ammonia in your blood)
    • Depression or thoughts of suicide
    • Bleeding problems (including thrombocytopenia)
    • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
    • Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), which may damage the organs, including the liver, kidney, or heart
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you plan to have children. Some men who use this medicine have become infertile (unable to have children).
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

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
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash
  • Confusion, problems with memory, unusual drowsiness, clumsiness
  • Dark urine or pale stools, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fever, rash, swollen glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • Sudden and severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself, depression, unusual changes in behavior or moods
  • Tiny red dots on the skin, especially on the lower legs
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness

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

  • Diarrhea, stomach upset
  • Hair loss
  • Tiredness, sleepiness
  • Trouble sleeping, tremor
  • Vision changes, dizziness, headache

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


Last Updated: 3/19/2020

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