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Divalproex Sodium Oral capsule, gastro-resistant sprinkles

It is used to treat certain types of seizures in patients with epilepsy.

Generic Name: divalproex sodium

Brand Names: Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakote Sprinkles

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

Special Alerts:

[Posted 06/30/2011] ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals that children born to mothers who take the anti-seizure medication valproate sodium (Depacon) or related products [valproic acid (Depakene and Stavzor) and divalproex sodium (Depakote, Depakote CP, and Depakote ER)] during pregnancy have an increased risk of lower cognitive test scores than children exposed to other anti-seizure medications during pregnancy. This conclusion is based on the results of epidemiologic studies that show that children born to mothers who took valproate sodium or related products throughout their pregnancy tend to score lower on cognitive tests (IQ and other tests) than children born to mothers who took other anti-seizure medications during pregnancy. See the Drug Safety Communication for a data summary and additional information.

BACKGROUND: Valproate products are FDA-approved drugs to treat seizures, and manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder), and to prevent migraine headaches. They are also used off-label (for unapproved uses) for other conditions, particularly for other psychiatric conditions.

RECOMMENDATION: Healthcare professionals should inform women of childbearing age of the increased risk for adverse effects on cognitive development with prenatal valproate exposure, and should continue to counsel women of childbearing potential taking valproate about the increased risk of major malformations, including neural tube defects, when valproate is used during pregnancy. In addition, healthcare professionals should weigh the benefits and risks of valproate when prescribing this drug to women of childbearing age, particularly when treating a condition not usually associated with permanent injury or death. Alternative medications that have a lower risk of adverse birth outcomes should be considered. Patients should not stop taking valproate without talking to a healthcare professional. For more information visit the FDA website at: [Web] and [Web].

What is this medicine?

DIVALPROEX SODIUM (dye VAL pro ex SO dee um) is used to treat certain types of seizures in patients with epilepsy.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • blood disease
  • brain damage or disease
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • low blood proteins
  • suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempt; a previous suicide attempt by you or a family member
  • urea cycle disorder (UCD)
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to divalproex sodium, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth. It can be swallowed whole or the capsules may be opened carefully and the contents sprinkled on about one teaspoonful of applesauce or pudding. This mixture must be swallowed immediately. Do not chew or store for later use. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking this medicine unless instructed by your doctor or health care professional. Stopping your medicine suddenly can increase your seizures or their severity.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • aspirin
  • barbiturates, like phenobarbital
  • diazepam
  • isoniazid
  • medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
  • medicines that treat or prevent blood clots like warfarin
  • meropenem
  • other seizure medicines
  • rifampin
  • tolbutamide
  • zidovudine

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Wear a Medic Alert bracelet or necklace. Carry an identification card with information about your condition, medications, and doctor or health care professional.

You may get drowsy, dizzy, or have blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. To reduce dizzy or fainting spells, do not sit or stand up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. Alcohol can increase drowsiness and dizziness. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

This medicine can cause blood problems. This can mean slow healing and a risk of infection. Problems can arise if you need dental work, and in the day to day care of your teeth. Try to avoid damage to your teeth and gums when you brush or floss your teeth.

This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.

The use of this medicine may increase the chance of suicidal thoughts or actions. Pay special attention to how you are responding while on this medicine. Any worsening of mood, or thoughts of suicide or dying should be reported to your health care professional right away.

Women who become pregnant while using this medicine may enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry by calling 1-888-233-2334. This registry collects information about the safety of antiepileptic drug use during pregnancy.

Contact your doctor or healthcare professional if you notice any part of your medicine in your stool. Your healthcare provider may want to check the amount of medicine in your blood if this happens.


Last Updated: April 22, 2013
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