HEPATIC FAILURE RESULTING IN FATALITIES HAS OCCURRED IN PATIENTS RECEIVING VALPROIC ACID AND ITS DERIVATIVES. EXPERIENCE HAS INDICATED THAT CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF TWO YEARS ARE AT A CONSIDERABLY INCREASED RISK OF DEVELOPING FATAL HEPATOTOXICITY, ESPECIALLY THOSE ON MULTIPLE ANTICONVULSANTS, THOSE WITH CONGENITAL METABOLIC DISORDERS, THOSE WITH SEVERE SEIZURE DISORDERS ACCOMPANIED BY MENTAL RETARDATION, AND THOSE WITH ORGANIC BRAIN DISEASE. WHEN DEPAKOTE IS USED IN THIS PATIENT GROUP, IT SHOULD BE USED WITH EXTREME CAUTION AND AS A SOLE AGENT. THE BENEFITS OF THERAPY SHOULD BE WEIGHED AGAINST THE RISKS. ABOVE THIS AGE GROUP, EXPERIENCE IN EPILEPSY HAS INDICATED THAT THE INCIDENCE OF FATAL HEPATOTOXICITY DECREASES CONSIDERABLY IN PROGRESSIVELY OLDER PATIENT GROUPS.
THESE INCIDENTS USUALLY HAVE OCCURRED DURING THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF TREATMENT. SERIOUS OR FATAL HEPATOTOXICITY MAY BE PRECEDED BY NON-SPECIFIC SYMPTOMS SUCH AS MALAISE, WEAKNESS, LETHARGY, FACIAL EDEMA, ANOREXIA, AND VOMITING. IN PATIENTS WITH EPILEPSY, A LOSS OF SEIZURE CONTROL MAY ALSO OCCUR. PATIENTS SHOULD BE MONITORED CLOSELY FOR APPEARANCE OF THESE SYMPTOMS. LIVER FUNCTION TESTS SHOULD BE PERFORMED PRIOR TO THERAPY AND AT FREQUENT INTERVALS THEREAFTER, ESPECIALLY DURING THE FIRST SIX MONTHS.
VALPROATE CAN PRODUCE TERATOGENIC EFFECTS SUCH AS NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS (E.G., SPINA BIFIDA). ACCORDINGLY, THE USE OF DEPAKOTE TABLETS IN WOMEN OF CHILDBEARING POTENTIAL REQUIRES THAT THE BENEFITS OF ITS USE BE WEIGHED AGAINST THE RISK OF INJURY TO THE FETUS. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT WHEN THE TREATMENT OF A SPONTANEOUSLY REVERSIBLE CONDITION NOT ORDINARILY ASSOCIATED WITH PERMANENT INJURY OR RISK OF DEATH (E.G., MIGRAINE) IS CONTEMPLATED. SEE WARNINGS, INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS.
AN INFORMATION SHEET DESCRIBING THE TERATOGENIC POTENTIAL OF VALPROATE IS AVAILABLE FOR PATIENTS.
CASES OF LIFE-THREATENING PANCREATITIS HAVE BEEN REPORTED IN BOTH CHILDREN AND ADULTS RECEIVING VALPROATE. SOME OF THE CASES HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED AS HEMORRHAGIC WITH A RAPID PROGRESSION FROM INITIAL SYMPTOMS TO DEATH. CASES HAVE BEEN REPORTED SHORTLY AFTER INITIAL USE AS WELL AS AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF USE. PATIENTS AND GUARDIANS SHOULD BE WARNED THAT ABDOMINAL PAIN, NAUSEA, VOMITING, AND/OR ANOREXIA CAN BE SYMPTOMS OF PANCREATITIS THAT REQUIRE PROMPT MEDICAL EVALUATION. IF PANCREATITIS IS DIAGNOSED, VALPROATE SHOULD ORDINARILY BE DISCONTINUED. ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT FOR THE UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITION SHOULD BE INITIATED AS CLINICALLY INDICATED. (See WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS.)
Divalproex sodium is a stable co-ordination compound comprised of sodium valproate and valproic acid in a 1:1 molar relationship and formed during the partial neutralization of valproic acid with 0.5 equivalent of sodium hydroxide.
DEPAKOTE (divalproex sodium) is indicated for the treatment of the manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder. A manic episode is a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood. Typical symptoms of mania include pressure of speech, motor hyperactivity, reduced need for sleep, flight of ideas, grandiosity, poor judgement, aggressiveness, and possible hostility.
The efficacy of DEPAKOTE was established in 3-week trials with patients meeting DSM-III-R criteria for bipolar disorder who were hospitalized for acute mania (See Clinical Trials under CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).
The safety and effectiveness of DEPAKOTE for long-term use in mania, i.e., more than 3 weeks, has not been systematically evaluated in controlled clinical trials. Therefore, physicians who elect to use DEPAKOTE for extended periods should continually reevaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.
DEPAKOTE (divalproex sodium) is indicated as monotherapy and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of patients with complex partial seizures that occur either in isolation or in association with other types of seizures. DEPAKOTE (divalproex sodium) is also indicated for use as sole and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of simple and complex absence seizures, and adjunctively in patients with multiple seizure types that include absence seizures.
Simple absence is defined as very brief clouding of the sensorium or loss of consciousness accompanied by certain generalized epileptic discharges without other detectable clinical signs. Complex absence is the term used when other signs are also present.
DEPAKOTE is indicated for prophylaxis of migraine headaches. There is no evidence that DEPAKOTE is useful in the acute treatment of migraine headaches. Because valproic acid may be a hazard to the fetus, DEPAKOTE should be considered for women of childbearing potential only after this risk has been thoroughly discussed with the patient and weighed against the potential benefits of treatment (see WARNINGS - Usage In Pregnancy, PRECAUTIONS - Information for Patients).
SEE WARNINGS FOR STATEMENT REGARDING FATAL HEPATIC DYSFUNCTION.
Published Studies Related to Depakote (Divalproex)
Effects of divalproex on smoking cue reactivity and cessation outcomes among
smokers achieving initial abstinence. 
Divalproex, a GABA agonist, may be a useful agent in the treatment of tobacco
dependence... These findings suggest that in-treatment cue
reactivity assessment may proactively and dynamically inform ongoing treatment as
well as provide a tool for screening potential medications for smoking cessation.
Chronic divalproex sodium use and brain atrophy in Alzheimer disease. [2011.09.27]
OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the effect of the divalproex sodium formulation of valproic acid on brain volumes using MRI in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease (AD) and assessed for changes associated with behavioral and cognitive effects... CONCLUSIONS: Divalproex treatment was associated with accelerated brain volume loss over 1 year and perhaps with greater cognitive impairment. The long-term clinical effects of these changes are not known.
Chronic divalproex sodium to attenuate agitation and clinical progression of Alzheimer disease. [2011.08]
CONTEXT: Agitation and psychosis are common in Alzheimer disease and cause considerable morbidity. We attempted to delay or to prevent agitation and psychosis with the use of divalproex sodium (valproate). OBJECTIVE: To determine whether treatment with valproate could delay or prevent emergence of agitation or psychosis... CONCLUSION: Valproate treatment did not delay emergence of agitation or psychosis or slow cognitive or functional decline in patients with moderate Alzheimer disease and was associated with significant toxic effects.
Double-blind randomized trial of risperidone versus divalproex in pediatric bipolar disorder: fMRI outcomes. [2011.07.30]
The aim of this research was to determine the relative effects of risperidone and divalproex on brain function in pediatric mania. This is a double-blind 6-week functional magnetic resonance imaging trial with 24 unmedicated manic patients randomized to risperidone or divalproex, and 14 healthy controls (HCs) matched for IQ and demographic factors (mean age: 13.1+/-3.3years)...
Acute efficacy of divalproex sodium versus placebo in mood stabilizer-naive bipolar I or II depression: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. [2011.06]
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that divalproex sodium is efficacious and reasonably well tolerated in the acute treatment of mood stabilizer-naive patients with bipolar depression, particularly for those with rapid-cycling type I presentations, and that confirmatory large-scale studies are indicated. (c) Copyright 2011 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
Clinical Trials Related to Depakote (Divalproex)
Pediatric Switch Study for Children and Adolescent Patients With Epilepsy [Completed]
To assess the tolerability of switching from Depakote Sprinkle Capsules or Depakote tablets
to Depakote ER tablets in the pediatric population.
Valproate in Late Life Schizophrenia [Completed]
The purpose of this research study is to analyze the effectiveness and tolerability of a
medication, valproate ( Depakote and Depakote ER), in individuals age 50 years and older who
A Comparison Study of the Efficacy and Tolerability of Depakote ER and Depakote DR [Completed]
To compare the time to response, response rates, remission rates, and side effects in Bipolar
Disorder inpatients treated with Depakote ER or Depakote DR for acute mania or mixed mania.
Effectiveness of Divalproex Sodium (Depakote) in Treating Disruptive Behavior Disorder and Explosive Tempers in Adolescents and Adults [Recruiting]
An Open Label, Double Blind Study Using Consecutive Intravenous Depacon With Oral Depakote ER for the Treatment of Cluster Headaches. [Completed]
The purpose of this study is to collect and evaluate information on the use of Depakote
Extended Release (ER) and Depacon Intravenous (IV) in patients with cluster headaches.
Patients who are currently in a cluster cycle will be treated with 2 consecutive days of IV
Depacon followed by oral Depakote ER. Patients will receive a total of 1,000mg of Depacon
and 1,000mg of Depakote ER each day. Patients may have a 3rd day of IV Depacon followed by
oral Depakote ER if the primary investigator believes it to be beneficial. The patient is
then sent home on oral Depakote ER. The dose of Depakote ER can range from 500mg to 2,000mg
this dose is to be determined by the primary investigator. The patient will continue the
oral Depakote ER until the end of their cluster cycle or for a maximum of 6 weeks, which ever
Reports of Suspected Depakote (Divalproex) Side Effects
Emotional Distress (119),
Foetal Exposure During Pregnancy (118),
Physical Disability (116),
Loss of Employment (67), more >>
PATIENT REVIEWS / RATINGS / COMMENTS
Based on a total of 2 ratings/reviews, Depakote has an overall score of 7. The effectiveness score is 10 and the side effect score is 6. The scores are on ten point scale: 10 - best, 1 - worst.
Depakote review by 53 year old female patient
|Overall rating:|| || |
|Effectiveness:|| || Highly Effective|
|Side effects:|| || Mild Side Effects|
|Condition / reason:|| || Bi-polar disorder|
|Dosage & duration:|| || 450 mg at night taken every day for the period of 10 years|
|Other conditions:|| || depression|
|Other drugs taken:|| || Prozac, Lithium|
|Benefits:|| || Made the patient feel normal pretty much. |
|Side effects:|| || Depakote made me sleepy at first, so we switched the dose to nighttime instead of day and night. Prozac, I have some ear pain from it. Lithium upsets my stomach if I take too much at one time, so I don't. I take one pill in the morning, and one in the evening. |
|Comments:|| || I see a psychiatrist regularly. He originally prescribed me Prozac many years ago, when I started seeing him after my husband left me abruptly alone with a three-year old son. I felt like I was losing my mind. The prozac helped calm me, but it was really when I began taking the Depakote that I began to feel good about myself, and anchored enough to take care of my son, who is now 19. |
Depakote review by 57 year old female patient
|Overall rating:|| || |
|Effectiveness:|| || Highly Effective|
|Side effects:|| || Severe Side Effects|
|Condition / reason:|| || Seizure disorder|
|Dosage & duration:|| || can't recall (dosage frequency: daily) for the period of 2 years|
|Other conditions:|| || Major Depression, migraine, hypothyroidism|
|Other drugs taken:|| || Synthroid, Remeron, Klonepin|
|Benefits:|| || The med. controlled my seizure disorder.|
|Side effects:|| || The side effects were terrible. I endured daily moderate to severe headaches which I had to treat with high dosage of ibuprofen and a 50 lb. weight gain over two months on a 5'2" frame with no change in my diet. I could not shake the weight until I discontinued taking the med.|
|Comments:|| || Treatment was to take the med. daily. It controlled the seizure disorder but the side effects were too much for me. I talked to the physician after two years and said it's gotta go. He then prescribed Lamictal and I lost 40 lbs. in one month--simply by stopping the Depakote. |
Page last updated: 2013-02-10