According to WebMd, Depakote is an oral medication that is used to treat some psychiatric conditions, such as the manic phase of bipolar; seizure disorders; and even as a migraine preventative. It restores balance to the neurotransmitters in the brain.
You should take this medication as directed by your physician. If stomach upset occurs, you can take it with food. Do not chew or crush the tablet, as it can cause mouth/throat irritation. The dosage is based on various factors including weight, age, specific medical condition, and your response to the therapy. Always take it regularly and at the same time each day to keep the medication levels constant. Do not cease taking Depakote without speaking with your physician. Talk to your physician if your condition does not improve.
It is possible that Depakote could interact with specific medications or herbal supplements. Make sure that you inform your physician of any other medications or supplements you are taking before taking this medication. Once you are taking Depakote, you should not start any new medication before speaking with your physician about it. Experiencing severe side effects? See if you can join a Depakote lawsuit.
You should not drive or operate any heavy machinery or participate in activities that require you to be alert and have clear vision, until you know you will be able to safely do so.
What are the side effects of Depakote?
Women who are pregnant should not take Depakote because it could do harm to the unborn baby. However, there have been no reports of babies being harmed during breastfeeding- still, you should speak with your physician before taking this medication.
As with any other medication, Depakote does bring with it certain side effects. Some of the most common side effects you may see with Depakote are:
- Hair loss
- Double/blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Change in menstrual periods
- Weight gain/loss
In some cases, you may notice partial tablets in your stool, especially if you have specific conditions of the intestine such as colostomy or ileostomy. You should notify your physician if this is the case.
Your physician has prescribed Depakote because he/she feels like the benefits outweigh the potential side effects. You should know that most individuals who use Depakote do not experience any serious side effects. However, you should notify your physician immediately if any serious side effects or signs of infection occur. Signs of infection include: persistent sore throat or fever.
Some of the more serious, but highly unlikely side effects include the following:
- Chest pain
- Unexplained bleeding
- Easy bruising
- Irregular heartbeat (including too fast or too slow)
- Swelling of feet/hands
- Uncontrollable eye movements (called nystagmus)
- Loss of consciousness
In some cases, individuals who are taking anticonvulsants for any reason may possibly experience suicidal thought/attempts, depression, or other mood/mental problems. Contact your physician immediately if you or your caregiver notices any of the following:
- Mood/behavior/thought changes
- Signs/symptoms of depression
- Suicidal thoughts/attempts
- Thoughts about hurting yourself
If you experience any of the following very serious, but unlikely side effects, you should contact your physician immediately:
- Dark urine
- Yellowing of the eyes/skin
- Severe pain in the stomach/abdomen
In some very rare cases, a severe- and sometimes fatal- brain disorder has occurred, known as encephalopathy. As mentioned, this is very rare and occurs in those individuals who have specific metabolic, or urea cycle, disorders. Notify your physician if you experience any unexplained weakness, sudden changes in your mood or mental state- such as confusion, or unexplained vomiting.
Allergic reaction is unlikely, but can possibly occur and requires immediate medical attention. Some of the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe dizziness
You should be aware that this is not an exhaustive list of the side effects of Depakote. If you notice any other side effects that are not listed here, you should immediately notify your physician or pharmacist for more information.