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Divalproex sodium is the active drug of Depakote; it is an anticonvulsant drug that suppresses excessive rapid firing of the neuron during a seizure and prevents seizure from spreading in the brain. It is a combination of valproate (responsible for reducing epileptic seizures by reducing excessive electrical activity) and valproic acid (responsible for increasing GBPA Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid).
Depakote is used to treat seizure disorder and particular psychiatric disorders like the mania phase of bipolar disorder. It can also be used to prevent migraines, but additional medication is prescribed if it is an acute migraine. This is a mood stabilizer; it works by increasing the GBPA in the brain. GBPA blocks the reuptake and attaches to protein to produce calming effects to calm and relax nerves.
This is an oral prescription medicine based on the patient’s condition, other medication taken, age, weight, and dose adjustment based on response.
It is available in three forms that are not interchangeable:
– Delayed-release tablets with a strength of 125mg, 250mg, and 500mg, to be taken twice daily.
-Extended-release tablets with a strength of 250mg and 500 mg, to be taken once a day. It slowly delivers the medicine over 24 hours.
-Sprinkle capsule in 125mg strength, used in epileptic patients only. It is the same as the delayed-release tablet, but in capsule form for patients with difficulty swallowing whole; this can be opened and sprinkled in soft foods.
Oral tablets should be swallowed, not chewed or crushed to avoid mouth and throat irritation. It is recommended to administer it at the same time of the day daily to attain a consistent dose for the treatment.
Side Effects of Depakote
Depakote Weight Gain
Increased appetite is one of the side effects that leads to gaining weight along with other factors. Patients with migraine have a decrease in serotonin, which leads to cravings and overeating, plus the use of Depakote, thus gaining additional weight. Lack of sleep-in manic episodes does not burn lots of energy. A healthy diet and routine exercise may help minimize the effect of weight gain.
Other common side effects of Depakote are:
- Hair loss
- Blurred Vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Change in the menstrual cycle
- Weight changes
- Increased appetite
The side effects listed here are not the complete list but tell your doctor promptly once any of the above persist. Severe side effects may also occur; if any of the lists below are experienced, ask for medical help:
- Chest pain
- Easily bruised
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Uncontrolled eye movement
- Loss of consciousness
- Rapid breathing
- Allergic reaction
Depakote and Alcohol – while on Depakote medication, alcohol should be limited if it cannot be entirely avoided. It increases nervous system side effects such as dizziness, difficulty in concentration, and drowsiness.
Depakote tapping or withdrawal should be made gradually; abruptly stopping may result in a seizure that won’t stop and withdrawal symptoms such as seizure in non-epileptic, depression, Insomnia, Headache, muscle weakness, loss of coordination, twitching, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, impaired memory, light sensitivity, racing of heartbeat, and anorexia.
Withdrawal must be made when the patient’s condition is stable, such as sleeping and eating. Regular exercise should be done as withdrawing to have positive mental health. Avoid drinks with caffeine due to its stimulant properties, alcohol, for it can disrupt the withdrawal and keep a balanced sugar level so sugar won’t spite and crash. Recommend quiet and calm activities to the patient and make sure that the patient is committed to the withdrawal procedure. A doctor may include an agreement paper, so the patient will be reminded to cooperate to finish the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
-How long will it take to withdraw from this medication?
-Tapping length varies on patients; some take it in months while others take years.
-How long before Depakote work?
-It takes just a few hours to absorb this medication fully, but it may take a few weeks before noticing improvements in symptoms.
-Is Depakote safe for pregnant?
-The use of this medication is not recommended for pregnant women because it may harm the unborn child; it is also not safe for lactating mothers; it can be passed through milk.
-Can this medication affect sexual functions?
-Erectile dysfunction and decreased libido may be experienced for this medication to interfere with the endocrine system.
Divalproex, Divalproex Sodium DR
Depakote, Depakote DR, Divalproex, Divalproex Sodium DR, Epival
125mg, 250mg, 500mg
Delayed Release Tablet, Delayed Release Tablet (Enteric Coated)
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