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Generic Name: Divalproex (dye-VAL-pro-ex)

Drug Class: Anticonvulsant

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Depakote (Divalproex) is an anticonvulsant used to prevent seizures. It is sometimes used in conjunction with other seizure medications. Depakote is also approved to treat bipolar disorder as well as for prevention of migraine headaches.

The exact mechanism of action is not proven, but it is believed that this drug’s effects are related to an increase in brain levels of a chemical called GABA.

This information is for educational purposes only. Not every known side effect, adverse effect, or drug interaction is in this database. If you have questions about your medicines, talk to your health care provider.

How to Take It

Follow the directions for using this medicine provided by your doctor. This medicine may be taken on an empty stomach or with food. Continue to take this medicine even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.

Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include:

  • drowsiness
  • indigestion
  • weakness
  • skin rash
  • puffing of the cheeks
  • shakiness (tremor)
  • hair loss
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • nausea

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • dysphoria
  • sweating
  • joint pain
  • sore throat
  • black, tarry stools
  • delusions
  • cough or hoarseness
  • paranoia
  • painful or difficult urination
  • clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • mental depression

Warnings & Precautions

  • Divalproex should be used cautiously by patients with liver disease and by the elderly.
  • This medication SHOULD NOT be abruptly discontinued, due to the possibility of life-threatening seizure activity.
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to divalproex sodium, valproic acid or valproate sodium; or if you have any other allergies.
  • DO NOT use Depakote to prevent migraine headaches if you are pregnant
  • This medicine may cause drowsiness, dizziness or lightheadedness. DO NOT drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to this medicine.
  • Alcoholic beverages can increase the effects of this medicine and should be avoided.
  • For an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. For non emergencies, contact your local or regional poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Drug Interactions

Divalproex effects may be increased by erythromycin, cimetidine, salicylates, and decreased by carbamazepine. This drug may increase the effects of diazepam, phenytoin, and warfarin.

Dosage & Missed Dose

Follow directions on prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose for best results.

Drink plenty of water while taking Divalproex.

Depakote Sprinkle Capsules may be swallowed whole, or broken open and sprinkled on some soft food. Swallow Depakote tablets or Depakote ER tablets whole. Do not chew or crush.

Take your next dose as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double doses or take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.


Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (preferably not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed.


Divalproex can cause fetal damage during the first trimester and should not be used during pregnancy if other options are available. Small amounts of divalproex have been shown to be excreted in breast milk, so should be used with caution while breast-feeding.

More Information

For more information, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or health care provider, or you can visit this website, for additional information from the manufacturer of this drug.



Overall Review of this Medication

1.91/5 (2 votes)

2 thoughts on “Depakote

  • November 4, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Having bladder frequency and urgency taking Depakote.any way to combat these side effects.






  • July 16, 2020 at 2:06 am

    I have been on the generic form of Depakote,(Divalproex ER, 500 mg.) caplets for 17 years. It was prescribed by my psychiatrist as a “Mood Stabilizer.” I started on 2500 mg, at bedtime. Over the last year or so, I have had problems with my overall memory. I was told this, along with the Gabatril he prescribed off script too, helps control my night terrors from PTSD. I’ve told him I haven’t had one of those dreams in years. He said “That’s because the drugs are working for you.” I have had my dosage of Depakote reduced down to 1500 mg at bedtime. I got myself down to 1000 mg on my own, slowly, because I have cirrhosis of the liver, and my Gastro Doctor said Depakote is really hard on my liver. My spouse found out I had reduced my dosage, and then all of a sudden my spouse said I was “moody and seem up and down on my personality.” They said to discuss this with my psychiatrist. I did and was told it was “very dangerous” in reducing my dosage too quickly. I said it was done over a six month period. I told him about my overall memory lapses, and was told that is part of what the drug was prescribed to me for. PTSD related episodes, and night terrors. I told him of my overall memory lapses that had nothing to do with serving. I was told that “the benefits of the medication outweigh the side effects.” I said that NOWHERE on any of the paperwork that I get with every refill of Depakote does it even mention “memory loss” as a RARE OR ANY REPORTED side effect related to memories. I was told that possible side effects of a drug during test trials that are less than one half of one percent of the original study of the medication are not required to be reported. I ask if the long term usage side effects of ANY psychotropic drugs are studied or revisited after long term usage. I was told there was no requirement in place for long term review of a medication that is not “presenting” a substantial and consistent negative effect. I told him my liver continues to slowly decline in overall health, but not quickly because my cirrhosis of the liver was “without mention of alcohol” and was found to have a genetic deficiency in my liver. I was told I didn’t have to take any of the five medications I was prescribed, as the “exact combination of the five drugs have been had dosage adjustments to specifically maximized for their effectiveness in me.” I went back to “OK, but why is this drug, generic Depakote interfering with my memory?” I was given the standard answer to the usage of virtually ALL psychotropic medications, which is “The way this drug works is unknown, but is believed to help with a chemical imbalance of the brain.” To make this comment skid to a halt, I would like to let anyone using Depakote, or the generic equivalent, to not be concerned if after long term usage, this sometimes happens. But not enough to put it on the paperwork you get when you fill a prescription for it. And if your liver is bad, it might get worse over a long term usage of this drug. I know three other people who take Depakote, that have cirrhosis of the liver, and all report their liver is getting worse in the long term usage of this drug. Especially in high dosages.







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APA Reference
Psych Central. (2018). Depakote. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Oct 2018
Last reviewed: By Christine Traxler, M.D.
Published on All rights reserved.