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Generic Name: Valproic Acid (val-PROE-ik AS-id)

Drug Class: Anticonvulsant

Table of Contents

Valproic acid Depakene






Depakene (Valproic Acid) is used to prevent seizures from epilepsy. It is also approved to treat bipolar disorder and 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

Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include:

  • drowsiness
  • trouble swallowing
  • back pain
  • acid / sour stomach
  • unusual thinking
  • hair loss
  • dizziness
  • ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • nervousness
  • congestion
  • tender, swollen neck glands
  • uncontrollable shaking

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • tiredness
  • red or purple spots on skin
  • signs of infection
  • blisters or rash
  • bruising or bleeding
  • hives
  • confusion
  • chest pain
  • vomiting
  • problems swallowing
  • problems breathing
  • body temperature drop
  • weakness in the joints

Warnings & Precautions

  • Valproic acid should be used cautiously by patients with liver disease and by the elderly.
  • Use caution with sharp objects like nail cutters and razors to decrease the chance of getting bruised, cut, or injured. Also avoid contact sports.
  • DO NOT drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform these activities safely. This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or cause blurred vision.
  • Tell your doctor if you experience mental or mood problems such as depression, or suicidal thoughts/attempts.
  • This medication should NOT be abruptly discontinued, due to the possibility of life-threatening seizure activity.
  • This medicine can cause dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Alcoholic beverages can increase the side 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

Tell your doctor about all medications that you are taking including:

  • erythromycin
  • cimetidine
  • salicylates
  • carbamazepine
  • diazepam
  • phenytoin
  • warfarin
  • vitamins

Dosage & Missed Dose

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

Drink plenty of water while taking Depakene. If this drug upsets your stomach, take with food with it.

Swallow a delayed-release capsule whole. Do not break, crush, chew, or open it.

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.


This medicine 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.



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APA Reference
Psych Central. (2018). Depakene. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from


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