Drug Class: Anticonvulsant

Table of Contents


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, https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682412.html for additional information from the manufacturer of this drug.