Divalproex Sodium - Benefits, dosage and side effects

Divalproex sodium is a medication to treat seizures due to epilepsy. It can also be used to prevent migraines or treat manic episodes of bipolar disorder. Divalproex sodium is available as an oral medication, such as tablets or caplets.

Divalproex sodium belongs to the anticonvulsant class of valproate fatty acid derivatives. This drug works by balancing natural chemicals (neurotransmitter) in brain tissue so as to stop seizures.

Trademark divalproex sodium: Depakote, Depakote ER, Divalpi EC, Divalproex Sodium, Falpro, Forlepsi ER, Ikalep, Velpraz

What's that Divalproex Sodium

groupPrescription drugs
BenefitTreating seizures due to epilepsy, treating manic episodes of bipolar disorder, and preventing migraines
Consumed byAdults and children 10 years old
Divalproex sodium for pregnant and lactating womenCategory D: There is positive evidence of risks to the human fetus, but the benefits may outweigh the risks, for example in dealing with life-threatening situations. Divalproex sodium may increase the risk of the fetus developing congenital abnormalities, such as cleft lip or congenital heart disease.

Divalproex sodium may be absorbed into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine before consulting your doctor.

Drug formTablets and caplets

Precautions Before Taking Divalproex Sodium

There are several things you need to pay attention to before consuming divalproex sodium, namely:

  • Do not use divalproex sodium if you are allergic to this medicine or to medicines that contain valproate, such as valproic acid or sodium valproate.
  • Tell your doctor if you have liver disease, a urea metabolism disorder, or a genetic disorder, such as: Alper-Huttenlocher syndrome. Divalproex sodium should not be used in people with these conditions.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking buprenorphine. Divalproex sodium should not be used in patients taking this drug.
  • Do not drink alcohol, drive, or engage in activities that require alertness, after taking divalproex sodium, as this drug can cause dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking certain medications, supplements, or herbal products.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or are currently suffering from alcoholism, kidney disease, pancreatitis, blood clotting disorders, dementia, depression, malnutrition, or have ever attempted suicide.
  • Perform routine blood checks or checks according to the directions given by the doctor while undergoing treatment with divalproex sodium.
  • See your doctor immediately if you have an allergic drug reaction, serious side effect, or overdose after taking divalproex sodium.

Dosage and Instructions for Use of Divalproex Sodium

The dose and duration of use of divalproex sodium will be determined by the doctor according to the patient's age and health condition. Below is a breakdown of common divalproex sodium dosages:

Purpose: Treating manic episodes of bipolar disorder

  • Dosage form: Caplets and tablets

    Adults: Initial dose of 750 mg per day divided into separate doses.

  • Dosage form: Slow-release caplets or slow-release tablets

    Adult: Initially 25 mg/kg once daily.

Purpose: Overcoming seizures due to epilepsy

  • Dosage form: Slow-release caplets, caplets, tablets, or slow-release tablets

    Adults and children 10 years of age: Initial dose of 10–15 mg/kg per day. The maximum dose is 60 mg/kg BW per day.

Purpose: Prevent migraine

  • Dosage form: Caplets and tablets

    Adult: Initially 250 mg twice daily, for 1 week.

  • Dosage form: Slow-release caplets and slow-release tablets

    Adult: Initially 500 mg once daily, for 1 week.

How to Take Divalproex Sodium Correctly

Follow the doctor's instructions and read the information on the divalproex sodium package before taking it. This medicine needs to be taken with meals to prevent heartburn.

Drink water according to the body's daily needs while undergoing treatment with divalproex sodium. Swallow the tablet whole, do not split or chew the tablet.

Make sure that there is sufficient time between one dose and the next. Try to always take divalproex sodium at the same time every day, so that the drug is more effective.

If you forget to take divalproex sodium, drink it immediately if the gap between the next consumption schedule is not too close. If it is close, ignore it and do not double the dose.

Do not stop using or increase or decrease the dose of divalproex sodium without consulting your doctor first. Stopping the drug suddenly can increase the risk of fatal seizures in people with epilepsy.

During treatment with divalproex sodium, your doctor will ask you to do regular check-ups and regular blood tests. Always follow the directions your doctor gives you.

Store divalproex sodium in its package at room temperature. Keep the medicine away from direct sunlight, hot temperatures, and damp places. Keep medicine out of reach of children.

Interactions of Divalproex Sodium with Other Drugs

There are several interactions that can occur if divalproex sodium is used in combination with other medicines, including:

  • Increased risk of fatal side effects, such as respiratory distress, coma, and even death, when used with buprenorphine
  • Increased risk of liver failure when used with leflunomide, lomitapide, or mipomersen
  • Increased risk of side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, hypotension, or confusion, when used with sodium oxybate
  • Increased risk of pancreatitis when used with bexaterone
  • Increased risk of side effects from lamotrigine, phenobarbital, and propoxyphene
  • Increased risk of bleeding when used with vorinostat
  • Decreased blood levels of divalproex sodium when used with antibiotics, such as meropenem or doripenem

Divalproex Sodium Side Effects and Hazards

There are several side effects that can appear after consuming divalproex sodium, including:

  • Dizzy
  • Drowsiness
  • Hair loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficult to maintain balance
  • Body shaking (tremor)
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Menstrual cycle changes

Check with your doctor if the side effects mentioned above don't go away or get worse. You should see a doctor immediately if you have an allergic reaction to the drug which can be characterized by the appearance of a red rash on the skin, swelling of the eyelids and lips, or difficulty breathing.

In addition, see a doctor immediately if you experience more serious side effects, such as:

  • Brain disorders (encephalopathy), can be characterized by the body feeling weak and vomiting
  • Easy bruising, bleeding gums, bloody stools
  • Mood swings, depression, or suicidal ideation
  • Arrhythmias and chest pain
  • Swelling in hands and feet
  • Uncontrolled eye movements (nystagmus)
  • Breathing becomes faster
  • Body shivering
  • Faint