Drugs Prescribed for Bipolar Disorder: Depakote (Valproate)

Marcia Purse Health Guide
  • Depakote is an anticonvulsant medication used to treat seizure disorders like epilepsy, migraines, and as a mood stabilizer for people with bipolar disorder. Depakene is similar, and generic names include sodium valproate, divalproex sodium and valproic acid. Collectively the drugs as generally referred to as valproate.


    The most common side effects of valproate are mostly gastrointestinal such as upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting. Dizziness and drowsiness are also common. Other common side effects include hair loss, trembling of arms and hands, mild abdominal cramps, and unusual weight changes.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    Depakote can be dangerous to people with liver problems and may cause pancreatitis. In the elderly, dehydration may be a danger. Close monitoring should be done, or alternate medication considered.


    If a rash appears and there is no other known reason for the rash, contact your doctor immediately. If the rash is spreading quickly, go to an emergency room. If you are taking either valproate or Lamictal (lamotrigine) and the other drug is added, generally the Lamictal dosage needs to be reduced to decrease the risk of a potentially life-threatening rash.


    Valproate is known to cause serious birth defects, including spina bifida and lowered IQ. If you are taking valproate in any form and are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, notify your doctors immediately.


    Mothers taking Depakote should not breast-feed.


    For additional information, see Depakote Oral Precautions and Side Effects.


    Disclaimer: This is not intended to be all-inclusive or to replace information provided by your doctor or with the prescription from the manufacturer.

Published On: August 25, 2011