Monday, October 20, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2008 JessicaLL, Community Member, asks

Q: Depakote. Good/Bad/Ugly?

I have read many reviews about Depakote, and not very many of those were good. I am really worried about the tremendious weight gain, and the trouble sleeping. I am only on day 3 but last night I had a horrible time getting to sleep. Please tell me honestly what you think of this drug after using it. I really want this to work for me because before this one, I have been on 4 other drugs with no success.

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Answers (23)
KRAZYKAT, Community Member
11/22/08 1:51am

You didn't say spefically y you are taking depakote.  I tried it to help with my migraines, but before it had time to work or for me to tell, I became loopy.  I didn't know it though, my hsband told me to get off of it.  I was talking funny and drove for about 2 blocks wih him in the car and he told me to call the Dr.  This was all after about a couple of weeks on it.   I didn't stay on it, Neourontin works better for me.

ca dreamer, Community Member
11/22/08 4:46pm

Unfortunately, no one medication can help us all; we all react differently.  I am not a fan of Depakote because it made me "hazy".  I'm sure that doesn't happen to everyone or it would not still be on the market.  How long did your doc say it would take to see if there are any good results?

JessicaLL, Community Member
11/24/08 8:57am

I am taking the Depakote for migraines, and my Neurologist didn't give me a time frame. Basically because I have such low blood pressure this is the last Drug to try. I have been on Neuronton, Tegretol xr, Topamax, and Elavil. I wasn't able to handle the side effects of any of them except the Elavil, and that didn't work for me. My dose on the Depakote is 500mg. My mom was prescribed this when she was diagnosed with

Bi-PolarII and she said the same thing, that it made her loopy. I think she may have been on a very high dose though.

Emily Musa, Community Member
9/24/10 1:30pm

Let me ask you the most important question here--- Why aren't you trying natural preventitive measures? Did you realize that migraines are a neurological condition, of which headaches are only a symptom of? You need to be taking a good B-complex, coQ10, acetyl L-carnitine, omega 3 fish oil, Gelatanized Maca root, and magnesium (at night). Do the research online, type in google "migraines coq10" and see what comes up! I suffered migraines for 12 years on a monthly basis, and now I haven't had one in almost 4 months! And when I do get them they are so light and never turn into a full blown migraine. Please ask me if you have any questions. Migraine perscription drugs are dangerous, disease inducing nightmares. Please consider the right options here.

babs, Community Member
4/ 4/11 7:50pm

Hi..Ilike your comments about the natural approach..does this work for hemiplegic migraines?

julie, Community Member
2/ 4/12 12:39pm

Just wondering, are you a doctor?Just wondering because doing research on line and medicating yourself is dangerous for some people. And alot of those NATURAL preventions can be just as bad if not worse if taken the wrong way by the wrong people. Really dont mean to be nasty but I would be very careful given advice like this. Have a great day.


birdie, Community Member
4/27/12 9:30am

I have been taking coQ10 for several years for statin related joint pain.  I also take a B complex and omega 3.  I can't take magnesium because of my kidneys.  I had no ideas these were supposed to help with migraines, and they haven't.  Because of high blood pressure (controlled) I can't take imitrex or any migraine stopping medication, so I was prescribed Depakote!  It worked, which to me was amazing since nothing else has worked.  But then I started having double vision, big memory losses, balance issues (looked like I was drunk sometimes) and I was beginning to have tremors when I quit.


I'm still taking the supplements, the first two of which my doctor prescribed, and I'm back to migraines.  I've looked up topomax, lactamil, neurontin--all used for migraines like depakote, and they all seem to have the same kind of side effects.

terri, Community Member
12/30/13 10:49am

I am in total agreement with you on preventative measures. Taking those supplements plus ridding your body and diet of all wheat and all types of sugar will permanently get rid of migraines.

Teri Robert, Health Guide
12/30/13 1:28pm



Nothing can promise to permanently rid anyone of Migraines. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease, and at this time, there is no cure for it. Certainly, avoiding triggers and maintining the best health possible is a good start, but for many of us it's not enough. I eliminated sugare almost 20 years ago. Went gluten-free for a year. Take all the recommended supplements. Still had Migraines.


For some of us, if we want to not have nearly daily Migraines, we have no choice but to use preventive medications.



Aprilheather, Community Member
11/26/08 6:50am

This drug is the WORST. Sluggishness, mind foggy and weight gain--PLUS it didn't work.  Topomax was better at first in terms of keeping the headaches at bay, however, in time the side effects of that also became severe: major hair loss, and also foggy thinking and slow reflexes.  I am a "recovered" migraneur.

Susan, Community Member
11/26/08 7:02am

I was on Depakote for about 2-1/2 years. I seemed to have less intense migraines but didn't really see less of them.  I got off in January of this year after a build up of many side effects culminating with suicidal thoughts.  This was about 2 months before the news of this potential side effect was publicized.  All in all my side effects were: unbalanced gain, much drowsiness, loss of energy, no sweating, "flat" mood, loss of memory (extremely bad) and finally the suicidal thoughts.  Before I had those thoughts my biggest concern was my loss of memory.  It got so bad that one time I was standing in the shower and had washed my hair.  I couldn't think of what I was supposed to do next.  It took me several minutes of seriously straining to remember the cream rinse.  My memory is still very bad and I don't know if I'll ever get it back entirely.  It is better and I have much better moods now.  If I had it to do over again I would never get on Depakote.  Just one person's opinion.

chrisdrab, Community Member
11/26/08 7:16am

I ave been on Depakote for 1 year, it is great, not only does it help with my migraines but also my bi-polor and seizers. I weigted 98 when I started now I am up to 99. My sister has been on it for about 2 years and all she gained was 20 ibs. I think this is a wonderful medicine and would recommend it to anyone.

UpStateKate, Community Member
11/26/08 7:34am

Hi Jessica - I didn't gain much weight with Depakote - but did experience deep fogginess - like walking on the bottom of an aquarium! Sleep was not a problem, I couldn't stay awake.  It did not decrease the frequency or intensity of my migraines, but I understand that it does work for some folks.  Be patient and give it a chance - and if this one doesn't work, you and your neurologist will find another drug or combination of drugs that will make you more comfortable.  I wish you the very best of luck!

fernblatt, Community Member
11/27/08 12:44am

In my case it didn't really help - it did the opposite.  The two or three year I took the med I was a complete zombie not knowing where I was about half the time.  That is, the time that I could keep awake.  I'm sure it interacted with whatever the drug regimen of the day was at any particular time, but for me, I found no effect on the pain or frequency of migraines.  In addition to the "fluffy-headedness" I gained weight.  Even after restricting myself to well under 1000 cal/day it just kept coming. My neuro kept increasing and increasing the dosage until at the peak I was at least on 1000 mg per day (maybe 2000 but I doubt more, it was a LARGE dosage, regardless) until she finally listened to me telling her it basically had no effect.  


As different people react differently, your experience may differ - hopefully you'll get relief and not have much of a problem with weight gain.  Just gotta hope-hope-hope.

KevinB, Community Member
11/27/08 4:40am

I to had been prescribed Depakote (ER 500mg) and experienced some of the side effects that have been described by others here such as difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss, and an inability to sleep. Over time Depakote seemed to help with the frequency of migraine attacks, but I also had significant weight gain (45lbs.) in under a years time due to slowing of metabolism. I later developed edema (significant swelling of lower legs and ankles). My Cardiologist strongly advised me to discontinue using Depakote because of this and its negative overall effect on my cardio-vascular health.

Bottom line, I discussed this with my Neurologist who terminated my use of Depakote as recommended by Cardiologist. Actually it was an easy decision as after taking it for almost a year it had reached a point that any progressive relief in reducing my migraine attacks had stopped.

The adverse side effects from Depakote were eliminated over time, almost all weight gained is now gone without having to do anything more than I do normally (no diets, no new exercise programs) eating healthy foods and daily walks with the dog.

What I have learned in my migraine journey:

Reduce your stress by being pro-active rather than re-active in seeking help for your migraines. If prescribed meds cause more problems (adverse side effects) then expected help contact your Neurologist to discuss and get feedback on what your experiencing now (don't wait until your next appointment). Find out if is it appropriate to continue with the current medication or should you try an alternative. There are many medications available to help stop or prevent your migraine. Migraine treatment at this time is more an art than a science, what may work for one person may not work for another.


While there are other preventive medications available, you may want to talk with your Neurologist or Migraine Specialist about Trigger Point Injections (TPI). These are subcutaneous (just under the skin) injections that are given in the area(s) of the head where you experience your migraine. The effect upon injection is almost immediate in reducing pain severity and continues to reduce or eliminate the migraine within a very short time frame, usually a few hours.  Depending on the person, the absence of migraine can run the range of days to months. This approach may take several injection appointments timed 5 to 7 weeks apart to determine overall effectiveness. I have to date not experienced any negative side effects in this treatment. I am a long time migraineur (decades) and was told that long lasting prevention of my migraines will take more time to achieve for me than someone who has had them for far less time. So there is a good dose of “Hope” for you in this approach.

Final Comment:

I am fortunate to live in Boston and have been seen by several Neurologist or Migraine Specialist. I have finally found someone who is willing to listen and give me appropriate time in our appointments. He also has me enrolled in migraine clinical studies going on here. So it may take some time, but be persistent and pro-active in getting the help and support you need and most important never give up hope!

kossamouse, Community Member
11/29/08 3:07pm

For me it didn't work it I just made me gain weight.  But at the same time I tend to be sensetive to many drugs.  I hope that you are able to take with your physician about your concerns and try different alternatives.


Best of luck


gardengal, Community Member
11/30/08 10:23pm

I was on Depakote for 1-1 1/2 months at which time I gained about 20 pounds.  But the worst part was that I was not able to concentrate and easily became emotional and overwhelmed.  In addition, my migraines were no better on the medication.  Neither of these side effects are mentioned in the literature that I read so I just thought you might want to be aware of it.  Since no one reacts the same, you might want to try it.  My feeling is that we should take every chance we have at having a better life, and if it dosn't work, move on.

Calli6, Community Member
11/30/08 11:15pm

I've had migraines for a long time and have been on Depakote for a few years.  I agree with everyone that posted- it's hard to think clearly, weight gain, etc.  I have wanted to get off it but it has been the only thing that would somewhat control the migraines, I still have them a lot.  I've always been open to trying another kind of medicine since that might be the one to help.  There are always side effects and you might be lucky enough that the Depakote doesn't affect you that much.  You've got a heads up on what to watch for anyway!  Good Luck

khris88, Community Member
12/ 1/08 9:41am
Hey Jessica, I took depakote for a month and is that time I gained about 15 pounds. It didn't help me with my migraines either. Just made me feel weird. My doctor then put me on Lyrica.. It helped for about a month but doesn't work at all now. If you do take it make sure you take it at night, a friend of mine is a Sheriff and he did a sobriety test on me.. I flat out FAILED! and that was after I had been on it at least a week. Anyway, Good Luck with finding something that works... I have yet to find something that will keep them away. Khrista Reply
Carla, Community Member
12/ 1/08 10:36pm

I was on it for 2 years and gained 30 pounds and the worse part is that it did not suppress the migraines for me at all.  I was then changed over to Topomax and it has worked tremendously ever since.


JessicaLL, Community Member
12/ 2/08 8:50am


After being on "Dopeykote" for 2 weeks, I decided last night to throw in the towel! I was on the phone with a receptionist at University of Iowa to set up an appointment with the only migraine specialist in Iowa, and when she asked me what my DOB was, my mind went completely blank. I have a 2 year old, I can't lose my memory! God forbid I OD her on any of her meds when she is sick.


My appointment isn't until February 18th, but it's well worth the wait.


Thank you everyone who answered!!


wanda, Community Member
12/18/08 12:09pm


what are you taking depakote for?I used to take it for depression and it really didn't help at all I am on Geodon it is my wonder drug,it is great and it can also help with migraines alot.I usually take it at bedtime but I I get a migraine I take one and lie down it works it just relaxes your whole body.It also works wonders for of luck to youif you don't like how depacote makes you feel let your doc know you need to be on something that benefits you.


Post, Community Member
1/12/09 1:20am

I have just been put on 500 mg X3 daily.  I took the generic after a bout with the worst headache ever.  A trip to the hospital and three days admitted started me out on 500 mg x 2 but my regular Dr. said that was for an infant so he increased.  The generic seemed to make me drowsy and I had upset stomach.  The name brand doesn't do that.  Also, I was taking one in am and one in pm.  Dr. has me taking all 3 at pm just before bedtime.  I'm not having any side effects.  I don't like taking it  but I would take ANYTHING to keep from getting the big headache.  In the ER they gave me 2 mg of dilauded to knock me out and it didn't.  It seems to work for me when everything else doesn't.  Good luck!!!

femme, Community Member
5/19/10 4:28pm

I was on a low dose of Depakote for migraines. It was the ONLY migraine medication I have ever been on that completely took away my headaches so much so that I think I realized what the absence of headaches was for the first time in my life. I actually lost weight on Depakote and was not dopey at all. My problem with Depakote was that I lost huge amounts of hair from my head. I have very thick long hair and it just kept thinning and thinning and thinning until I finally had to stop as I did not want to be a bald woman. 

TarheelGirl, Community Member
1/24/12 8:00pm

I seriously love Depakote for my migraines. It takes the pain and other migraine symptoms away completely. I've been taking it for almost 8 years. I have stopped a couple of times because I had difficulty paying for it and the migraines came back...quickly. Nothing else works for me. I've tried other meds, but either they didn't work at all or the side effects made it impossible for me to function. The only side effect I had was the weight gain. But I noticed that it only increased my appetite for a brief time(approx 3 months) then it tapered off and I lost the weight pretty quickly.

SarahH, Community Member
4/25/12 1:34pm

I have just started taking Depakote about 2 weeks ago and while it completey relieves my terrible daily chronic migraines, I have the worst stomach upset of my life on it. I started thinking the stomach upset was worse than the headaches, so I stopped for 2 days and the headaches are definately worse than the stomach issues (when I take it, I am up about every 2 hours at night sweating and vomiting, sometimes it's like I have an upper GI bleed). I'd rather vomit all night long than live with a daily migraine (I can barely work they hurt so bad). 

Mika, Community Member
9/ 6/12 7:52pm

I was on Depakote 750mg for 8 months.  In that time I gained 40 pounds, experienced extreme swelling of the lower legs and ankles, brain fog, short term memory loss, menstrual irregularities, etc.  I was tapered off this medication because of all the adverse side effects and have been totally off Depakote for 3 weeks.  I am starting to feel much better.

cheryl, Community Member
9/ 7/12 7:25am

I was on Depakote for about 2 years, they worked completely opposite for me.  They did however relieve my migraines.  I am a 14 yr chronic suffer of migraines.  After exhausting all efforts to find something that would help the pain, my Dr. perscribed Depakote, however I had to readjust the dosage a couple times , but did find it to help.  I was able to loose weight, after my migraine were subsided, 86 lbs.  I also had an abundance of energy, like speed, I felt like I had my life back for a change.  the  worst thing with the med, the reason I did come off of it, I got to noticing my mood swings, were really bad, you really have to be careful which medication you take with this drug.  It is really dangerious. Coming off this med, you can not take anything for several days until it is out of your system , and of course the migraines are unbearable again.

Laura, Community Member
10/18/12 10:03pm

I've been on Depakote ER 250mg for a week for my migraines and it's horrible. I feel faint and dizzy all the time, I'm overwhelmed with nausea one moment and the next moment I'm starving. There is also a funny taste in my mouth, I've had trouble sleeping, and tonight I experienced sharp pain in my stomach that had me in tears. It's true that I haven't had a migraine or felt like I was going to have one for an entire week, which has been nice, but it is not worth it to feel this miserable all the time!

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By JessicaLL, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/28/14, First Published: 11/21/08