Depakote or divalproex sodium is a drug used in the treatment of various types of seizure disorders and it is sometimes used together with other seizure medications as prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist. It affects the chemicals in the body that are mainly involved in causing the seizures. Also, it is used to treat manic episodes which are related to bipolar disorders and preventing migraine headaches.
It is advisable for the patients to know that, they should take Depakote exactly as prescribed by their doctors and by following all the directions on their prescription labels. The doctor treating you may occasionally change or alter your usual dose to ensure that you get excellent results and it is important for the patients not to take this medication longer than the prescribed period or smaller or larger amounts than the recommended.
Drinking a lot of water while under medication is a good thing to do since your dose may change from time to time if one is not getting enough fluids everyday. It is not recommended to crush, or chew, open a delayed release or an extended release tablet while taking Depakote since it is recommended to be swallowed whole to avoid mouth or throat injuries and bruising. For those who wish to use the Depakote sprinkle capsule, then they should sprinkle the medicine into a spoonful of pudding to make the swallowing easier.
Also, frequent blood tests are needed to be taken while using Depakote and when not at home or around people who know you are using Depakote medication, you should wear a medical alert tag so that during an emergency, any doctor is able to know fast enough that you are under Depakote medication. One is never allowed to suddenly stop using Depakote even if you start feeling better since it may cause some serious life threatening seizures and patients should always follow their doctors instructions before they decide to tapering with their medication. The Depakote medicines should always stored at room temperature, away from moisture and heat.
Patients who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant should talk to their doctors before they start taking the medication. Some of the risks and side effects related to taking Depakote while pregnant include; Depakote should not be used for the prevention of migraine headaches while female patients are taking the medication, or your baby may be at risk for serious birth defects, for instance Depakote affects the brain and the spinal cord leading to bifida or neural tube defects. But the good news is, these defects only occurs in 1 to 2 children given a figure like 100 children born to those mothers who are using Depakote during pregnancy. The defects usually starts during the first month before you even know you are pregnant. Also, children may be at the risk of having a lower IQ but there are other medications that can be used to treat the condition that actually have a lower chance of causing these birth defects.
Women who take Depakote medicine are most likely to develop polycystic ovarian syndrome which is known to cause cysts that develop mainly on the ovaries, inhibiting pregnancy.
There are birth defects also associated taking Depakote such as; hypospadias which is a condition whereby the opening of the urethra in boy children is usually on the underside of the penis rather than the end side and this risk is greatly increased when a mother is taking Depakote medication during pregnancy, craniosynotosis, a condition whereby the bones of the skull do close too early than the normal period of time, polydactyl, where babies are born with an extra finger or toe and finally anencephaly, which is a defect whereby the part of the brain or skull is missing in babies.
There are also some common side effects associated with taking Depakote. Some of them are;
Nausea- is when a stomach upsets occurs in the first few weeks of treatment, an effect that can be overcome by starting the dosages at a very low rate and slowly increasing the dosages and a full stomach is recommended for this.
Tremors- tremors caused by Depakote can actually range from the mild to the severe ones depending on the amount of medication that is in the body. The tremors can be exacerbated by things and factors that as anxiety, low blood sugar and caffeine consumption. You can consult a medical injury lawyer for more details.
There is hair loss and weight gain for some people where the statistics show that up to 10 percent of the patients do experience hair loss and 50 percent of the patients also experience weight loss. Some people also under medication experience blurred vision, or double vision or sometimes uncontrollable eye movements, other women may experience changes in menstrual cycles more often and finally for the elderly, they face an increased risk of somnolence or extreme tiredness, dehydration and a condition known as anorexia.