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Depakene

Last reviewed on RxList: 3/17/2017
Depakene Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Depakene, Stavzor

Generic Name: valproic acid (Pronunciation: val PRO ik A sid)

What is valproic acid (Depakene)?

Valproic acid affects chemicals in the body that may be involved in causing seizures.

Valproic acid is used to treat various types of seizure disorders. Valproic acid is sometimes used together with other seizure medications.

Valproic acid may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of valproic acid (Depakene)?

Seek emergency medical attention if the person taking this medicine has nausea, vomiting, upper stomach pain, or loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). These symptoms may be early signs of liver damage. Some of these symptoms may also be early signs of pancreatitis.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:

  • unexplained weakness with vomiting and confusion or fainting;
  • easy bruising or bleeding, blood in your urine;
  • fever, chills, body aches, swollen glands, flu symptoms;
  • urinating less than usual;
  • hallucinations (seeing things that aren't there);
  • extreme drowsiness, lack of coordination;
  • double vision or back-and-forth movements of the eyes; or
  • severe skin reaction -- fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild drowsiness or weakness;
  • diarrhea, constipation, upset stomach;
  • changes in your menstrual periods;
  • enlarged breasts;
  • tremor (shaking);
  • hair loss;
  • weight changes;
  • vision changes; or
  • unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the Depakene (valproic acid) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

What is the most important information I should know about valproic acid (Depakene)?

Do not start or stop taking valproic acid during pregnancy without your doctor's advice. Valproic acid may cause harm to an unborn baby, but having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both the mother and the baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking valproic acid for seizures.

In rare cases, valproic acid has caused life-threatening liver failure, especially in children younger than 2 years old.

Valproic acid has also caused rare cases of life-threatening pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Pancreatitis can come on suddenly and symptoms may start even after you have been taking valproic acid for several years.

Seek emergency medical attention if the person taking this medicine has nausea, vomiting, upper stomach pain, or loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). These symptoms may be early signs of liver damage. Some of these symptoms may also be early signs of pancreatitis.

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking this medication. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, or if you feel agitated, hostile, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Depakene Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking valproic acid (Depakene)?

In rare cases, valproic acid has caused life-threatening liver failure, especially in children younger than 2 years old. Children of this age may be at even greater risk for liver problems if they use more than one seizure medication, if they have a metabolic disorder, or if they have a brain disease causing mental impairment (such as Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, Huntington disease, multiple sclerosis, or a brain injury or infection).

Valproic acid has also caused rare cases of life-threatening pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Pancreatitis can come on suddenly and symptoms may start even after you have been taking valproic acid for several years. Do not take valproic acid if you have liver disease or a urea cycle disorder.

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to valproic acid, or if you have severe liver disease or a urea cycle disorder.

To make sure you can safely take valproic acid, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease;
  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder;
  • a history of head injury, brain disorder, or coma;
  • a family history of a urea cycle disorder;
  • a family history of infant deaths with unknown cause; or
  • HIV or CMV (cytomegalovirus) infection.

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking this medication. Tell your doctor if you have new or worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several months of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

FDA pregnancy category D. If you are pregnant, DO NOT START TAKING valproic acid unless your doctor tells you to. Valproic acid may cause harm to an unborn baby, but having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both the mother and the baby. If you become pregnant while taking valproic acid, DO NOT STOP TAKING the medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Valproic acid may also affect cognitive development in children born to mothers who take this medication during pregnancy. Studies have shown that these children may score lower on cognitive tests (reasoning, intelligence, and problem-solving) than children whose mothers took other seizure medications during pregnancy.

Do not start or stop taking valproic acid during pregnancy without your doctor's advice.

Seizure control is very important during pregnancy and the benefits of preventing seizures may outweigh any risks posed by using valproic acid. Follow your doctor's instructions about taking valproic acid while you are pregnant.

Valproic acid can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using valproic acid.

How should I take valproic acid (Depakene)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Drink plenty of water while you are taking this medication. Your dose may need to be changed if you do not get enough fluids each day.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your liver function will need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

Do not stop using valproic acid without first talking to your doctor, even if you feel fine. You may have increased seizures if you stop using valproic acid suddenly. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.

Swallow the capsule whole. Do not crush, chew, or break a capsule because the medicine may irritate your mouth or throat when you swallow it.

Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take valproic acid. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you are taking a seizure medication.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Depakene Patient Information including If I Miss a Dose

What happens if I miss a dose (Depakene)?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose (Depakene)?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include sleepiness or drowsiness, shallow breathing, weak pulse, or loss of consciousness.

What should I avoid while taking valproic acid (Depakene)?

Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of valproic acid.

Valproic acid may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Valproic acid can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

What other drugs will affect valproic acid (Depakene)?

Cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for depression or anxiety can add to sleepiness caused by valproic acid. Tell your doctor if you regularly use any of these medicines, or any other seizure medication.

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:

  • aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol);
  • carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol);
  • clozapine (Clozaril, FazaClo);
  • diazepam (Valium);
  • ethosuximide (Zarontin);
  • meropenem (Merrem) or imipenem and cilastatin (Primaxin);
  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater);
  • topiramate (Topamax);
  • tolbutamide (Orinase);
  • zidovudine (Retrovir); or
  • a barbiturate such as phenobarbital (Solfoton), secobarbital (Seconal), and others; or
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with valproic acid. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about valproic acid.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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