Depakote (divalproex sodium) is a valproate and is indicated for the treatment of the manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder. A manic episode is a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood. Typical symptoms of mania include pressure of speech, motor hyperactivity, reduced need for sleep, flight of ideas, grandiosity, poor judgment, aggressiveness, and possible hostility.
The safety and effectiveness of Depakote for long-term use in mania, i.e., more than 3 weeks, has not been demonstrated in controlled clinical trials. Therefore, healthcare providers who elect to use Depakote for extended periods should continually reevaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.
Depakote is indicated as monotherapy and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of patients with complex partial seizures that occur either in isolation or in association with other types of seizures. Depakote is also indicated for use as sole and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of simple and complex absence seizures, and adjunctively in patients with multiple seizure types that include absence seizures.
Simple absence is defined as very brief clouding of the sensorium or loss of consciousness accompanied by certain generalized epileptic discharges without other detectable clinical signs. Complex absence is the term used when other signs are also present.
Because of the risk to the fetus of decreased IQ, neural tube defects, and other major congenital malformations, which may occur very early in pregnancy, valproate should not be administered to a woman of childbearing potential unless the drug is essential to the management of her medical condition [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, Use in Specific Populations, and PATIENT INFORMATION].
Depakote is contraindicated for prophylaxis of migraine headaches in women who are pregnant.
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Depakote tablets are intended for oral administration. Depakote tablets should be swallowed whole and should not be crushed or chewed.
Patients should be informed to take Depakote every day as prescribed. If a dose is missed it should be taken as soon as possible, unless it is almost time for the next dose. If a dose is skipped, the patient should not double the next dose.
Depakote tablets are administered orally. The recommended initial dose is 750 mg daily in divided doses. The dose should be increased as rapidly as possible to achieve the lowest therapeutic dose which produces the desired clinical effect or the desired range of plasma concentrations. In placebocontrolled clinical trials of acute mania, patients were dosed to a clinical response with a trough plasma concentration between 50 and 125 mcg/mL. Maximum concentrations were generally achieved within 14 days. The maximum recommended dosage is 60 mg/kg/day.
There is no body of evidence available from controlled trials to guide a clinician in the longer term management of a patient who improves during Depakote treatment of an acute manic episode. While it is generally agreed that pharmacological treatment beyond an acute response in mania is desirable, both for maintenance of the initial response and for prevention of new manic episodes, there are no data to support the benefits of Depakote in such longer-term treatment. Although there are no efficacy data that specifically address longer-term antimanic treatment with Depakote, the safety of Depakote in long-term use is supported by data from record reviews involving approximately 360 patients treated with Depakote for greater than 3 months.
Depakote tablets are administered orally. Depakote is indicated as monotherapy and adjunctive therapy in complex partial seizures in adults and pediatric patients down to the age of 10 years, and in simple and complex absence seizures. As the Depakote dosage is titrated upward, concentrations of clonazepam, diazepam, ethosuximide, lamotrigine, tolbutamide, phenobarbital, carbamazepine, and/or phenytoin may be affected [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Complex Partial Seizures
For adults and children 10 years of age or older.
Monotherapy (Initial Therapy)
Depakote has not been systematically studied as initial therapy. Patients should initiate therapy at 10 to 15 mg/kg/day. The dosage should be increased by 5 to 10 mg/kg/week to achieve optimal clinical response. Ordinarily, optimal clinical response is achieved at daily doses below 60 mg/kg/day. If satisfactory clinical response has not been achieved, plasma levels should be measured to determine whether or not they are in the usually accepted therapeutic range (50 to 100 mcg/mL). No recommendation regarding the safety of valproate for use at doses above 60 mg/kg/day can be made. The probability of thrombocytopenia increases significantly at total trough valproate plasma concentrations above 110 mcg/mL in females and 135 mcg/mL in males. The benefit of improved seizure control with higher doses should be weighed against the possibility of a greater incidence of adverse reactions.
Conversion to Monotherapy
Patients should initiate therapy at 10 to 15 mg/kg/day. The dosage should be increased by 5 to 10mg/kg/week to achieve optimal clinical response. Ordinarily, optimal clinical response is achieved at daily doses below 60 mg/kg/day. If satisfactory clinical response has not been achieved, plasma levels should be measured to determine whether or not they are in the usually accepted therapeutic range (50- 100 mcg/mL). No recommendation regarding the safety of valproate for use at doses above 60mg/kg/day can be made. Concomitant antiepilepsy drug (AED) dosage can ordinarily be reduced by approximately 25% every 2 weeks. This reduction may be started at initiation of Depakote therapy, or delayed by 1 to 2 weeks if there is a concern that seizures are likely to occur with a reduction. The speed and duration of withdrawal of the concomitant AED can be highly variable, and patients should be monitored closely during this period for increased seizure frequency.
Depakote may be added to the patient's regimen at a dosage of 10 to 15 mg/kg/day. The dosage may be increased by 5 to 10 mg/kg/week to achieve optimal clinical response. Ordinarily, optimal clinical response is achieved at daily doses below 60 mg/kg/day. If satisfactory clinical response has not been achieved, plasma levels should be measured to determine whether or not they are in the usually accepted therapeutic range (50 to 100 mcg/mL). No recommendation regarding the safety of valproate for use at doses above 60 mg/kg/day can be made. If the total daily dose exceeds 250 mg, it should be given in divided doses.
In a study of adjunctive therapy for complex partial seizures in which patients were receiving either carbamazepine or phenytoin in addition to valproate, no adjustment of carbamazepine or phenytoin dosage was needed [see Clinical Studies]. However, since valproate may interact with these or other concurrently administered AEDs as well as other drugs, periodic plasma concentration determinations of concomitant AEDs are recommended during the early course of therapy [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Simple And Complex Absence Seizures
The recommended initial dose is 15 mg/kg/day, increasing at one week intervals by 5 to 10 mg/kg/day until seizures are controlled or side effects preclude further increases. The maximum recommended dosage is 60 mg/kg/day. If the total daily dose exceeds 250 mg, it should be given in divided doses.
A good correlation has not been established between daily dose, serum concentrations, and therapeutic effect. However, therapeutic valproate serum concentrations for most patients with absence seizures is considered to range from 50 to 100 mcg/mL. Some patients may be controlled with lower or higher serum concentrations [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
As the Depakote dosage is titrated upward, blood concentrations of phenobarbital and/or phenytoin may be affected [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Antiepilepsy drugs should not be abruptly discontinued in patients in whom the drug is administered to prevent major seizures because of the strong possibility of precipitating status epilepticus with attendant hypoxia and threat to life.
In epileptic patients previously receiving Depakene (valproic acid) therapy, Depakote tablets should be initiated at the same daily dose and dosing schedule. After the patient is stabilized on Depakote tablets, a dosing schedule of two or three times a day may be elected in selected patients.
Depakote is indicated for prophylaxis of migraine headaches in adults.
Depakote tablets are administered orally. The recommended starting dose is 250 mg twice daily. Some patients may benefit from doses up to 1,000 mg/day. In the clinical trials, there was no evidence that higher doses led to greater efficacy.
General Dosing Advice
Dosing in Elderly Patients
Due to a decrease in unbound clearance of valproate and possibly a greater sensitivity to somnolence in the elderly, the starting dose should be reduced in these patients. Dosage should be increased more slowly and with regular monitoring for fluid and nutritional intake, dehydration, somnolence, and other adverse reactions. Dose reductions or discontinuation of valproate should be considered in patients with decreased food or fluid intake and in patients with excessive somnolence. The ultimate therapeutic dose should be achieved on the basis of both tolerability and clinical response [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, Use In Specific Populations and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Dose-Related Adverse Reactions
The frequency of adverse effects (particularly elevated liver enzymes and thrombocytopenia) may be dose-related. The probability of thrombocytopenia appears to increase significantly at total valproate concentrations of ≥ 110 mcg/mL (females) or ≥ 135 mcg/mL (males) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. The benefit of improved therapeutic effect with higher doses should be weighed against the possibility of a greater incidence of adverse reactions.
Patients who experience G.I. irritation may benefit from administration of the drug with food or by slowly building up the dose from an initial low level.
Dosage Forms And Strengths
Depakote tablets (divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets) are supplied as:
125 mg salmon pink-colored tablets
250 mg peach-colored tablets
500 mg lavender-colored tablets
Storage And Handling
Depakote tablets (divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets) are supplied as:
125 mg Salmon Pink-Colored Tablets
Bottles of 100………………………………………..(NDC 0074-6212-13)
Unit Dose Packages of 100.............………………(NDC 0074-6212-11)
250 mg Peach-Colored Tablets
Bottles of 100……………………………………….(NDC 0074-6214-13)
Bottles of 500……………………………………….(NDC 0074-6214-53)
Unit Dose Packages of 100............………………(NDC 0074-6214-11)
500 mg Lavender-Colored Tablets
Bottles of 100……………………………………….(NDC 0074-6215-13)
Bottles of 500……………………………………….(NDC 0074-6215-53)
Unit Dose Packages of 100............……………...(NDC 0074-6215-11)
Store tablets below 86°F (30°C).
Mfd. by AbbVie Inc., North Chicago, IL 60064, U.S.A. OR by DPT Laboratories, Ltd., San Antonio, TX 78215, U.S.A. For AbbVie Inc., North Chicago, IL 60064, U.S.A. Revised: September 2015This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 1/29/2016
Additional Depakote Information
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