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Last reviewed on RxList: 3/7/2016
Depacon Side Effects Center

Last reviewed on RxList 01/06/2017

Depacon (valproate sodium) Injection is an antiepileptic used to treat various types of seizure disorders. Depacon is available in generic form. Common side effects of Depacon include:

  • dizziness,
  • headache,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • abdominal pain,
  • diarrhea,
  • sleepiness,
  • weakness,
  • changes in taste,
  • numbness or tingling of the skin,
  • pain or inflammation at the injection site,
  • chest pain,
  • sweating,
  • euphoria,
  • nervousness,
  • tremor,
  • sore throat,
  • reduced sensation of touch,
  • fever,
  • loss of appetite,
  • indigestion,
  • constipation,
  • vision problems,
  • loss of control of body movements,
  • mood changes,
  • amnesia,
  • flu symptoms,
  • bronchitis,
  • runny or stuffy nose,
  • hair loss, and
  • weight loss.

Patients should initiate therapy with Depacon at 10 to 15 mg/kg/day. The dosage should be increased by 5 to 10 mg/kg/week to achieve optimal clinical response, usually achieved at daily doses below 60 mg/kg/day. Depacon may interact with aspirin, felbamate, meropenem, rifampin, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, carbamazepine, clonazepam, diazepam, ethosuximide, lamotrigine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, tolbutamide, topiramate, warfarin, or zidovudine. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Depacon should be used during pregnancy only if the benefits outweigh the risks. It may harm a fetus. Depacon passes into breast milk. The effect on a nursing infant is unknown. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Our Depacon (valproate sodium) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

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.

Depacon Professional Information


The following serious adverse reactions are described below and elsewhere in the labeling:

Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical studies of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical studies of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The adverse reactions that can result from Depacon use include all of those associated with oral forms of valproate. The following describes experience specifically with Depacon. Depacon has been generally well tolerated in clinical trials involving 111 healthy adult male volunteers and 352 patients with epilepsy, given at doses of 125 to 6,000 mg (total daily dose). A total of 2% of patients discontinued treatment with Depacon due to adverse reactions. The most common adverse reactions leading to discontinuation were 2 cases each of nausea/vomiting and elevated amylase. Other adverse reactions leading to discontinuation were hallucinations, pneumonia, headache, injection site reaction, and abnormal gait. Dizziness and injection site pain were observed more frequently at a 100 mg/min infusion rate than at rates up to 33 mg/min. At a 200 mg/min rate, dizziness and taste perversion occurred more frequently than at a 100 mg/min rate. The maximum rate of infusion studied was 200 mg/min.

Adverse reactions reported by at least 0.5% of all subjects/patients in clinical trials of Depacon are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1: Adverse Reactions Reported During Studies of Depacon

Body System/Reaction N = 463
Body as a Whole
  Chest Pain 1.7%
  Headache 4.3%
  Injection Site Inflammation 0.6%
  Injection Site Pain 2.6%
  Injection Site Reaction 2.4%
  Pain (unspecified) 1.3%
  Vasodilation 0.9%
  Sweating 0.9%
Digestive System
  Abdominal Pain 1.1%
  Diarrhea 0.9%
  Nausea 3.2%
  Vomiting 1.3%
Nervous System
  Dizziness 5.2%
  Euphoria 0.9%
  Hypesthesia 0.6%
  Nervousness 0.9%
  Paresthesia 0.9%
  Somnolence 1.7%
  Tremor 0.6%
  Pharyngitis 0.6%
Special Senses
  Taste Perversion 1.9%

In a separate clinical safety trial, 112 patients with epilepsy were given infusions of Depacon (up to 15 mg/kg) over 5 to 10 minutes (1.5-3.0 mg/kg/min). The common adverse reactions ( > 2%) were somnolence (10.7%), dizziness (7.1%), paresthesia (7.1%), asthenia (7.1%), nausea (6.3%), and headache (2.7%). While the incidence of these adverse reactions was generally higher than in Table 1 (experience encompassing the standard, much slower infusion rates), e.g., somnolence (1.7%), dizziness (5.2%), paresthesia (0.9%), asthenia (0%), nausea (3.2%), and headache (4.3%), a direct comparison between the incidence of adverse reactions in the 2 cohorts cannot be made because of differences in patient populations and study designs.

Ammonia levels have not been systematically studied after IV valproate, so that an estimate of the incidence of hyperammonemia after IV Depacon cannot be provided. Hyperammonemia with encephalopathy has been reported in 2 patients after infusions of Depacon.


Based on a placebo-controlled trial of adjunctive therapy for treatment of complex partial seizures, Depakote (divalproex sodium) was generally well tolerated with most adverse reactions rated as mild to moderate in severity. Intolerance was the primary reason for discontinuation in the Depakote-treated patients (6%), compared to 1% of placebo-treated patients.

Table 2 lists treatment-emergent adverse reactions which were reported by ≥ 5% of Depakoteďż˝treated patients and for which the incidence was greater than in the placebo group, in the placebo-controlled trial of adjunctive therapy for treatment of complex partial seizures. Since patients were also treated with other antiepilepsy drugs, it is not possible, in most cases, to determine whether the following adverse reactions can be ascribed to Depakote alone, or the combination of Depakote and other antiepilepsy drugs.

Table 2: Adverse Reactions Reported by ≥ 5% of Patients Treated with Depakote During Placebo-Controlled Trial of Adjunctive Therapy for Complex Partial Seizures

Body System/Reaction Depakote (%)
(n = 77)
Placebo (%)
(n = 70)
Body as a Whole
  Headache 31 21
  Asthenia 27 7
  Fever 6 4
Gastrointestinal System
  Nausea 48 14
  Vomiting 27 7
  Abdominal Pain 23 6
  Diarrhea 13 6
  Anorexia 12 0
  Dyspepsia 8 4
  Constipation 5 1
Nervous System
  Somnolence  27 11
  Tremor 25 6
  Dizziness 25 13
  Diplopia 16 9
  Amblyopia/Blurred Vision 12 9
  Ataxia 8 1
  Nystagmus 8 1
  Emotional Lability 6 4
  Thinking Abnormal 6 0
  Amnesia 5 1
Respiratory System
  Flu Syndrome 12 9
  Infection 12 6
  Bronchitis 5 1
  Rhinitis 5 4
  Alopecia 6 1
  Weight Loss 6 0

Table 3 lists treatment-emergent adverse reactions which were reported by ≥ 5% of patients in the high dose valproate group, and for which the incidence was greater than in the low dose group, in a controlled trial of Depakote monotherapy treatment of complex partial seizures. Since patients were being titrated off another antiepilepsy drug during the first portion of the trial, it is not possible, in many cases, to determine whether the following adverse reactions can be ascribed to Depakote alone, or the combination of valproate and other antiepilepsy drugs.

Table 3: Adverse Reactions Reported by ≥ 5% of Patients in the High Dose Group in the Controlled Trial of Valproate Monotherapy for Complex Partial Seizures1

Body System/Reaction High Dose (%)
(n = 131)
Low Dose (%)
(n = 134)
Body as a Whole
  Asthenia 21 10
Digestive System
  Nausea 34 26
  Diarrhea 23 19
  Vomiting 23 15
  Abdominal Pain 12 9
  Anorexia 11 4
  Dyspepsia 11 10
Hemic/Lymphatic System
  Thrombocytopenia 24 1
  Ecchymosis 5 4
  Weight Gain 9 4
  Peripheral Edema 8 3
Nervous System
  Tremor 57 19
  Somnolence 30 18
  Dizziness 18 13
  Insomnia 15 9
  Nervousness 11 7
  Amnesia 7 4
  Nystagmus 7 1
  Depression 5 4
Respiratory System
  Infection 20 13
  Pharyngitis 8 2
  Dyspnea 5 1
Skin and Appendages
  Alopecia 24 13
Special Senses
  Amblyopia/Blurred Vision 8 4
  Tinnitus 7 1
1 Headache was the only adverse reaction that occurred in ≥ 5% of patients in the high dose group and at an equal or greater incidence in the low dose group.

The following additional adverse reactions were reported by greater than 1% but less than 5% of the 358 patients treated with valproate in the controlled trials of complex partial seizures:

Body as a Whole: Back pain, chest pain, malaise.

Cardiovascular System: Tachycardia, hypertension, palpitation.

Digestive System: Increased appetite, flatulence, hematemesis, eructation, pancreatitis, periodontal abscess.

Hemic and Lymphatic System: Petechia.

Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders: SGOT increased, SGPT increased.

Musculoskeletal System: Myalgia, twitching, arthralgia, leg cramps, myasthenia.

Nervous System: Anxiety, confusion, abnormal gait, paresthesia, hypertonia, incoordination, abnormal dreams, personality disorder.

Respiratory System: Sinusitis, cough increased, pneumonia, epistaxis.

Skin and Appendages: Rash, pruritus, dry skin.

Special Senses: Taste perversion, abnormal vision, deafness, otitis media.

Urogenital System: Urinary incontinence, vaginitis, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, urinary frequency.


Although Depacon has not been evaluated for safety and efficacy in the treatment of manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder, the following adverse reactions not listed above were reported by 1% or more of patients from two placebo-controlled clinical trials of Depakote (Divalproex Sodium) tablets.

Body as a Whole: Chills, neck pain, neck rigidity.

Cardiovascular System: Hypotension, postural hypotension, vasodilation.

Digestive System: Fecal incontinence, gastroenteritis, glossitis.

Musculoskeletal System: Arthrosis.

Nervous System: Agitation, catatonic reaction, hypokinesia, reflexes increased, tardive dyskinesia, vertigo.

Skin and Appendages: Furunculosis, maculopapular rash, seborrhea.

Special Senses: Conjunctivitis, dry eyes, eye pain.

Urogenital: Dysuria.


Although Depacon has not been evaluated for safety and efficacy in the prophylactic treatment of migraine headaches, the following adverse reactions not listed above were reported by 1% or more of patients from two placebo-controlled clinical trials of Depakote (Divalproex Sodium) tablets.

Body as a Whole: Face edema.

Digestive System: Dry mouth, stomatitis.

Urogenital System: Cystitis, metrorrhagia, and vaginal hemorrhage.

Post-Marketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post approval use of Depakote. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Dermatologic: Hair texture changes, hair color changes, photosensitivity, erythema multiforme, toxic epidermal necrolysis, nail and nail bed disorders, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Neurologic: There have been several reports of acute or subacute cognitive decline and behavioral changes (apathy or irritability) with cerebral pseudoatrophy on imaging associated with valproate therapy; both the cognitive/behavioral changes and cerebral pseudoatrophy reversed partially or fully after valproate discontinuation.

Psychiatric: Emotional upset, psychosis, aggression, psychomotor hyperactivity, hostility, disturbance in attention, learning disorder, and behavioral deterioration.

Musculoskeletal: Fractures, decreased bone mineral density, osteopenia, osteoporosis, and weakness.

Hematologic: Relative lymphocytosis, macrocytosis, leucopenia, anemia including macrocytic with or without folate deficiency, bone marrow suppression, pancytopenia, aplastic anemia, agranulocytosis, and acute intermittent porphyria.

Endocrine: Irregular menses, secondary amenorrhea, hyperandrogenism, hirsutism, elevated testosterone level, breast enlargement, galactorrhea, parotid gland swelling, polycystic ovary disease, decreased carnitine concentrations, hyponatremia, hyperglycinemia, and inappropriate ADH secretion.

There have been rare reports of Fanconi's syndrome occurring chiefly in children.

Metabolism and nutrition: Weight gain.

Reproductive: Aspermia, azoospermia, decreased sperm count, decreased spermatozoa motility, male infertility, and abnormal spermatozoa morphology.

Genitourinary: Enuresis and urinary tract infection.

Special Senses: Hearing loss.

Other: Allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, developmental delay, bone pain, bradycardia, and cutaneous vasculitis.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Depacon (Valproate Sodium Injection)

Related Resources for Depacon

© Depacon Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Depacon Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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