Depakote (DEH-pah-kote) is a brand name used in the United States for a type of medicine called divalproex (di-VAL-pro-eks) sodium. The same product is known as Epival in Canada. It is not available in every country.
The active ingredient in Depakote changes in the body to valproate (val-PRO-ate), so you may also see this name used if you read about Depakote. A few other medicines also become valproate, so their effects are virtually identical. The other valproate medicines in the United States are Depakene, Depacon (given by injection), and some generic (non-brand name) forms. Depakote is not available in generic form.
Depakote has been available in the United States since 1983, so doctors have plenty of experience in using it.
Forms of Depakote
In the United States, Depakote is sold by Abbott Laboratories. The name or appearance may be different in various countries but usually the dose (measured in milligrams, abbreviated "mg") will be the same. These descriptions apply to the U.S. versions:
|125-mg (salmon pink)|
|250-mg (peach color)|
|125-mg (white and blue)
Capsules oversized for easy opening
How to take and store Depakote
Follow the doctor's directions. Call if you have any questions. Ask the doctor what to do if you forget a dose. The way the medicine is taken depends, of course, on what form the doctor has prescribed.
Most doctors recommend taking Depakote with food to avoid an upset stomach, but it can also be taken without food. Because food affects the way medicine is used by the body, try to be consistent day in and day out. A person who usually takes Depakote with meals should do that all the time.
The sprinkle capsule is a way for small children or older people who have trouble swallowing pills to take Depakote. The capsule can be swallowed whole, but it is designed to be opened. Sprinkle all the contents onto a teaspoon of soft food such as applesauce, custard, ice cream, oatmeal, pudding, or yogurt. Combine the medicine and the food. Then it should all be swallowed right away, without chewing. Drinking a glass of water or another liquid may help with swallowing. Don't save any of the mixture for later.
As the doctor increases the amount of Depakote, you may be given a different kind of pills than the ones you've been using. For example, you may start out using 250-mg tablets and then switch to 500-mg tablets. If this happens, be careful to use the correct number. Don't automatically continue to use the same number of pills as before.
Store both types of Depakote at room temperature and keep the pills away from light and dampness. Don't keep them in the bathroom if it's damp there. And of course keep both kinds where children can't get at them.
What if I forget?
In general, if you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, delay that dose for a few hours, instead of taking two doses very close together. Then go back to the regular schedule. If you're not sure about what to do, call the doctor's office for more advice.
Do your best to follow the doctor's directions. The more often a medicine must be taken, the greater the chance of forgetting, and some people need to take Depakote three or four times every day. This can be difficult. If you forget doses often, it may be a good idea to get a special pillbox or watch with an alarm to remind you. You also might ask the doctor whether you can switch to Depakote ER, which is taken only once a day.
Taking the right amount of seizure medicine on time every single day is the most important step in preventing seizures!
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tegretol or depakote for primary generalized grand mal seizures
Created by at12/17/07 - 2:05 pm