What is divalproex sodium?
It is used in the UK and U.S. for the treatment of the manic episodes of bipolar disorder, and increasingly taken long-term for prevention of both manic and depressive phases of bipolar disorder, especially the rapid-cycling variant. It is also used in the US for the treatment of epilepsy.
Divalproex sodium affects chemicals in the body that may be involved in causing seizures.
Divalproex sodium is used to treat various types of seizure disorders. Divalproex sodium is sometimes used together with other seizure medications.
Divalproex sodium may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about divalproex sodium?
In rare cases, divalproex sodium 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). Divalproex sodium 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 divalproex sodium for several years. Seek emergency medical attention if the person taking this medicine has nausea, vomiting, 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. Divalproex sodium can cause birth defects. Do not use this medication without your doctor's consent if you are pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Do not stop taking the medication even if you feel better. It is important to take divalproex sodium regularly to prevent seizures from recurring. Call your doctor promptly if this medicine does not seem to be working as well in preventing your seizures. Do not crush, chew, break, or open a delayed-release or extended-release tablet or capsule. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking or opening the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time. Carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet stating that you are taking divalproex sodium, in case of emergency. Any doctor, dentist, or emergency medical care provider who treats you should know that you are taking divalproex sodium.
Avoid using other drugs that make you sleepy (such as other seizure medicines, alcohol, cold medicine, pain medication, muscle relaxers, and medicine for depression or anxiety). They can add to sleepiness caused by divalproex sodium.