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Divalproex Sodium

Divalproex Sodium

Descriptions of Divalproex Sodium

Divalproex sodium is used to treat certain types of seizures (epilepsy). This medicine is an anticonvulsant that works in the brain tissue to stop seizures.

Divalproex sodium is also used to treat the manic phase of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and helps prevent migraine headaches.

Uses

This medication is used to treat seizure disorders, certain psychiatric conditions (manic phase of bipolar disorder), and to prevent migraine headaches. It works by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain.

How should I take divalproex sodium?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

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.

If you cannot swallow a sprinkle capsule whole, open it and sprinkle the medicine into a spoonful of pudding or applesauce. Swallow the mixture right away. Do not save it for later use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

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

How does Divalproex Sodium affect the brain?

Brain cells need to work (fire) at a certain rate to function normally. During a seizure, brain cells are forced to work much more rapidly than normal. Depakote helps prevent brain cells from working as fast as a seizure requires them to. In this way, seizures can be stopped when they are just beginning.

We don't completely understand how Depakote works. Doctors think that it may work in several ways at once. That could be why it works for so many different kinds of seizures.

Precautions

A greater risk of liver damage exists in patients with kidney disease, known liver disease, Addison's disease, blood diseases, children under the age of two, patients with organic brain diseases (such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, slow virus infections, Huntington's chorea, multiple sclerosis, etc.), patients with metabolic disorders present at birth, patients with severe seizure disorders and accompanying mental retardation , and patients who are taking several other anticonvulsant drugs.

Because divalproex sodium can affect a patient's blood by dropping the platelet (a type of blood cell that affects clotting) count and interfering with coagulation (clotting) capability, both platelet count and coagulation parameters should be verified before starting the medication and at intervals throughout its use.

Divalproex sodium is known to cause an increased risk of birth defects when taken during pregnancy. An individual and her health care provider must weigh the potential risks and benefits of using this medication during pregnancy. Women who take this medicine should not breast-feed, since a small amount will pass into the breast milk

Divalproex sodium causes drowsiness and impairs alertness in some individuals. Patients just beginning to use the medication should avoid driving and using dangerous machinery until they determine how the drug affects them. The sedative effects are increased in the presence of alcohol, so patients should avoid drinking while taking medicines containing divalproex sodium.

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