Depakene (valproic acid)

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Brand Name

Depakene {Abbott}

Generic Name

valproic acid, pronounced Vahl pro ick asid


What is Depakene?

Depakene is a medication that treats various types of seizure disorders. Depakene helps with seizures by affecting the chemicals and nerves in the body that can cause the seizure activity. You may be prescribed Depakene as either sole or adjunctive therapy to treat simple and complex absence seizures.

Depakene may also be used for purposes not described in this medication guide.


Key Facts About Depakene

Depakene may be used alone or in combination with other medications to treat epileptic seizures in adults and children over age ten (10).

You should not take Depakene if you are allergic to any ingredient in valproate or if you have a urea cycle disorder or liver problems.

Taking Depakene may cause you to have thoughts about suicide, or mood changes like anxiety, depression, or hyperactivity (mental or physical). You should tell your doctor immediately if you have any of these conditions, or if your seizures worsen.

You should not stop taking Depakene for seizures or epilepsy without talking to your doctor, even if you think you are better. Stopping this medication suddenly may cause you to have increased seizures. Tell your doctor if you want to stop taking Depakene and he or she will gradually taper you off of this medication

You should have a medical ID card or wear a medical ID bracelet to let others know that you are taking Depakene. Be sure to let any doctor or dentist know that you are taking Depakene.

Depakene is in pregnancy category D, and this medication does cause birth defects. You should not take Depakene if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Depakene can also affect the cognitive development in children born to mothers who take this medication during pregnancy.

If you become pregnant while taking Depakene do not suddenly stop taking your medication. Tell your doctor immediately and he or she will help you to safely stop taking Depakene.

Depakene can pass into breast milk, so you should not breast-feed while taking Depakene.


Before You Take Depakene

If you are allergic to valproic acid you should not take Depakene.

Tell your doctor right away if you have liver disease or a urea cycle disorder, as you cannot take Depakene with these conditions.

If you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder or an HIV or CMV (cytomegalovirus) infection you should tell your doctor before taking Depakene.

If you have a history of head injury, brain disorder, or coma, or a family history of a urea cycle disorder you should tell your doctor before starting treatment with Depakene.

If you have a family history of infant deaths with unknown cause you should inform your doctor before taking Depakene.

Be sure that you keep your regular appointments with your doctor while you are taking Depakene, and tell your family to be alert to any behavior changes you may have. If you have any concerns about your history of depression or mood disorders talk to your doctor before starting treatment with Depakene.

Depakene has also caused rare cases of life-threatening pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of your pancreas. Pancreatitis can come on suddenly and symptoms can start even after you have been taking Depakene for several years.

Be aware that Depakene may cause your reaction time to be impaired. Take care to have someone with you when you are driving and first start taking Depakene, until you know how you will react to this medication.

Depakene may make you more sensitive to the effects of the sun. Be sure to wear an SPF and protective clothing when going outdoors, and avoid tanning beds.


Depakene Drug Interactions

You should inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following:

  • aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
  • clozapine (Clozaril, FazaClo)
  • diazepam (Valium)
  • ethosuximide (Zarontin)
  • imipenem and cilastatin (Primaxin)
  • meropenem (Merrem)
  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater)
  • tolbutamide (Orinase)
  • topiramate (Topamax)
  • zidovudine (Retrovir)

Other drugs you take that are not listed may interact with Depakene. You should tell your doctor about all of the medications you use. This includes prescription drugs, vitamins, supplements and herbal products, and over the counter medications. You should not begin taking a new medication without telling your doctor first.


Directions for Taking Depakene

You should take Depakene exactly how your doctor has told you to. It is important that you do not take Depakene in larger or smaller amounts, or for longer or shorter than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label and follow any dose changes carefully if your doctor instructs you to change your dose.

You can take Depakene with or without food.

You should not break, chew or crush the soft gelatin capsule. Swallow it whole.

If you are taking the oral solution of Depakene be sure to use a special dose measuring device to take your dose. Do not use a regular table spoon, If you do not have a special dose measuring cup or spoon your doctor or pharmacy can give you one.

Depakene may cause you to have unusual results with certain medical tests. Be sure that you tell any doctor or laboratory that you are taking Depakene. You can wear a medical alert bracelet or carry an ID card stating that you take Depakene.

Depakene tablets should be stored at room temperature, and away from both moisture and heat. Do not freeze the Depakene liquid.

If you miss a dose of Depakene you should attempt to take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, or if your next dose is less than 12 hours away you should skip the dose you missed.


Depakene Side Effects

If you experience any of the following adverse effects you should stop taking Depakene and seek emergency medical help immediately:

  • allergic reaction including breathing difficulties, hives and swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • confusion
  • double vision or back-and-forth movements of your eyes
  • extreme drowsiness
  • fainting
  • fever
  • flu like symptoms and body aches
  • hallucinations
  • increased seizure activity
  • jaundice or yellowing of your skin
  • lack of coordination
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • pancreatitis symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, upper stomach pain, or loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools and jaundice
  • skin reaction that is severe, with a fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, and followed by purple or red skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling
  • swollen glands
  • vomiting
  • urinating less than usual or not at all

Less serious side effects of Depakene for adults and children may include:

  • breast swelling
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • hair loss
  • menstrual period changes
  • tremors or shaking
  • unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • upset stomach
  • vision changes
  • weakness
  • weight changes

It should be noted that this is not a complete list of possible side effects of Depakene. You should contact your physician for a complete list and medical advice regarding these effects.


Depakene Description and Dosing

Depakene is available as 250 mg capsules. The capsules are orange-colored, soft gelatin and have the trademark Depakene for product identification. Depakene is also available as a red Oral Solution, which contains the equivalent of 250 mg valproic acid per 5 mL.

Dosing of Depakene is individualized based on individual patient needs. Your doctor will tell you what the appropriate dose of Depakene is for you. Do not attempt to alter or change your dose without your physician’s consent.

If you suspect that you have overdosed with Depakene you should seek emergency help immediately.


Ingredients in Depakene

The main ingredient in Depakene is valproic acid. Additional inactive ingredients in the 250 mg capsules are corn oil, FD&C Yellow No. 6, gelatin, glycerin, iron oxide, methylparaben, propylparaben, and titanium dioxide. Additional inactive ingredients in the oral solution are FD&C Red No. 40, glycerin, methylparaben, propylparaben, sorbitol, sucrose, water, and natural and artificial flavors.

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The information contained in this drug guide is intended as an educational resource only. This guide is not exhaustive and does not contain all available information about this drug.This guide is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatment.

The information provided in this guide does not replace the need for the advice and services of medical professionals or the need for medical examination. Always talk to your physician or pharmacist before taking any prescription medication or over the counter drugs (including any supplements) or before making any changes to your treatment. Only your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can provide you with safe and effective advice regarding your drug treatment.

The use of the information in this guide is at your sole risk. This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties to accuracy or timeliness.

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