Where a drug does not have an adequately robust body of documented and accessible history of clinical trials to rely on, one might be well-advised to research such a medication as carefully and as thoroughly as possible to make an informed decision before beginning a prescription. Some of this important information will be outlined below.
It is vital to note that Depakote (valproate, et al.) was approved for treating bipolar disorder after only very short trials were done on hospitalized acute mania patients. No long-term trials were ever completed that demonstrated the long-term safety or effectiveness of Depakote. Nonetheless, Depakote has been prescribed to millions of people since its approval in 1983.
There is a much larger body of evidence that has accumulated post-marketing of the drug that includes adverse side effects, symptoms of withdrawal and other information which we will cover below.
Always seek reliable medical advice before starting or stopping a prescription drug such as Depakote.
Depakote is used in the treatment of seizure disorders, often in combination with other medications that can manage seizure disorders.
Bipolar disorder is also treated with Depakote, where mania or hypomania presents. Manic episodes are described as distinct periods of abnormally sustained elevated mood that is sometimes combined with other characteristics potentially including irritability and hostility. Other typical symptoms include machine-gun type speech, reduced need to sleep, grandiosity, absence of good judgment, motor hyperactivity, and what can appear to be an expansive flood of fanciful ideas.
Depakote is also used to prevent migraine headaches, but not in the case of pregnant women.
Off-label uses include alcohol dependency, to quell impulsivity and aggressive behavior. Depakote is also sometimes used as an adjunctive medication in the management of schizophrenia or other disorders.
Other trade names for the generic valproate, sodium valproate, or divalproex delayed release, include Depakene, Depakote ER (extended release), Depakote Sprinkles, Stavzor, and Alti-Voproic.
The drug is available in a liquid capsule, tablet or in syrup forms. Depakote Sprinkles are designed so that if a person cannot swallow it in capsule form it can be sprinkled on applesauce or other type of soft food. One capsule of Sprinkles is meant to be used all at once.
Depakote is often administered as an adjunctive medication, for instance with antipsychotics, SSRI’s, SNRI’s, or other mood stabilizing drugs. It may be difficult to ascertain in such circumstances exactly what drug is causing what side effect; therefore each patient should be monitored carefully in this regard for reactions needing medical attention.
There are some known severe side effects that require careful monitoring while on Depakote, including:
Of prime importance is not to abruptly stop using Depakote. Always get medical advice and guidance before stopping an AED.
The most commonly reported Depakote withdrawal symptoms are:
It may become necessary or desired to stop Depakote. How to quit Depakote and Depakote alternatives are what we specialize in at the Alternative to Meds Center. We have protocols for tapering Depakote and bridging in natural alternatives to Depakote that can make the withdrawal from Depakote gentle and sustainable. Except in certain circumstances where continuing the drug is not possible, i.e., life-threatening, Depakote, as with all similar medications, should be gently tapered off with proper monitoring, support, and guidance.
If tapering is done correctly it can be a mild procedure. Done too fast, it can be extremely difficult and can introduce undesirable risks to health.
Below, some information is provided regarding the most frequently asked questions about Depakote, concerning mechanism of action, how it can affect the body adversely, and other things to be aware of.
At ATMC, our goal is to help people safely taper off medications where possible, in a comfortable and compassionate setting. The center is staffed by doctors, nurses, therapists and other care-givers who are well-versed in gentle and effective methods of tapering.
Rather than focus on Depakote addiction or Depakote abuse, the health goals of the individual are of primary importance. Using such protocols as holistic neurotransmitter replacement therapy, toxicity removal, and many other helpful techniques, we can help a person regain optimal health, while at the same reducing the need for prescription drugs, while effectively preventing unwanted withdrawal side effects.
Each person has uniqueness in their make-up, genetic profile, sensitivities, strengths, and personal goals. That is why each client at the center receives a treatment plan tailored to meet those goals specifically.
More information is available on request, and we would welcome further inquiries or requests for more details on our therapies and treatments that could provide you the necessary bridge back to good health.
Dr. Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine. Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.