Depakote is a medication that has been treating bipolar disorder for many years. It is important to know what side effects the drug may have on the patient, and how it interacts with other medications. This article will discuss these points in detail, as well as provide information about Depakote’s effectiveness in treating bipolar disorder.
What Is Depakote?
Depakote is a prescription medication that helps to treat bipolar disorder. It can also help to prevent seizures in people with epilepsy. Depakote belongs to a group of medications called anticonvulsants. It works by decreasing the number of seizures you have or by helping to control mood swings. This medication comes in tablet form and is taken by mouth.
Depakote For Bipolar Disorder
Depakote is a prescription medication that is FDA-approved for the treatment of bipolar disorder. It is a mood stabilizer that you should take orally. Depakote for bipolar disorder works by regulating the activity of certain chemicals in your brain, called neurotransmitters, which help to control moods and behavior.
This medication is sometimes used in combination with other medications to treat certain mental/mood disorders. One can also use this alone or with antidepressants (e.g., fluoxetine, sertraline), antipsychotics (e.g., clozapine, olanzapine), and mood stabilizers (e.g., lithium).
Depakote for bipolar is intended for use in individuals who are at least 12 years old; Depakote XL has not been studied in children younger than 17 years old.
Working of Depakote for Bipolar Disorder
Depakote for bipolar works by changing the effects of chemicals in your brain. These changes affect the abnormal electrical activity that is associated with seizures and mania. Depakote for bipolar also has a calming effect on individuals who suffer from depression, psychosis, or anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This medicine works by slowing down impulses in your brain that cause seizures and other medical problems.
Directions To Use Depakote for Bipolar Disorder
These are some directions to use Depakote for bipolar.
- You usually take Depakote as a single dose either in the morning or evening, with or without food. When Depakote medication is used to treat seizures, it must be taken every day in regularly spaced doses as ordered by your doctor.
- When Depakote was added to lithium and valproate treatment of epilepsy, withdrawal reactions were reported (i.e., symptoms such as nausea and vomiting). Therefore, if you are also taking lithium and/or valproic acid, your doctor will probably reduce their dosage slowly when stopping this medicine (see Drug Interactions section below).
Dosage of Depakote for Bipolar Disorder
The dosage of Depakote for bipolar disorder will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- the severity of your symptoms
- your age
- any other medical conditions you may have
Your doctor will start you on a low dose of Depakote and gradually increase it as needed. The usual starting dose is 250 mg per day, taken in two doses (125 mg each). If you are taking the extended-release tablet (Depakote ER), your doctor may prescribe 500 mg once daily.
Side Effects of Depakote for Bipolar Disorder
Some common side effects of Depakote for bipolar disorder include:
This side-effect means that you may feel drowsy, tired, or dizzy. This may affect your ability to drive and/or operate machinery safely. This side-effect usually decreases over time.
Nausea and Vomiting
You may experience nausea (an uneasy or sick feeling in your stomach) and vomiting (throwing up). These symptoms usually improve after a few weeks of treatment.
Some people taking Depakote for bipolar disorder may lose their hair. This is more common in women than in men.
Depakote can cause depression, especially when it is first started. You should tell your doctor if you have any signs of depression, such as: feeling sad or hopeless, losing interest in things you used to enjoy, changes in weight or appetite, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, thoughts of suicide, and difficulty concentrating.
You may experience constipation, which means that it will be harder to have a bowel movement. This side-effect usually goes away over time.
Depakote for bipolar disorder can also cause dizziness or drowsiness. You should not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medicine affects you because of the risk of accidents if these symptoms are severe.
This medication may cause skin rash (hives) or itching skin, especially after starting treatment with Depakote for bipolar disorder. If your doctor determines that it is a side-effect of this drug, he/she might change your dose or switch you to another type of anti-epileptic medication such as lamotrigine (Lamictal).
Some people taking Depakote for bipolar disorder may gain weight. This is more common in women than men and children. You should tell your doctor if you have any concerns about this side-effect.
You may experience diarrhea, which means that it will be harder to control bowel movements (stools) or lose them altogether with loose stools; sometimes the stool color changes from brown to green after starting treatment with Depakote for bipolar disorder.
In conclusion, Depakote is a medication that can help to treat bipolar disorder. Some common side effects include drowsiness, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, depression, constipation, dizziness, and rash/itching skin. Weight gain and diarrhea may also occur in some people. Your doctor will gradually increase the dosage of Depakote depending on your symptoms. It is important to tell your doctor if you experience any severe side effects while taking this medicine.
A Word From Mantra Care
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.
At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.