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Depakote and Migraine Prevention

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Updated June 20, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

What Is Depakote?:

Depakote was originally developed as an anticonvulsant medication used to treat seizure disorder, but it has also been approved for use in preventing migraines. It is a medication that needs to be taken every day in order to prevent migraines. Depakote is also used in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Scientists are not exactly sure how depakote works, but it may be through multiple ways, including pathways involving GABA, one of the chemicals that nerves use to communicate.

Side Effects of Depakote:

Common side effects of Depakote include:

  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • rash
  • weight gain
  • increased appetite
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • visual changes
  • back pain
  • upper respiratory symptoms (i.e., runny nose, bronchitis, etc.)

Be sure to discuss any side effects you may experience with your health care provider.

Major Drug Interactions:

Most medications will interact with one or more prescription or over-the-counter remedy. This is the case with Depakote as well. Certain medications that pass through the liver, such as phenytoin and carbamazepine, will be metabolized more quickly when you are on Depakote. Your health care provider can help you understand whether or not you should be concerned about drug interactions.

Special Precautions When Taking Depakote:

As with all medications, discuss with your healthcare provider whether or not Depakote is safe for you to use. Depakote can cause liver damage, especially within the first 6 months of use. It has also been known to cause fatal pancreatitis.

Pregnant women should not take Depakote because of its tendency to cause birth defects. Depakote can cause other problems with a patient's blood count, so your doctor will need to order blood tests from time to time.

Source:

Depakote Package Insert. Abbot Laboratories. Revised November 2009. http://www.rxabbott.com/pdf/dep3.pdf

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