Depakote Sprinkles

Generic Name: divalproex sodium (Oral route)

dye-VAL-proe-ex SOE-dee-um

Oral routeTablet, Enteric CoatedTablet, Extended ReleaseCapsule, Delayed Release
  • Hepatotoxicity
    • Hepatic failure resulting in fatalities has occurred in patients receiving valproic acid and its derivatives. Children under the age of two years are at a considerably increased risk of developing fatal hepatotoxicity, especially those on multiple anticonvulsants, those with congenital metabolic disorders, those with severe seizure disorders accompanied by mental retardation, and those with organic brain disease. When divalproex sodium is used in this patient group, it should be used with extreme caution and as a sole agent. The benefits of therapy should be weighed against the risks. The incidence of fatal hepatotoxicity decreases considerably in progressively older patient groups.
    • These incidents usually have occurred during the first six months of treatment. Serious or fatal hepatotoxicity may be preceded by non-specific symptoms such as malaise, weakness, lethargy, facial edema, anorexia, and vomiting. In patients with epilepsy, a loss of seizure control may also occur. Patients should be monitored closely for appearance of these symptoms. Liver function tests should be performed prior to therapy and at frequent intervals thereafter, especially during the first six months.
  • Teratogenicity
    • Valproate can produce teratogenic effects such as neural tube defects (eg, spina bifida). Accordingly, the use of divalproex sodium in women of childbearing potential requires that the benefits of its use be weighed against the risk of injury to the fetus. This is especially important when the treatment of a spontaneously reversible condition not ordinarily associated with permanent injury or risk of death (eg, migraine) is contemplated.
    • An information sheet describing the teratogenic potential of valproate is available for patients.
  • Pancreatitis
    • Cases of life-threatening pancreatitis have been reported in both children and adults receiving valproate. Some of the cases have been described as hemorrhagic with a rapid progression from initial symptoms to death. Cases have been reported shortly after initial use as well as after several years of use. Patients and guardians should be warned that abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or anorexia can be symptoms of pancreatitis that require prompt medical evaluation. If pancreatitis is diagnosed, valproate should ordinarily be discontinued. Alternative treatment for the underlying medical condition should be initiated as clinically indicated .

Hepatotoxicity (some cases fatal), usually occurring during the first 6 months of treatment, has been reported in patients receiving valproic acid and its derivatives. Children under the age of two years are at a considerably increased risk of developing fatal hepatotoxicity. Monitor patients closely, and perform liver function tests prior to therapy and at frequent intervals thereafter. Valproate can produce teratogenic effects such as neural tube defects (eg, spina bifida). Accordingly, the use of divalproex sodium in women of childbearing potential requires that the benefits of its use be weighed against the risk of injury to the fetus. Life-threatening pancreatitis has been reported in both children and adults receiving valproate. If pancreatitis is diagnosed, valproate should ordinarily be discontinued .

Commonly used brand name(s):

In the U.S.

  • Depakote
  • Depakote DR
  • Depakote ER
  • Depakote Sprinkles

In Canada

  • Alti-Valproic

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Tablet, Extended Release
  • Tablet, Enteric Coated
  • Tablet, Delayed Release
  • Capsule, Delayed Release
  • Syrup

Therapeutic Class: Anticonvulsant

Pharmacologic Class: Valproic Acid

Chemical Class: Valproic Acid

Uses For Depakote Sprinkles

Divalproex sodium is used alone or together with other medicines to control certain types of seizures (convulsions) in the treatment of 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.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using Depakote Sprinkles

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of divalproex sodium in children. However, safety and efficacy have not been established in children below 10 years of age. Because of divalproex sodium's toxicity, use in children below 2 years of age requires extreme caution.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of divalproex sodium in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have unwanted effects (e.g., tremors or unusual drowsiness), which may require an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving divalproex sodium.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersDStudies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease, may outweigh the potential risk.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Doripenem
  • Ertapenem
  • Imipenem
  • Lamotrigine
  • Meropenem
  • Primidone
  • Vorinostat

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Acyclovir
  • Aspirin
  • Betamipron
  • Carbamazepine
  • Cholestyramine
  • Clomipramine
  • Erythromycin
  • Ethosuximide
  • Felbamate
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Ginkgo
  • Lopinavir
  • Lorazepam
  • Mefloquine
  • Nimodipine
  • Nortriptyline
  • Olanzapine
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Panipenem
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Rifampin
  • Rifapentine
  • Risperidone
  • Ritonavir
  • Rufinamide
  • Topiramate
  • Zidovudine

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Brain disease, severe or
  • Congenital metabolism disorders (born with a disease that affects metabolism) or
  • Mental retardation with severe seizure disorders—Use with caution. May increase risk for more serious side effects.
  • Liver disease or
  • Urea cycle disorder (genetic disorder)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)—May make these conditions worse.

Proper Use of divalproex sodium

This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain divalproex sodium. It may not be specific to Depakote Sprinkles. Please read with care.

Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To keep blood levels constant, take this medicine at the same time each day and do not miss any doses.

This medicine comes with a medication guide and patient information insert. Read and follow the instructions in the insert carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

You may take this medicine with food to avoid stomach upset.

The sprinkle capsules may be opened and the contents may be sprinkled onto soft food such as applesauce or pudding. This mixture must be swallowed immediately without chewing and followed with a glass of water to ensure complete swallowing of the sprinkles.

Swallow the extended release tablet whole with a full glass of water. Do not split, crush, or chew it.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage forms (delayed-release tablets):
    • For mania:
      • Adults—At first, 750 milligrams (mg) once a day, usually divided in smaller doses. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 60 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For migraine:
      • Adults—At first, 250 milligrams (mg) two times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 1000 mg a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For seizures:
      • Adults and children 10 years of age or older—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. At first, the usual dose is 10 to 15 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight a day to start. Your doctor may increase your dose gradually every week by 5 to 10 mg per kg of body weight if needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 60 mg per kg of body weight a day. If the total dose a day is greater than 250 mg, it is usually divided into smaller doses and taken two or more times during the day.
      • Children below 10 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For oral dosage forms (extended release tablets):
    • For mania:
      • Adults—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. At first, the usual dose is 25 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight once a day to start. Your doctor may increase your dose if needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 60 mg per kg of body weight a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For migraine:
      • Adults—At first, 500 milligrams (mg) once a day for 1 week. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 1000 mg a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For seizures:
      • Adults and children 10 years of age or older—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. At first, the usual dose is 10 to 15 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight a day to start. Your doctor may increase your dose gradually every week by 5 to 10 mg per kg of body weight if needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 60 mg per kg of body weight a day.
      • Children below 10 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For oral dosage form (sprinkle capsules):
    • For seizures:
      • Adults and children 10 years of age or older—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. At first, the usual dose is 10 to 15 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight a day to start. Your doctor may increase your dose gradually every week by 5 to 10 mg per kg of body weight if needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 60 mg per kg of body weight a day. If the total dose a day is greater than 250 mg, it is usually divided into smaller doses and taken two or more times during the day.
      • Children below 10 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using Depakote Sprinkles

It is very important that your doctor check your progress closely while you are using this medicine to see if it is working properly and to allow for a change in the dose. Blood tests may be needed to check for any unwanted effects.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant (especially during first trimester) can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

It is very important to take folic acid before getting pregnant and during early pregnancy to lower chances of harmful side effects to your unborn baby. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for help if you are not sure how to choose a folic acid product.

Liver problems may occur while you are using this medicine. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you are having more than one of these symptoms: abdominal pain or tenderness; clay-colored stools; dark urine; decreased appetite; fever; headache; itching; loss of appetite; nausea and vomiting; skin rash; swelling of the feet or lower legs; unusual tiredness or weakness; or yellow eyes or skin.

Pancreatitis may occur while you are using this medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you have sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, or lightheadedness.

Check with your doctor right away if you are having unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness or feelings of sluggishness, changes in mental status, or vomiting. These may be symptoms of a serious condition called hyperammonemic encephalopathy.

Divalproex sodium may cause some people to become dizzy, lightheaded, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or not alert.

Do not stop taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping completely.

Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are taking this medicine. The results of some tests may be affected by this medicine.

Check with your doctor right away if you have unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness; confusion; low body temperature; or loss of consciousness while taking this medicine.

This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions that affect several parts of the body (e.g., liver or kidney). Check with your doctor right away if you have more than one of the following symptoms: fever; dark urine; headache; rash; stomach pain; swollen lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin; unusual tiredness; or yellow eyes or skin.

Divalproex sodium may cause some people to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed. If you notice any of these adverse effects, tell your doctor right away.

This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; barbiturates or medicine for seizures; muscle relaxants; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are taking this medicine.

If you are taking the sprinkle capsules, part of the capsules may pass into your stool after your body has absorbed the medicine. This is normal and nothing to worry about.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Depakote Sprinkles Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
  • Black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • confusion
  • cough or hoarseness
  • crying
  • delusions
  • dementia
  • depersonalization
  • diarrhea
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • dysphoria
  • euphoria
  • fever or chills
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • headache
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • mental depression
  • muscle aches and pains
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • painful or difficult urination
  • paranoia
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • quick to react or overreact emotionally
  • rapid weight gain
  • rapidly changing moods
  • runny nose
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • shivering
  • shortness of breath
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • sore throat
  • sweating
  • tightness in the chest
  • tingling of the hands or feet
  • trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
  • trouble with sleeping
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • unusual weight gain or loss
  • vomiting
  • wheezing
Less common
  • Abnormal dreams
  • absence of or decrease in body movement
  • anxiety
  • bloody nose
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • blurred vision
  • bruising burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • change in personality
  • change in walking and balance
  • changes in patterns and rhythms of speech
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • cold sweats
  • constipation
  • darkened urine
  • degenerative disease of the joint
  • difficulty with moving
  • discouragement
  • dizziness
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
  • dry mouth
  • excessive muscle tone
  • fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
  • fear
  • feeling of warmth or heat
  • feeling sad or empty
  • flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • heavy non-menstrual vaginal bleeding
  • hyperventilation
  • increased need to urinate
  • indigestion
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • lack of coordination
  • large, flat, blue, or purplish patches in the skin
  • leg cramps
  • lip smacking or puckering
  • loss of bladder control
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • loss of strength or energy
  • multiple swollen and inflamed skin lesions
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • muscle tension or tightness
  • normal menstrual bleeding occurring earlier, possibly lasting longer than expected
  • pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • passing urine more often
  • pounding in the ears
  • puffing of the cheeks
  • rapid or worm-like movements of the tongue
  • rapid weight gain
  • restlessness
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • shakiness and unsteady walk
  • slurred speech
  • small red or purple spots on the skin
  • sweating
  • swollen joints
  • tiredness
  • trouble with concentrating
  • trouble with speaking
  • twitching
  • uncontrolled chewing movements
  • uncontrolled movements of the arms and legs
  • unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • yellow eyes or skin

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:

Symptoms of overdose
  • Change in consciousness
  • fainting
  • loss of consciousness
  • slow or irregular heartbeat

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • body aches or pain
  • change in vision
  • congestion
  • continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • hearing loss
  • heartburn
  • impaired vision
  • lack or loss of strength
  • loss of memory
  • problems with memory
  • rash
  • seeing double
  • sleeplessness
  • tender, swollen glands in the neck
  • trouble with swallowing
  • unable to sleep
  • uncontrolled eye movements
  • voice changes
  • weight gain
  • weight loss
Less common
  • Absent, missed, or irregular menstrual periods
  • back pain
  • burning, dry, or itching eyes
  • change in taste or bad unusual or unpleasant (after) taste
  • coin-shaped lesions on the skin
  • cough producing mucus
  • cramps
  • dandruff
  • discharge or excessive tearing
  • dry skin
  • earache
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • eye pain
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • full feeling
  • heavy bleeding
  • increased appetite
  • itching of the vagina or genital area
  • itching skin
  • loss of bowel control
  • neck pain
  • oily skin
  • pain
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • passing gas
  • rash with flat lesions or small raised lesions on the skin
  • redness or swelling in the ear
  • redness, pain, swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
  • redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
  • sensation of spinning
  • sneezing
  • stiff neck
  • stopping of menstrual bleeding
  • thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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  • Depakote Detailed Consumer Information (PDR)
  • Depakote Consumer Overview
  • Depakote Delayed-Release Tablets MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Depakote Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Depakote ER Extended-Release Tablets MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)