Valproic Acid

(val-PRO-ik) 

Valproic acid (Depakene, Depakote, Depakote Sprinkle Depacon, Depakote ER) is used alone, or with other drugs, to treat certain types of seizures in the treatment of epilepsy.

It also is used to prevent migraine headaches, and to treat mood disorders.

It is available in a number of different dosage forms, including:

  • Delayed release tablets: 125 mg, 250 mg, 500 mg
  • Divalproex sodium, sprinkle capsules: 125 mg
  • Extended release tablets: 250 mg, 500 mg
  • Valproic acid capsules: 250 mg
  • Sodium valproate, syrup: 250 mg/ 5 mL
  • Sodium valproate, injection: 100 mg/mL (5 mL) 
  • Valproic acid may cause an upset stomach. Make sure valproic acid is taken with food and that your child drinks plenty of water.
  • Do not give the liquid form of this medication to your child with carbonated beverages.
  • The regular capsules, delayed release, or extended release tablets should be swallowed whole. Instruct your child to do not bite, crush or chew the tablets.
  • The sprinkle capsule may be swallowed whole, or the contents of the capsule may be sprinkled on a teaspoonful of soft food, such as applesauce or pudding, and swallowed. Do not allow your child to chew the food containing the medicine particles.
  • Ensure your child continues to take valproic acid even if he / she feels well. Your child should not stop taking valproic acid without talking to his / her healthcare provider, especially if your child has taken it for a long time.
  • Tell your child's healthcare provider and pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications (OTC) he / she is taking.
  • Do not use after the expiration date on the bottle / package.
  • If too much medication is taken by accident, call the Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC) at 513-636-5111, or 1-800-222-1222, or call your child's doctor immediately.
  • Keep this medication out of the reach of children.

For any medication information related to your child's dosing schedule and/or missed doses, contact the healthcare provider who prescribed the medication.  

Valproic acid can cause liver disorder. Call your child's doctor if your child develops symptoms of liver disorder that include:

  • Abdominal or stomach cramps
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting / nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Facial swelling
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)

  • experiencing weakness
  • facial swelling
  • skin rash
  • easy bruising or tiny purple-colored spots
  • unusual bleeding
  • unexplained fever
  • severe abdominal pain
  • loss of seizure control
  • severe vomiting
  • dark urine, or jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes). 

Last Updated 12/2013