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Talk to your doctor
The content of Moodletter is for informational purposes only. You should consult with your professional health care provider about your diagnosis and treatment.
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Valproic acid, Depakote
for bipolar mania and mixed states
Valproic acid is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It is used to treat mania or mixed episodes in people with bipolar disorder. It is also used to treat certain types of seizures and to prevent migraine headaches.
How is it taken?
Take valproic acid at around the same time(s) every day. Take valproic acid with food to help to prevent stomach upset. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Your doctor may start you on a low dose of valproic acid and gradually increase your dose.
If you forget a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Store it at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
What do I need to tell my doctor?
What are its side effects?
Some people have experienced serious liver problems while taking valproic acid. Your doctor should check your liver function before you start this medication and at frequent intervals thereafter.
Valproic acid may cause serious or life-threatening damage to the pancreas. This may occur at any time during your treatment. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
Do not stop taking valproic acid without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking valproic acid, you may experience a severe, long-lasting and possibly life-threatening seizure.
What else do I need to know?
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Understanding bipolar disorder
Classes of antidepressants
Coping with medication side effects
How to save on medications
Tips for managing your medications
Page updated February 1, 2008