Depakene Warnings and Precautions
Depakene warnings and precautions should be reviewed with your healthcare provider prior to beginning treatment. Tell your healthcare provider if you have liver disease, a blood disorder, or any allergies. You should also tell him or her if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. Additional Depakene warnings and precautions include potential drug interactions and possible side effects, such as the risk of low platelets in the blood.
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You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Depakene® (valproic acid) if you have:
- Liver disease, such as liver failure or cirrhosis
- A urea cycle disorder
- Mental retardation
- A blood disorder
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Depakene include the following:
- There have been cases of liver failure caused by Depakene. Children under two years old are at especially high risk, especially children with mental retardation, brain damage or disease, or certain other health problems. Depakene is not approved for children under 10 years old and should rarely be used in young children, due to the risk of liver damage.
- You should not take Depakene if you have liver disease. Also, you should not take it if you have a urea cycle disorder (a problem with the enzymes that clear ammonia from the body, leading to high ammonia levels in the blood), as Depakene may make this condition worse. You should be evaluated for a urea cycle disorder if you have a history of:
- A brain disease or problem associated with pregnancy
- Unexplained brain disease or problems
- Unexplained mental retardation
- High ammonia levels in your blood
- Vomiting and lethargy that comes and goes regularly.
- Depakene can cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), which may be dangerous. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you have any signs of pancreatitis, including:
- Severe abdominal pain (stomach pain)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite.
- Elderly people may be more sensitive to Depakene side effects, such as drowsiness. If you are elderly and take Depakene, your healthcare provider should monitor you more closely.
- The medication can cause low platelets in the blood (thrombocytopenia) in some people. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any unusual bruises or bleeding during treatment with Depakene.
- As with all seizure medications, Depakene should not be stopped suddenly (see Valproic Acid Withdrawal).
- Let your healthcare provider know right away if you have a rash along with a fever or any other symptoms, as this may be a sign of a dangerous allergic reaction.
- Depakene can interact with certain other medications (see Depakene Drug Interactions).
- Depakene is considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for pregnant women. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug while pregnant (see Valproic Acid and Pregnancy). Depakene may increase the risk of birth defects and "cognitive impairment" problems (such as lower intelligence).
- Depakene passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Valproic Acid and Breastfeeding).
Early evidence suggests that seizure medications, including Depakene, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors (see Seizure Medications and Suicide for more information).