side effects, dosage, how to take & discontinue, uses, pros & cons, and more

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US brand name: Depacon
Generic name: sodium valproate

Other Forms: Available in the US only as an intravenous injection. Elsewhere in the world sodium valproate is available as immediate-release and extended-release tablets, syrup, liquid, and injection. In a syrup it’s natrium valproate.

Class: Antieplieptic drug (AED)/ Anticonvulsant (AC), specifically a valproate.

1.  FDA Approved Uses of Depacon (valproate sodium)

The same as Depakene (valproic acid)…

  • Monotherapy and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of patients with complex partial seizures that occur either in isolation or in association with other types of seizures.
  • Monotherapy and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of simple and complex absence seizures.
  • Adjunctive therapy in patients with multiple seizure types which include absence seizures.

…but only if you are unable to swallow a pill.

2.  Approved Uses of Sodium Valproate (Epilim, Orlept, etc.) in Other Countries

It all depends on which country you happen to be in. While sodium valproate is only an ingredient of Depakote, outside of North American it is Depakote. Especially since Depakote has gone off-patent and is now showing up in other countries under the same brand names as sodium valproate, but as an extended-release formulation. Let the confusion get even worse! In any event is approved to treat:

  • All forms of epilepsy, by itself or with other meds (Pretty much everywhere in the world).
  • Bipolar disorder (not as universal as epilepsy).
  • Migraines (practically nowhere).

3.  Off-Label Uses of Depacon (valproate sodium)

4.  Off-Label Uses of Sodium Valproate

  • Treating migraines or bipolar disorder if it’s not approved to do so in whatever country you’re in.
  • status epilepticus.

5.  Sodium Valproate Pros and Cons

5.1  Pros

Proven effective for wide spectra of epilepsies and bipolar disorders. It’s been around for so long that the long-term effects are well known and well documented. If you can get past the initial side effects and get used to a valproate medication, you don’t have to worry about anything biting your ass in the long run. In that your doctor should know all the potentially serious bad shit that can happen, like liver failure, and how to prevent it, like making you get a liver function test between one and four times a year2.

5.2  Cons

The side effects suck donkey dong! The valproates are amongst the harshest meds to take. Everyone (read: the bipolar) hates them so much that they’ve given the entire class of AEDs/anticonvulsants a bad name.

6.  Side Effects

6.1  Typical Side Effects

The usual for SSRIs - headache, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, sleepiness or insomnia, and diarrhea or constipation, weight gain, loss of libido. Most everything will go away after a week or two, but the weight gain and loss of libido might stick around longer. Or permanently.

6.2  Not So Common Side Effects

Twitching, ‘flu-like symptoms, abnormal periods.

6.3  Freaky Rare Side Effects

Bedwetting, reversible dementia and reversible Parkinson’s. I told you you’d get instantly old.

7.  Interesting Stuff Your Doctor Probably Won’t Tell You

  • Taking valproates with food helps reduce a lot of the gastrointestinal problems.
  • Sodium valproate interacts with aspirin. Aspirin prevents you from metabolizing valproates properly, so you’re better off with Aleve (naproxen sodium) or Tylenol (acetaminophen). Ibuprofen is OK, but only if you’re taking no more than 400mg a day. While there is no documented interaction, and , I’d be too freaking paranoid to take Tylenol and a valproate at the same time for more than a couple of days.
  • Your doctor had better damn well be telling you about the regular blood work you need, to check your valproate levels and to make sure your liver is functioning normally.
  • Valproates can sap your body of vitamin D, folic acid, and maybe even calcium. So ask your doctor about tests for vitamin D and calcium levels and supplements. You should probably take 400–1,000mcg of folic acid in any event, but no more than that, otherwise it might interfere with how well sodium valproate works. That folic acid may help you feel a lot less lethargic.


8.  Depacon (valproate sodium) Dosage and How to Take Depacon (valproate sodium)

In the US Depacon is approved to treat what Depakene is approved to treat, and you’re only supposed to be given Depacon if you’re unable to swallow your pills. It’s a one-to-one replacement that requires a professional. It’s all spelled out .

9.  Sodium Valproate Dosage and How to Take Sodium Valproate

Dosage and dosing schedule, like the approval, can depend on where you live. The consensus in the English-speaking world is:

9.1  Epilepsy

Start at 600mg a day and increase by 200mg a day every three days, as required, until seizure control is reached. The dosage range is typically 1,000mg - 2,000mg a day, with a maximum dosage of 2,500mg a day.

9.2  Bipolar Disorder

Start at 600mg a day, increase to 800mg at day two, then increase by 200mg every three days until you stop bouncing off the ceiling.

10.  How Long Depacon (valproate sodium) Takes to Work

Since you’d probably be taking it if you’re in the hospital when you can’t take your regular meds, it’s a moot point. Or if it’s an off-label use in the ER, Depacon either works immediately or not at all.

11.  How Long Sodium Valproate Takes to Work

In theory you should start feeling results once you’re in the therapeutic range of your blood levels, but other countries don’t seem all that interested in blood levels. Your guess is as good as mine.

12.  How to Stop Taking Depacon (valproate sodium)

Don’t worry about it. You’ll either be back on your regular med, or you needed only one or two doses.

13.  How to Stop Taking Depacon (valproate sodium)

Slowly. With most crazy meds we suggest that you reduce your dosage by however much you increased it, but with the rapid loading dose method that is often used for severe mania, that’s not always such a good idea.

14.  How to Stop Taking Sodium Valproate

As with Abbott the only discontinuation instructions Sanofi supplied are “be freaking careful.” Our suggestion to talk to your doctor about is to reduce your dosage by 200mg a day every five to seven days. I can’t do much more than that. Sorry.

For more information, please see the page on how to safely stop taking these crazy meds.

15.  Depacon (valproate sodium) Half-Life & Average Time to Clear Out of Your System

Half-life: 8–12 hours hours. It’s out of your system in 2–3 days.

16.  Days to Reach a Steady State

Valproate sodium’s non-linear. You can’t pin down a hard number on it. I haven’t found a number for it in any study. Based on the usual formula of 6 * half-life, approximately three days.

17.  Shelf life

  • Tablets (overseas): 3 years.
  • IV infusion: 5 years in the vial, 1 day after it’s prepped for use.

18.  Comments

19.  Other brand names & branded generic names1

  • Convulex (Germany), Convulex Syrup (South Africa)
  • Depakene (Japan)
  • Depakin (Bulgaria; Turkey)
  • Depakine (Austria; Bahrain; Belgium; Cyprus; Egypt; France; Greece; Hungary; Iran; Iraq; Jordan; Korea; Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Netherlands; Oman; Portugal; Qatar; Republic of Yemen; Saudi Arabia; Spain; Switzerland; Syria; Thailand; United Arab Emirates)
  • Depakine Chrono (Belgium; Hungary; Poland; Portugal; Taiwan; Thailand)
  • Depakine Druppels (Netherlands)
  • Depakote (France)
  • Depalept (Israel)
  • Epilam (Korea)
  • Epilex (Turkey)
  • Epilim (Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Benin; Bermuda; Burkina Faso; China; Curacao; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guyana; Hong Kong; Ireland; Ivory Coast; Jamaica; Kenya; Kuwait; Liberia; Libya Lebanon; Malawi; Malaysia; Mali; Mauritania; Mauritius; Morocco; Dutch Antilles; New Zealand; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Qatar; Republic of Yemen; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; South Africa; Sudan; Surinam; Syria; Tanzania; Trinidad; Tunisia; Uganda; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Zambia; Zimbabwe)
  • Epilim Chrono (Malaysia)
  • Epival (Bahrain; Costa Rica; Cyprus; Dominican Republic; Egypt; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Iran; Iraq; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Nicaragua; Oman; Panama; Qatar; Republic of Yemen; Saudi Arabia; Syria; United Arab Emirates)
  • Leptilan (Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Benin; Bermuda; Burkina Faso; Curacao; Ecuador; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guyana; Indonesia; Ivory Coast; Jamaica; Kenya; Kuwait; Liberia; Libya Lebanon; Malawi; Malaysia; Mali; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Morocco; Dutch Antilles; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Qatar; Republic of Yemen; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Sudan; Surinam; Syria; Taiwan; Tanzania; Trinidad; Tunisia; Uganda; United Arab Emirates; Zambia; Zimbabwe)
  • Orfil (Korea)
  • Orfiril (Hong Kong; Israel; Peru)
  • Orfiril Retard (Singapore)
  • Petilin (Bahamas; Bahrain; Barbados; Belize; Benin; Bermuda; Burkina Faso; Curacao; Cyprus; Egypt; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guyana; Iran; Iraq; Ivory Coast; Jamaica; Jordan; Kenya; Kuwait; Kuwait; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Libya Lebanon; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mauritius; Morocco; Dutch Antilles; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Oman; Qatar; Republic of Yemen; Republic of Yemen; Saudi Arabia; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Sudan; Surinam; Syria; Syria; Tanzania; Trinidad; Tunisia; Uganda; United Arab Emirates; United Arab Emirates; Zambia; Zimbabwe)
  • Valcote (Ecuador)
  • Valeptol (Korea)
  • Valoin (Korea)
  • Valpakine (Costa Rica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Peru)
  • Valparin (Thailand)
  • Valporal (Israel)
  • Valprax (Peru)
  • Valpro (Australia; Hong Kong)
  • valproate sodium - is Abbott’s preferred generic name. The rest of the world uses sodium valproate.
  • Valsup (Colombia)
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20.  Depacon Ratings, Reviews, & Other Sites of Interest

20.1  Rate Depacon

Give your overall impression of Depacon on a scale of 0 to 5.

Get all critical about Depacon

3 stars Rating 2.6 out of 5 from 22 criticisms.
Vote Distribution: 7 – 0 – 0 – 5 – 8 – 2


20.2  Rate this article

If you’re still feeling judgmental as well as just mental3, please boost or destroy my self-confidence by honestly (and anonymously) rating this article on a scale of 0 to 5. The more value-judgments the better, even if you can criticize my work only once.

Get all judgmental about the Depacon (sodium valproate) Synopsis

4 stars Rates 3.6 out of 5 from 10 value judgments.
Vote Distribution: 1 – 0 – 2 – 0 – 3 – 4



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Pages and Forum Topics Google Thinks are Relevant to Your Mental Health

20.3  Full US PI sheet, Global SPCs & PILs, Other Consumer Review & Rating Sites, check for drug-drug interactions

Drugs.com’s drug-drug and drug-food interaction checker

It’s always a good idea to check for drug-drug interactions yourself. Just because most people in the crazy meds business know about really important interactions (e.g. MAOIs and a lot of stuff, warfarin and everything on the planet) doesn’t mean the person who prescribed your meds told you about them, or the pharmacist has all the meds you take at their fingertips like they’re supposed to. Or they have the time to do their jobs properly when not dealing with complete idiots or playing Angry Farmers on the Faecesbooks.



20.4  Discussion board

If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Depacon discussion board.



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21.  References

  1. Depacon (sodium valproate) Full US Prescribing Information

Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications (Essential Psychopharmacology Series) 3rd edition Stephen M. Stahl

PDR: Physicians’ Desk Reference 2010 64th edition

Instant Psychopharmacology 2nd Edition Ronald J. Diamond M.D. © 2002. Published by W.W. Norton

Primer of Drug Action 12th edition by Robert M. Julien Ph.D., Claire D. Advokat, Joseph Comaty © 2011 Published by Worth Publishers.

The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs Edward Drummond, M.D. © 2000. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Partial Seizure Disorders Mitzi Waltz © 2001. Published by O’Reilly & Associates.

Healing Anxiety & Depression Daniel G. Amen, M.D., and Lisa C. Routh, M.D. © 2003. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Mosby’s Drug Consult 2007 (Generic Prescription Physician’s Reference Book Series) © 2007 An imprint of Elsevier.

The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide David J. Miklowitz, Ph.D © 2002. Published by The Guilford Press.

1 The term "branded generic" has three meanings:
1) A generic drug produced by a generics manufacturer that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company that makes the branded version. E.g. Greenstone Pharmaceuticals makes gabapentin, and they are owned by Pfizer, who also own Parke-Davis, the makers of Neurontin.
2) A branded generic is also a generic drug given a 'brand' name by the manufacturer (e.g. Teva's Budeprion), but otherwise has the same active ingredient as the original branded version (Wellbutrin).
3) A branded generic is also a generic drug given a 'brand' name by the manufacturer (e.g. Sanofi-Aventis' Aplenzin, which is bupropion hydrobromide) and uses a salt of the active ingredient that is different from the original branded version and other generics (Wellbutrin, Budeprion and all the others are bupropion hydrochloride). We aren't sure if that really makes a difference or not. The FDA says they're the same thing. As usual, the data are contradictory, but most evidence indicates that the FDA is right and the differences are negligible.
For our purposes a "branded generic name" refers to the second and third definitions.

2 The vast majority of liver problems show up in the first 6 to 12 months of use, especially in the bipolar, as we usually get the most aggressive titration schedules (in English: the highest dosages the fastest) and our livers are often fucked-up to start with thanks to mania-inspired hepatitis, cirrhosis, and other problems. For most people an annual liver function test is more than enough. For anyone who takes a high dosage of a valproate, smokes, takes other medications (regardless of what they treat) that induce CYP or UGT enzymes, drinks alcohol, or eats a lot of charbroiled meat (I'm not joking), more than one liver function panel and an annual complete blood count would be a good idea.

3 Thank you! I'll be here at least 72 hours. Be sure to tip your content provider. And don't try the veal, it's cruelicious!


If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Depacon discussion board. We welcome criticisms of the articles, notifications of bad links, site problems, consumer experiences with medications, etc. I’m not always able to write back. Hence I never answer questions about meds via e-mail that are answered by this or other articles. Especially if they have been repeatedly asked on the forum. That’s why we write these damn things. Questions about which meds are best for your condition should also be asked on the forum; because this is a free site, so the price of admission is making things easier for somebody else searching for the same answer. We don’t deal with children on the forum or in private because after doing this for ten years I don’t have the emotional stamina to deal with kids who have brain cooties. How to contact Crazymeds. — Jerod Poore, CME, Publisher Crazymeds (crazymeds.us)


Last modified on Wednesday, 04 May, 2016 at 17:04:07 by JerodPoorePage Author Date created
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Depacon, and all other drug names on this page and used throughout the site, are a trademark of someone else. Depacon’s PI Sheet will probably have the name of the manufacturer and trademark owner (they’re not always the same company) at or near the very bottom. Or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing. It may of changed hands by the time you finished reading this article.




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All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on Crazy Talk: the Crazymeds Forum.
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All information on this site has been obtained from the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets and/or medication guides - which is all you get from sites like WebMD, RxList, NAMBLA NAMI, etc., the sources that are referenced throughout the site, our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, and what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or medication guide/patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away. OK, you can throw away duplicate copies, but keep at least one, as that’s your proof of purchase of having taken a med in case a doctor doubts your medical history. Plus they take up less space than a bottle, although keeping one inside of a pill bottle is even better.
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1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.

2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.

3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas?* I don’t even need my big-ass rant any more. Heartbleed has made my case for me. And that’s just the one that got all the media attention. The very nature of an open source operating system makes security as much of an illusion as anonymity on teh Intergoogles. Before you flip out too much: the domain Crazymeds is hosted on uses a version of SSL that is not affected by the Heartbleed bug. That’s one of the many reasons why I pay a lot of money and keep this site on Lunarpages.

* Yes, I know I’m using open source browsers. I also test the site using the now-defunct IE and Safari browsers. Their popularity - and superiority - killed IE and Safari, so that’s why I rely on the open source browsers. It’s like brand vs. generic meds. Sometimes the generic is better than the brand.

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