Depakote is a prescription medication that is used to treat epilepsy, manic depression/bipolar disorder and migraines. It is usually taken orally in the form of either delayed-release tablets or as sprinkle capsules which can be added to soft foods and swallowed. Depending on which condition the patient suffers from, a different Depakote dosage may be prescribed for different conditions and will also vary if the patient is using any other prescription medications.
Dosages Used in Treating Epilepsy
In cases of complex or partial absence seizures, the recommended starting dosage of Depakote is 6.8mg per lb of body weight per day.
If the patient suffers from complex partial seizures, doctors usually start with a dosage ranging between 4.5mg and 6.8mg per lb of body weight. If the dosage amount exceeds 250mg in either case, the doctor will decide the dose into two or three smaller doses to be taken throughout the day. They will also gradually increase the dosage until the seizures are able to be controlled.
These dosage-by-bodyweight guidelines apply to children and adults.
Recommended Dosage for Bipolar Disorder and Migraines
Patients suffering from bipolar disorder will normally receive a dosage of 750mg per day. This is usually divided into at least two smaller doses to be taken throughout the day. To help manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder, the doctor will usually increase the dose rapidly from here on.
The recommended starting dose for the prevention of migraines is 250mg twice daily. If this is ineffective, the doctor may increase the dosage to 500mg twice a day.
Precautions and Tips for Using Depakote
- Depakote may be taken with or without meals.
- If the patient experiences an upset stomach while using it, they need to ensure that they take it with meals to prevent this.
- Sprinkle capsules can either be placed into a soft food or swallowed whole.
- It is important to ensure that neither the sprinkle capsules nor the tablets are chewed or crushed, as this will destroy the time-release coating on them.
- This medication should be taken at the same time each day in order to maintain constant levels of it in the body.
- Patients should under no circumstances change their dosage without consulting with their doctor, as this may result in unpleasant side effects or withdrawal symptoms.
Patients who suffer from mental retardation, any form of urea cycle disorder, food or preservative allergies and liver or heart conditions should advise their doctor before using this medication. It is vitally important for patients to advise their doctor of any other herbal or prescription medications they may be using before using Depakote. This will help to prevent any possible interactions between them.