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Your experiences with Depakote

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As usual, I've read every possible thing I could find on Depakote and as usual I'm scared. I will start taking Divalproex, the generic, tonight. It's been prescribed for my bipolar. I have both mixed states and ultra-rapid cycling which it seems to work well for. I've tried both Lamictal and Lithium (which I tried twice). Neither work. My Pdoc perscribed Depakote b/c I'm uninsured and it's cheaper than other AC's.

I'm scared about the side effects, worried it won't work, paranoid that i'll die (don't ask why)... My starting dose is 250mg ER a day working up to 1000mg a day (taken at night).


1- What is the approximate theraputic dose for BP?

2- If you have mixed states and/or rapid cycling/ultra rapid cycling, how has it worked for you?

3- What side effects have you experienced?

4- Any warnings you all would like to give me?

Feedback is greatly appreciated. I've been in an extremely bad state for a couple of months now... I'm basically living because it's what i'm "supposed to do". I just need the meds to work.

(p.s. if you look at my current r/x list, know that i'm in a period where everything is being switched up.)

Thanks everyone ;)

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I loved depakote, FWIW. And, it has good data for mixed episodes and rapid cycling, so you may find you really love it.

The dose really can depend on you, there's a fair level of variability involved. Expect to be at a higher dose for acute episodes, you may be able to reduce it when you are stable. 1000 is a fairly reasonable place to start, although some people have to go higher. Everyone metabilzes it differently. With BP, you can go by clinical response, although there are blood levels available if you want to get technical.

You HAVE to get a certain amount of blood monitoring, as it can be hard on the liver. So, expect to pay out of pocket for that.

Side effects, well, it can be fatiguing, cause some weight gain, and stuff like that. It can be a bit hard on the stomach initially, but any stomach stuff should go away over time.

The only real side effect I got that bothered me was some weight gain, really. My brain loves depakote, and it's the AC I reach for when things are heading towards hell. I don't take it full time because neurotin works almost as well for me and doesn't have the same hit on the liver (although I never had any liver problems while on it) or the weight gain issue, but I've been known to go on it for a few months here and there, as needed, if I am really unstable. Which hasn't happened in a while.

It's a good med. It is HIGHLY unlikely to kill you.


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Thanks Anna ;)

I've had the r/x for a few days now and haven't taken it yet. New meds scare the f*** out of me...especially anti convulsants and mood stabilizers because of so many raunchy side effects (and of course I KNOW that I'll get the worst of the side effects).

I'm a bit leery as not many people seem to take it. Then again,lithium and lamictal are both very popular drugs and i've tried both with no success.

*sigh* I hate this...

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Guest Vapourware

What is the approximate theraputic dose for BP?

I think 1000mg is a good starting dosage, although sometimes people go to about 1500mg.

What side effects have you experienced?

Weight gain has been my main issue. The drug has basically made me feel hungrier so I've been eating more. I haven't gained a whole lot of weight though - maybe 10lbs. Other than that, it's been a mild drug and I barely notice that I'm taking it (in terms of negative side-effects, that is).

Any warnings you all would like to give me?

As Anna has noted, it can be hard on your liver so you'll have to do regular blood tests and ease up on any alcohol.

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V.W., thank you ;)

Question, I'm wondering if not many people have responded on this thread because Depakote hasn't worked or if isn't prescribed often.

To others looking at the thread: Have you tried it?

Thanks you guys


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To others looking at the thread: Have you tried it?

I haven't, so I don't have any experiences to report. I (rather miraculously, given my history with other classes of meds) somehow managed to find a working AC before getting to that one, although I suspect it was probably next on the list or close to it. It definitely still gets a decent amount of use, because it works quite well for a bunch of things. It's not at the very top of the list anymore now that there are newer meds available that don't have the inconvenience of monitoring levels and stuff like that. It's still up there, though. I think it was third on the list of ACs that initially were suggested to me by my doctor.

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I am on Depakote for prophylaxis for migraine, but my p-doc and I both agree it has no mood-stabilizing effect in my case. My dad, who is a p-doc, feels he has had a greater success rate with other anti-epileptics, which does not mean it won't work for anyone. That is just his opinion, but he did treat a lot of rapid cyclers.

Everyone is different. It is supposed to cause weight gain, and it can cause HUGE weight loss initially in me, then I go back up to my old weight.

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I'm at 1500mg,the first time,

I went to get it,

the pharmacist,

refused to give me the generic,

due to harsher side effects.

As it was,I felt dopy,and slow,

it took some time to get past that.

My rapid cycling,ultraradian,

mixed and dysphoric mania,

sort of in control.

I'm also on 500 seroquel,

300 wellbutrin,

still,I get tossed into the pit.

That's me,it's different for everybody.


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Thanks everyone. I really appreciate your replies.

hmm...I'm going to call my pdoc tomorrow to tell her about my fears. we sent in a patient assistance form last week for abilify. i hope i qualify. i took it years ago when i had insurance. loved it.

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