Divalproex oral tablets are a generic prescription drug that’s FDA-approved to:

  • Treat manic episodes or mixed episodes related to bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a type of mood disorder that involves manic episodes and depressive episodes. When symptoms of both mania and depression happen at the same time, this is called a mixed episode. Divalproex treats both manic and mixed episodes in adults.
  • Treat epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition that causes repeated seizures. Epilepsy can cause many different types of seizures. Divalproex is specifically used to treat complex partial seizures or absence seizures that happen with or without other seizure types. For this purpose, divalproex may be used alone or with other antiepileptic drugs in adults and children ages 10 years and older.
  • Prevent migraine. Migraine is a condition that causes a severe headache along with other symptoms (such as nausea and vomiting). Divalproex is used to help prevent migraine in adults.

Drug details

Divalproex belongs to a group of drugs called antiepileptics. You’ll take divalproex oral tablets by mouth.

Divalproex oral tablets come in two forms:

  • delayed release (DR) tablets, which are called divalproex DR
  • extended release (ER) tablets, which are called divalproex ER

DR tablets are made with a special coating. This coating keeps the tablet from releasing the drug into your system before the tablet passes through your stomach. ER tablets, on the other hand, release the drug slowly into your body over time.

Divalproex DR oral tablets come in three strengths: 125 milligrams (mg), 250 mg, and 500 mg. Divalproex ER oral tablets come in two strengths: 250 mg and 500 mg.

Note: Divalproex also comes as oral capsules. This article addresses only oral tablets. For information on divalproex oral capsules, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Brand-name versions

Divalproex DR oral tablets are available in a brand-name form called Depakote. Divalproex ER oral tablets are available as brand-name Depakote ER.

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of divalproex oral tablets, see the “Divalproex oral tablets uses” section below.

Divalproex oral tablets are a generic drug. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Depakote and Depakote ER are the brand-name medications that divalproex oral tablet is based on. A generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

If you’re interested in using Depakote or Depakote ER instead of divalproex oral tablets, talk with your doctor. They can tell you if Depakote or Depakote ER come in strengths that can be used for your condition. If you have insurance, you’ll also need to check whether your plan will cover Depakote or Depakote ER.

To learn more about how generics compare with brand-name drugs, see this article.

Divalproex oral tablets can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking divalproex oral tablets. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of divalproex oral tablets, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with divalproex oral tablets, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of divalproex oral tablets can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from divalproex oral tablets. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view the prescribing information for divalproex extended release (ER) oral tablets and divalproex delayed release (DR) oral tablets.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from divalproex oral tablets aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • Vision problems, such as:
  • High level of ammonia in your blood. (Ammonia is a chemical your body produces when it breaks down protein.) Symptoms can include:
    • headache
    • problems walking or keeping your balance
    • vomiting
  • Hypothermia (extremely low body temperature). Symptoms can include:
    • confusion
    • problems thinking or moving
    • shivering
    • slowed or shallow breathing
    • slurred speech
  • Thrombocytopenia (low level of platelets, a type of blood cell). Symptoms can include:
    • bleeding for a longer amount of time than usual
    • bruising easily
    • unusual bleeding, such as having a bloody nose or bloody gums
  • Allergic reaction.*
  • Serious liver damage.†
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).†
  • Risk of harm to a fetus if used during pregnancy.‡
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Symptoms can include:
    • feeling hopeless
    • loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
    • mood or personality changes, such as being more irritable or anxious than usual

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.
† Divalproex oral tablets have a boxed warning for this side effect. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. To learn more, see “Side effect details” below.
‡ Divalproex oral tablets have a boxed warning for this side effect. For more information, see the “Divalproex oral tablets and pregnancy” section below.

Side effect details

Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Weight gain

Weight gain is a common side effect of divalproex. To find out how often this side effect occurred in clinical studies, see the prescribing information for divalproex DR and divalproex ER oral tablets.

If you’re concerned about weight gain while taking this drug, talk with your doctor. They can suggest healthy ways to manage your weight during treatment with divalproex.

Hair loss

Some people may have hair loss while taking divalproex. This was a common side effect in studies of the drug. To find out how often hair loss happened in studies, see the prescribing information for divalproex DR and divalproex ER oral tablets.

If you’re concerned about hair loss with divalproex, talk with your doctor. They may prescribe a different drug for you that doesn’t cause this side effect.

Serious liver damage

Taking divalproex oral tablets may cause serious liver damage. In fact, divalproex has a boxed warning for this side effect. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

In rare cases, serious liver damage from divalproex may lead to death. To find out how often this side effect happened in clinical studies, see the prescribing information for divalproex DR and divalproex ER oral tablets.

Symptoms of serious liver damage can include:

Serious liver damage is more likely to happen in the first 6 months after you start taking divalproex. The risk of this side effect is highest in children ages 2 years and younger* and in people with mitochondrial disorders. (Mitochondrial disorders are a group of inherited conditions caused by changes in genes that make up the mitochondria.)

Your doctor will likely do tests to check your liver function before you start taking divalproex and periodically during treatment.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of liver damage from divalproex. And before you start taking the drug, be sure to talk with them about all your health conditions.

* It’s important to note that divalproex oral tablets aren’t approved for use in children of this age group.

Pancreatitis

Taking divalproex oral tablet may cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). In rare cases, pancreatitis from divalproex may cause serious bleeding that leads to death.

Divalproex has a boxed warning for the risk of pancreatitis. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

Possible symptoms of pancreatitis can include:

  • sudden pain in the center of your abdomen (belly)
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

To find out how often pancreatitis occurred in clinical studies, see the prescribing information for divalproex DR and divalproex ER oral tablets.

Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of pancreatitis while taking divalproex. They’ll likely have you switch to a different drug. If you do have pancreatitis, they may prescribe treatment for your condition.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking divalproex oral tablets.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to divalproex, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

The dosage for divalproex oral tablets your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using divalproex oral tablets to treat
  • the type and severity of the side effects you have
  • other medications you’re taking
  • your age
  • your weight

Typically, your doctor will start you taking a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect. They’ll also monitor the level of the drug in your blood to make sure you have the right amount of the drug in your system.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug strengths

Divalproex oral tables come in two forms:

  • delayed release (DR) tablets, which are called divalproex DR
  • extended release (ER) tablets, which are called divalproex ER

DR tablets are made with a special coating. This coating keeps the tablet from releasing the drug into your system before the tablet passes through your stomach. ER tablets, on the other hand, release the drug slowly into your body over time.

Divalproex DR oral tablets come in three strengths: 125 milligrams (mg), 250 mg, and 500 mg. Divalproex ER oral tablets come in two strengths: 250 mg and 500 mg.

Dosage for manic or mixed episodes related to bipolar disorder

Divalproex DR oral tablets are used to treat manic episodes related tobipolar disorder. Divalproex ER oral tablets can be used for both manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar disorder.

For these uses, the typical starting dosage of divalproex DR is 750 mg per day. The usual starting dosage of divalproex ER is 25 milligrams per kilogram* (mg/kg) of body weight per day. For example, a person who weighs 60 kg (about 132 pounds [lb]) would start by taking 1500 mg of divalproex ER per day. Your doctor will instruct you on when (and how often) you should take your dose.

The maximum recommended dosage of divalproex is the same for the DR and ER oral tablets: 60 mg/kg of body weight per day.

* 1 kg equals about 2.2 pounds (lb).

Dosage for complex partial seizures, with or without other seizure types

Divalproex oral tablet is used to treat complex partial seizures that happen with or without other seizure types. For this purpose, divalproex may be used alone or with other antiepileptic drugs (the drug group divalproex belongs to).

For this use, the typical starting dosage is the same for divalproex DR and divalproex ER. You’ll start by taking 10 to 15 mg/kg* of body weight each day. For example, a person who weighs 50 kg (about 110 lbs.) would start by taking 500 mg to 750 mg of divalproex each day. Your doctor will instruct you on when (and how often) you should take your dose.

The maximum recommended dosage of divalproex is the same for the DR and ER oral tablets: 60 mg/kg of body weight per day.

* 1 kg equals about 2.2 pounds (lb).

Dosage for absence seizures, with or without other seizure types

Divalproex oral tablets are used to treat absence seizures that happen with or without other seizure types. For this purpose, divalproex may be used alone or with other antiepileptic drugs.

The usual starting dosage is the same for divalproex DR and divalproex ER. You’ll start by taking 15 mg/kg* of body weight per day. For example, a person who weighs 50 kg (about 110 lb) would start by taking 750 mg of divalproex per day. Your doctor will instruct you on when (and how often) you should take your dose.

The maximum recommended dosage of divalproex is the same for the DR and ER oral tablets: 60 mg/kg of body weight per day.

* 1 kg equals about 2.2 pounds (lb).

Dosage for migraine

Divalproex oral tablets are used to help prevent migraine in adults. For this use, the typical starting dosage of divalproex DR is 250 mg taken twice per day. The usual starting dosage of divalproex ER for this use is 500 mg taken once per day. The maximum recommended dosage of divalproex is the same for the DR and ER oral tablets: 1,000 mg per day.

Children’s dosage

Divalproex can be used in children ages 10 years and older to treat complex partial seizures or absence seizures that happen with or without other seizure types. For this purpose, divalproex may be used alone or with other antiepileptic drugs. (Divalproex is a type of antiepileptic drug.)

For this use, the dosage of divalproex for children is the same as for adults. To learn more, see “Dosage for complex partial seizures, with or without other seizure types” and “Dosage for absence seizures, with or without other seizure types” above.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take your missed dose as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, just skip your missed dose and take your next dose at its usual time.

Don’t take any extra doses of divalproex to make up for a missed dose. Doing so can raise your risk for side effects from divalproex.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or timer on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Whether you’ll use divalproex oral tablets short term or long term depends on the condition you’re using the drug to treat.

For manic episodes related tobipolar disorder, you may use divalproex as a short-term treatment. After the symptoms of your manic episode have resolved, your doctor may switch you to a different drug for long-term use.

For its other uses, divalproex oral tablets are typically given as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that divalproex oral tablets are safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take them long term.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as divalproex oral tablets to treat certain conditions. Divalproex oral tablets may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Divalproex oral tablets for manic or mixed episodes related to bipolar disorder

Divalproex oral tablets are FDA-approved to treat manic or mixed episodes related to bipolar disorder in adults.

About bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a type of mood disorder that involves manic episodes and depressive episodes. Manic episodes are periods of extremely high energy and excitement that affect your daily life. These usually last about 1 week.

Symptoms of manic episodes may include:

  • feeling extremely thrilled or irritable
  • talking very fast and abruptly changing topics
  • racing thoughts
  • pressured speech (speaking in a way that’s hard to understand)
  • loss of appetite
  • sleeping less than usual
  • risky behaviors, such as driving recklessly or spending large amounts of money

Mixed episodes occur when symptoms of both mania and depression happen at the same time. For example, you may feel extremely thrilled while also having suicidal thoughts. Or you may feel depressed while still talking very fast about many different topics.

Effectiveness for manic or mixed episodes related to bipolar disorder

Divalproex has been found to be effective for treating manic episodes and mixed episodes related to bipolar disorder. For more information on how the drug performed in clinical studies, see the prescribing information for divalproex delayed release (DR) and divalproex extended release (ER) oral tablets.

The following bipolar disorder treatment guidelines recommended divalproex as a treatment option:

Divalproex oral tablets for complex partial seizures, with or without other seizure types

Divalproex oral tablets are FDA-approved to treat certain seizures that occur with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a condition that causes repeated seizures, which happen because of abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Divalproex is specifically used to treat complex partial seizures that happen with or without other seizure types. For this purpose, divalproex may be used alone or with other antiepileptic drugs in adults and children ages 10 years and older. (Divalproex is a type of antiepileptic drug.)

About complex partial seizures

Complex partial seizures start on one side of the brain. You may have an aura (warning sign) before the seizure, such as feeling worried or having an unusual sensation in your body.

Symptoms of complex partial seizures usually last from 30 seconds to 30 minutes and may include:

  • being unaware of your surroundings, which may appear as daydreaming
  • involuntary movements such as lip-smacking, chewing, or rubbing your hands together

Effectiveness for complex partial seizures, with or without other seizure types

Divalproex has been found to be effective for treating complex partial seizures.

For more information on how the drug performed in clinical studies, see the prescribing information for divalproex DR and divalproex ER oral tablets.

The American Academy of Neurology guidelines for treating epilepsy recommended divalproex as a treatment option.

Divalproex oral tablets for absence seizures, with or without other seizure types

Divalproex is FDA-approved to treat absence seizures, which are another type of seizure that can happen with epilepsy.

Divalproex is used to treat absence seizures that happen with or without other seizure types. For this purpose, divalproex may be used alone or with other antiepileptic drugs in adults and in children ages 10 years and older.

Absence seizures start on both sides of the brain. Symptoms of absence seizures usually last less than 20 seconds and may include:

  • being unaware of your surroundings, which may appear as daydreaming
  • fluttering eyelids or eyes rolling back into your head

Effectiveness for absence seizures, with or without other seizure types

Divalproex has been found to be effective for treating absence seizures. For more information on how the drug performed in clinical studies, see the prescribing information for divalproex DR and divalproex ER oral tablets.

The American Academy of Neurology guidelines for treating epilepsy recommend divalproex as a treatment option.

Divalproex oral tablets for migraine

Divalproex oral tablets are FDA-approved to help prevent migraine in adults.

Migraine is a condition that causes a severe headache along with other symptoms, such as:

Effectiveness for migraine

Divalproex oral tablets have been found to be effective for helping prevent migraine.

The American Academy of Family Physicians recommend divalproex as a first-choice option for migraine prevention.

For more information on how the drug performed in clinical studies, see the prescribing information for divalproex DR and divalproex ER oral tablets.

Divalproex oral tablets and children

Divalproex is FDA-approved for use in children ages 10 years and older. It’s used to treat complex partial seizures and absence seizures that happen with or without other seizure types. For this purpose, divalproex may be used alone or with other antiepileptic drugs.

For details on these conditions and uses, see “Divalproex oral tablet for complex partial seizures, with or without other seizure types” and “Divalproex oral tablet for absence seizures, with or without other seizure types” above.

Other drugs are available that can be used for your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to divalproex oral tablets, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Alternatives for manic or mixed episodes related to bipolar disorder

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat manic episodes or mixed episodes related to bipolar disorder include:

  • asenapine (Saphris)
  • chlorpromazine
  • haloperidol (Haldol)
  • lithium (Lithobid)
  • olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • olanzapine and samidorphan (Lybalvi)
  • risperidone (Risperdal)
  • valproic acid

Alternatives for complex partial seizures, with or without other seizure types

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat complex partial seizures include:

  • carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Tegretol)
  • gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • lacosamide (Vimpat)
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • levetiracetam (Keppra)
  • oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)
  • pregabalin (Lyrica)
  • topiramate (Topamax)
  • zonisamide (Zonegran)

Alternatives for absence seizures, with or without other seizure types

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat absence seizures include:

  • ethosuximide (Zarontin)
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • valproic acid

Alternatives for migraine

Examples of other drugs that may be used to help prevent migraine include:

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about divalproex oral tablets.

Is divalproex a narcotic?

No, divalproex isn’t a narcotic. Divalproex belongs to a group of drugs called antiepileptics.

“Narcotic” is a term used to describe opioids, which are used to treat severe pain. Unlike opioids, divalproex isn’t a controlled substance.

Controlled substances are drugs that the federal government closely regulates. These medications have a risk of misuse. (Misuse means taking a drug in a way other than how it was prescribed.)

But these effects aren’t known to happen with divalproex. If you have questions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Will divalproex make me feel ‘high’?

No, taking divalproex shouldn’t make you feel “high.”

But feeling high may be a symptom of a manic episode related tobipolar disorder. Manic episodes are periods of extremely high energy and excitement that affect your daily life.

Divalproex is used to treat manic episodes related to bipolar disorder. So the drug should ease any symptoms of mania you may have, such as feeling high.

If you’re concerned about feeling high after taking divalproex, talk with your doctor.

Is divalproex used for anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia?

Divalproex isn’t currently approved to treat anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia. But the drug may be used off-label for these conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

If you’re interested in using divalproex to treat anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia, talk with your doctor. They can help determine the best treatment for your condition.

Can I take divalproex to help me sleep?

Divalproex isn’t currently approved to help with sleep.

Divalproex can affect people differently. Both sleepiness and insomnia (trouble sleeping) are possible side effects of the drug. So it’s possible that divalproex may help you sleep. But the drug may also keep you awake.

You’ll know more about how divalproex affects you after you’ve taken the drug for several days.

To learn more about using divalproex for sleep, or about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.

Is divalproex an antipsychotic drug?

Divalproex may be used to treat mental health conditions, but it’s not an antipsychotic drug.

Antipsychotics are a class of drugs that are mainly prescribed to treat certain mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. (A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.)

Divalproex is used to treat manic episodes or mixed episodes related tobipolar disorder. It belongs to a drug class called antiepileptics.

If you have questions about using divalproex and how it works to treat your condition, talk with your doctor.

Divalproex oral tablets belong to a group of drugs called antiepileptics.

Divalproex’s mechanism of action (the way it works) isn’t fully understood. The drug is thought to increase the level of a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain. Higher levels of GABA are thought to help ease symptoms of mania, treat seizures, and help prevent migraine.

How long does it take to work?

It may take 1 to 2 weeks for divalproex to start working. You may “feel” the drug working during this time, but it may take longer for symptoms to reduce in some people.

Clinical studies didn’t look at how long it took divalproex to start working. If you have questions about whether divalproex is working for you, talk with your doctor.

Using more than the recommended dosage of divalproex oral tablets can lead to serious side effects and, in rare cases, death.

Do not use more divalproex than your doctor recommends.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose of divalproex oral tablets can include:

  • excessive sleepiness
  • heart block (problem with the heart’s electrical signals that may cause it to stop beating for a short amount of time)
  • high level of sodium in your blood
  • coma

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

There aren’t any known interactions between divalproex oral tablets and alcohol. But it may be best to avoid alcohol while taking divalproex. This is because both divalproex and alcohol can cause dizziness and drowsiness. Drinking alcohol while taking divalproex may worsen these side effects.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor before taking divalproex. They can advise you on whether it’s safe to drink alcohol while taking the drug.

Divalproex oral tablets can interact with several other medications. Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Divalproex and other medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with divalproex oral tablets. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with divalproex.

Before taking divalproex oral tablets, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Types of drugs that can interact with divalproex oral tablets include:

  • Carbapenem antibiotics. Taking these medications with divalproex can make divalproex less effective. Examples of carbapenem antibiotics include:
    • ertapenem (Invanz)
    • meropenem (Merrem)
  • Hormonal birth control. Taking divalproex with hormonal birth control can make divalproex less effective.
  • Certain other antiepileptics (the drug group divalproex belongs to). Taking divalproex with other antiepileptics can make divalproex less effective. It can also affect your risk for side effects from either drug. Examples of antiepileptics include:
    • carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitrol)
    • ethosuximide (Zarontin)
    • felbamate (Felbatol)
    • lamotrigine (Lamictal)
    • phenobarbital
    • phenytoin (Dilantin)
    • rufinamide (Banzel)
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor) or amitriptyline. Taking divalproex with these drugs can raise your risk for side effects from amitriptyline or nortriptyline.
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin). Taking divalproex with clonazepam may cause certain seizures to last longer than usual.
  • Propofol (Diprivan). Receiving propofol while you’re taking divalproex may raise your risk for side effects from propofol.
  • Rifampin (Rimactane). Taking divalproex with rifampin may make divalproex less effective. Your doctor may adjust your dosage of divalproex if you take these medications together.

Before using any of these drugs with divalproex, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Divalproex and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with divalproex. But you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking divalproex.

Divalproex and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with divalproex. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with divalproex, talk with your doctor.

Divalproex and lab tests

Divalproex may affect results of the following lab tests:

Before getting any lab tests, be sure your doctor knows if you’re taking divalproex. This will help them correctly interpret your lab test results.

You should take divalproex according to the instructions of your doctor or other healthcare professional.

Divalproex oral tablet comes in two forms:

  • delayed release (DR) tablets, which are called divalproex DR
  • extended release (ER) tablets, which are called divalproex ER

DR tablets are made with a special coating. This coating keeps the tablet from releasing the drug into your system before the tablet passes through your stomach. ER tablets, on the other hand, release the drug slowly into your body over time.

When to take

You’ll likely take divalproex DR two or three times per day. Divalproex ER is taken once per day.

Try to take your doses around the same time each day. This helps make sure you have a consistent amount of the drug in your body. Your doctor will give more specifics on when you should take your doses.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or timer on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

Taking divalproex with food

You can take divalproex with or without food. But if the drug upsets your stomach, you can try taking it with food to relieve your discomfort.

Can divalproex oral tablets be crushed, split, or chewed?

No, you shouldn’t crush, split, or chew divalproex oral tablets. You should swallow the tablets whole.

If you have trouble swallowing tablets, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

As with all medications, the cost of divalproex oral tablets can vary. To find current prices for divalproex oral tablets in your area, check out GoodRx.com.


The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of divalproex oral tablets. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor or your insurance company.

Before approving coverage for divalproex oral tablets, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for divalproex oral tablets, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

Financial assistance to help you pay for divalproex oral tablets may be available.

Medicine Assistance Tool and NeedyMeds are two websites offering resources that may help decrease the price you pay for divalproex oral tablets. They also offer tools to help you find low-cost healthcare, as well as educational resources. To learn more, visit their sites.

Mail-order pharmacies

Divalproex oral tablets may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of divalproex oral tablets, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor and your insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.

If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

Divalproex is used to treat complex partial seizures or absence seizures that happen with or without other seizure types. Divalproex may be used alone or with other antiepileptic drugs in adults and in children ages 10 years and older. (Divalproex is a type of antiepileptic drug.)

Examples of other drugs you may use with divalproex include:

  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • diazepam (Valium)
  • ethosuximide (Zarontin)
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • phenobarbital
  • carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitrol, Tegretol)
  • phenytoin (Dilantin)

It’s important to note that if you take these drugs with divalproex, your doctor may adjust your dosage of divalproex or of the other seizure drugs. This is because divalproex can affect the level of other seizure drugs in your body. And other seizure drugs can also affect the level of divalproex in your body.

Your doctor will adjust your dosage as needed if you take divalproex with other seizure drugs.

It likely isn’t safe to take divalproex during pregnancy. This is because if used during pregnancy, divalproex may cause developmental issues for a fetus (birth defects). The drug may also cause lower IQ scores in children born to females* who took the drug while pregnant.

Divalproex has a boxed warning for the risk of harm to a fetus if used during pregnancy. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while using divalproex. They can discuss with you the risks and benefits of continuing divalproex treatment. They may also recommend a different treatment option for your condition during pregnancy.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Pregnancy registry

If you become pregnant while taking divalproex, you can take part in the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry.

A pregnancy registry helps gather information on how certain drugs can affect pregnancy. To learn more, call 888-233-2334, visit the registry website, or talk with your doctor.

Divalproex oral tablets and fertility

There have been reports of infertility in males* who’ve taken divalproex delayed release and divalproex extended release.

If you’re concerned about how this drug might affect your fertility, talk with your doctor before taking divalproex.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

It’s not known if divalproex oral tablets are safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using divalproex.

For more information about taking divalproex during pregnancy, see the “Divalproex oral tablets and pregnancy” section above.

For females taking divalproex oral tablets

Females* who can become pregnant should use birth control while taking divalproex. If you have questions, talk with your doctor about the birth control method that’s best for you.

For males taking divalproex oral tablets

The manufacturer of divalproex hasn’t given birth control recommendations for males* using the drug. If you’re a male using divalproex and have a sexual partner who can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while using this drug.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while taking divalproex. The drug can pass into breast milk, which could cause side effects in a child who is breastfed.

If you breastfeed while taking divalproex, watch the child being breastfed for the following symptoms:

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes)
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using divalproex.

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warnings

This drug has boxed warnings. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

  • Serious liver damage. Taking divalproex may cause serious liver damage, especially during the first 6 months of treatment. The risk is highest in people with mitochondrial disorders and in children ages 2 years and younger.* In some cases, serious liver damage from divalproex may lead to death. For more information, see “Side effect details” in the “Divalproex oral tablets side effects” section above.
  • Pancreatitis. Taking divalproex may cause pancreatitis. In some cases, pancreatitis from divalproex may lead to death. For more information, see “Side effect details” in the “Divalproex oral tablets side effects” section above.
  • Risk of harm to a fetus. When used during pregnancy, divalproex may cause developmental issues for a fetus (birth defects). Divalproex may also cause lower IQ scores in children born to people who took the drug while pregnant. For more information, see the “Divalproex oral tablets and pregnancy” section above.

* It’s important to note that divalproex oral tablets aren’t approved for use in children of this age group.

Other precautions

Before taking divalproex oral tablets, talk with your doctor about your health history. Divalproex may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) problems. Before taking divalproex, tell your doctor if you have any GI (digestive) problems, such as having an ileostomy or colostomy. If you have a GI condition, divalproex may not break down completely in your body. If this happens, you may notice a portion of the divalproex tablet in your stool. This could mean your body isn’t absorbing the right amount of drug needed to treat your condition. If you have certain GI problems, your doctor may prescribe a drug other than divalproex for you.
  • Liver problems. Before taking divalproex, tell your doctor about any liver problems you have. The drug can cause serious liver problems for some people. Your risk for this side effect may be higher if you already have liver problems.
  • Mitochondrial disorder. If you have mitochondrial disorder, tell your doctor before starting divalproex treatment. This condition can raise your risk for serious liver problems with divalproex. If you have this condition, your doctor may prescribe a drug other than divalproex for you.
  • Urea cycle disorder. With urea cycle disorder, your body has trouble getting rid of a chemical called urea. Urea is made from ammonia, which forms in your body after it breaks down protein. Divalproex can cause a high level of ammonia in your blood. So your risk for this side effect is even higher if you have urea cycle disorder. If you have this condition, tell your doctor before taking divalproex.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to divalproex or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take divalproex oral tablets. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
  • Pregnancy. It isn’t safe to use divalproex while pregnant. For more information, see the “Divalproex oral tablets and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It may not be safe to breastfeed while taking divalproex. For more information, see the “Divalproex oral tablets and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of divalproex, see the “Divalproex oral tablets side effects” section above.

When you get divalproex oral tablets from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk with your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Divalproex oral tablets should be stored at room temperature (77°F, or 25°C) in a tightly sealed container away from light. For short periods of time, such as when traveling, divalproex oral tablets may be stored at temperatures of 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take divalproex oral tablets and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.