Divalproex Sodium (Depakote)

2019 Article where I explore the psychiatric drug Divalproex Sodium.

Divalproex Sodium is a medication that is used as an anti-convulsant, antiepileptic, and mood stabilizer.  Some common names include Depakote, Depakene, and Valproic Acid.  Its chemical formula is C16H31NaO4.  Divalproex Sodium is a fatty acid comprised of sodium valproate and valproic acid.  When consumed the compound separates into a valproate ion in the intestines. (National Center for Biotechnology Information 2018, AbbVie Inc. 2017)

 Once absorbed the valproate ion binds to and inhibits gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transaminase which is an enzyme that breaks down GABA.  The exact mechanism and site of action is not known but the inhibition of the GABA enzyme is thought to produce the drug’s effects by increasing the levels of GABA in the brain.  It is also thought that the Valproate Ion might also act by blocking the reuptake of GABA into neurons or glial cells. Another explanation regarding the action of Valproate Ion is that it suppresses the action of voltage-sensitive sodium channels and stops repetitive firing in the neurons.  (National Center for Biotechnology Information 2018).

One of Divalproex Sodium’s intended uses is to reduce manic episodes that are often a symptom of bipolar disorder.  It can also be used to treat seizures and migraine headaches. Occasionally Divalproex sodium may have unintended side effects that include bleeding, increased blood ammonia levels, low body temperature, and drowsiness.  Sometimes Divalproex may produce an allergic reaction marked by hives, rashes, and other types of sores. (National Center for Biotechnology Information 2018, AbbVie Inc. 2017)

The advantages to using Divalproex Sodium are that it can provide relief from potentially dangerous manic episodes, headaches and seizures.  The disadvantages might include the drug not producing the desired effect or producing unwanted side effect’s such as excessive drowsiness (AbbVie Inc. 2017).


AbbVie Inc. (2017).  About Depakote.  Retrieved from https://www.depakote.com/about-depakote

National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2018) Divalproex sodium.  Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/23663956


Published by Ryan David Tuttle

PhD Graduate student studying Behavioral Neuroscience, Addiction, Stress, Behavioral Economics, and Individual Differences. Former member Ministerial Servant and Pioneer in a Spanish speaking congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

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