Author Topic: Depakote  (Read 15583 times)

Offline Tech Serv Assistant

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Depakote
« on: May 09, 2007, 04:59:55 AM »
A little background- I have been having constant headaches for over 4 months and recently got diagnosed as having migraine variant headaches. The headaches made me sensitive to light and noise, but never made me nauseated until a couple weeks ago. So, I went to the doctor who did some tests (and is still doing tests, but that is a whole other thread) and prescribed Depakote. Depakote is an anti-seizure drug, but also helps prevent migraine headaches. My doctor said that it could cause drowsiness and liver toxicity. I just started taking it last night, so I haven't experienced any side effects yet.
     Now, a couple of questions: Has anyone heard of this drug and/or is taking it? If so, what is your experience?  What are some things I could take to help my liver?
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Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2007, 05:55:25 AM »
Depakote is usually prescribed as an antidepressant.  My mother and sister and even my Dad are now on this.  My mom and sister have been diagnosed with "bipolar" disorder, even though I know they don't have it.
It does damage to your liver and you have to have your blood tested every six months to see if it has done any damage.  Personally, I would do some research on natural remedies for migraines. 
On a side note, my Dad has had migraines almost his whole life(he had a stroke from them at age 36).  He was put on Depakote, too and has had two migraines, since being on it.  Nothing has changed for him. 

Offline Tech Serv Assistant

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2007, 08:32:33 AM »
It does damage to your liver and you have to have your blood tested every six months to see if it has done any damage. 
Yeah, that is what my doctor said. I will only be on it about 6 months and he is going to check my liver in a month to see if there is anything wrong.

 Personally, I would do some research on natural remedies for migraines. 
My cousin (who I'm sure will chime in with her opinion soon ;)) has been nagging me to find a natural remedy and I have been looking for one. I tried ginger and that didn't help at all. So I am still looking.
Thanks for replying HinO. I always like reading what you have to say! :)
"God isn't a mouse on strings. God IS the strings." - Marion, Bible Prof

"You know, when you look at the lineage of Jesus, it isn't too whippy." - Marion, Bible Prof

Offline Kati*did

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2007, 02:17:16 PM »
I have taken Depakote for 15 years (for epilepsy).  I like it better than what I used to take because I have never experienced immediate side effects from it.  No doubt it has slowed my liver after 15 years, though.  I have found that if I don't take it for a day or 2, I don't experience any of the withdrawal type symptoms that seem to come when getting off other psychoactives.  But maybe it takes longer than that to experience anything.  I would like to get off of epilepsy meds all together and am working on it...but that's another thread.   :D  Pretty much, it seems to be a med that is quickly accepted or rejected by the body (which is the reason for the liver and blood level checks).  After the first 6 months, it is unlikely that your body will suddenly reject it (if it has accepted it).   It seems to mostly be rejected (and cause liver problems which often lead to death) in children rather than adults, from what I've read. 

I would have to agree with HIO, though -- finding something natural would be so much better. 

Oh..also -- if you do end up taking Depakote, you asked about the liver.  I take Sylimarin in the am and the Depakote at night.  I've read that the sylimarin could possibly do one of two things (speculation):  1.  clean out your liver thus making  the depakote more efficient or "stronger" in your body or 2.  clean the depakote out of your liver so that you aren't getting the dosage you need.  I don't know if either of these is true.  I'm taking Sylimarin, and I'll be getting my depakote levels tested soon.   I also did a liver flush about a week ago.  I can go 2 days without depakote and not have a seizure (haven't tested beyond that  ::)) so I didn't take it the night that I began the flush.  I was expecting lots of "stuff" from the flush since I have been taking these meds for so long, but got nothing.  I don't know if that means I'm so clogged up with depakote that I'd have to do a bunch of liver flushes to get it all out...or  not.  Anyway, just wanted to give you some ideas of what things I have done while on depakote.  HTH
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 02:57:17 PM by Kati*did »
"...plain Kate, and bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst..."

Offline Tech Serv Assistant

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2007, 04:00:07 AM »
Oh..also -- if you do end up taking Depakote, you asked about the liver.  I take Sylimarin in the am and the Depakote at night.  I've read that the sylimarin could possibly do one of two things (speculation):  1.  clean out your liver thus making the depakote more efficient or "stronger" in your body or 2.  clean the depakote out of your liver so that you aren't getting the dosage you need.  I don't know if either of these is true.  I'm taking Sylimarin, and I'll be getting my depakote levels tested soon.   I also did a liver flush about a week ago.  I can go 2 days without depakote and not have a seizure (haven't tested beyond that ::)) so I didn't take it the night that I began the flush.  I was expecting lots of "stuff" from the flush since I have been taking these meds for so long, but got nothing.  I don't know if that means I'm so clogged up with depakote that I'd have to do a bunch of liver flushes to get it all out...or  not.  Anyway, just wanted to give you some ideas of what things I have done while on depakote.  HTH
Thanks for replying Kati! Another question or two. What exactly is Sylimarin? I've heard that Milk Thistle is good for the liver- have you taken that while on the depakote?
I am hoping that my cousin (CrimsonRose) will post some of her thoughts. Sometimes they are good thoughts and sometimes.... We really do like each other though! ;) ;D
"God isn't a mouse on strings. God IS the strings." - Marion, Bible Prof

"You know, when you look at the lineage of Jesus, it isn't too whippy." - Marion, Bible Prof

Offline Kati*did

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2007, 04:38:43 AM »
Sylimarin is the active ingredient in Milk Thistle.  While I think Milk Thistle (as a whole plant) works to some degree, extracted Sylimarin seems to be much more effective.  I posted more details about that here:

http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,2749.msg59033.html#msg59033

I am still on Depakote and I take the Sylimarin Liver Support from Beeyoutiful.  I try to take it every day but don't always remember.  I don't know how this effects my Depakote levels, but I haven't  had any seizures or anything, so... ???  I can't really say anything concrete.  I'm going to get my Depakote levels checked as soon as I can (haven't had that checked in about 10 years -- they say that once Depakote normalizes and your body is fine with it [has accepted it], you should get it checked every year, but it was the same every year and so after the first 5 years, we just left it).  Mainly, I want to know if I taking sylimarin would allow me to lower my Depakote dosage. 
"...plain Kate, and bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst..."

Offline CrimsonRose

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2007, 10:35:34 AM »
All right, little cuz, I'm here with my two cents.  ;) I have been googling for support for my theories. Personally, I would start with drinking more water, visiting the chiropractor, and avoiding sugar, MSG, and preservatives and see what happens.
And how about a headache diary? And I would factor in my cycle to see what happens headache-wise depending on which hormone is at its peak.
Here's the best website I have found thus far:
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/medicine/migraine/natural-cures/ {But please read this with a grain of salt...I don't agree with EVERYTHING here.}


« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 10:57:18 AM by CrimsonRose »


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Offline CrimsonRose

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2007, 05:02:04 AM »
I have taken Depakote for 15 years (for epilepsy). 

Kati*did, have you noticed any increased sensitivity to sunlight while you've been on this medication? It is listed as a possible side effect from taking the depakote, according to this website: http://www.drugs.com/depakote.html

"Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds). Depakote can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may result. Use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing if you must be out in the sun. "

Since my cousin has very fair skin, I would be concerned that the depakote could greatly increase her risk of sun burn.

Just a thought, Tech Serv Assistant.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2007, 01:29:18 PM by CrimsonRose »


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Offline Kati*did

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2007, 10:51:51 AM »
I have taken Depakote for 15 years (for epilepsy). 

Kati*did, have you noticed any increased sensitivity to sunlight while you've been on this medication? It is listed as a possible side effect from taking the depakote, according to this website: http://www.drugs.com/depakote.html


I have never experienced the majority of side-effects from depakote (aside from the fact that it's a med metabolized in the liver and probably clogs up my liver).  I'm fair-skinned (not burn-in-a-minute fair), but I grew up in NM where the sun shines non-stop and me and sis would go out to tan all the time.  No problem.  The one thing that did happen to me as soon as I started taking it is something I truly hated -- it made my hair thin out a lot.  I used to have very thick hair, and now it is thin.  But I think that, considering the possible side effects, that is a mild one and I can live with it.  My previous med (zarontin) made me extremely depressed and I felt like I itched under my skin.  It was horrible.

Again, I would encourage doing everything possible to take care of the headaches naturally if you can!   :)    It's just so much better.   8)

"...plain Kate, and bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst..."

Offline CrimsonRose

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2008, 05:24:13 AM »
http://www.naturalnews.com/DrugWatch_Depakote.html

Quote
Depakote may cause deficiencies in the amino acid carnitine. Supplementation may be useful with long term use of the medication.2

Depakote may also contribute to deficiencies in folic acid, vitamin E, and selenium Long-term usage of Depakote with vitamin D deficiency has been shown to cause osteomalacia. Supplementation may be beneficial.3

Use of alcohol should be avoided.4

These herbs may increase the risk of seizures: Borage, Evening Primrose Oil, Ground Ivy and Sage.5

These herbs may have sedative properties and should be avoided: Chamomile (German), Ginsengs, Goldenseal, Hops, Hydrocotyle (Gotu Kola), Nettle, Passionflower, Sage, Skullcap, Shepherd’s Purse, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Wild Carrot and Wild Lettuce.6

Quote from http://www.naturalnews.com/DrugWatch_Depakote.html, Data supplied by AppliedHealth Page accessed Sept. 9, 2008.

Kati*did, have you noticed a need to supplement with folic acid, vitamin E, and selenium? TechServ is going to talk to the doc about supplements soon....
« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 05:26:04 AM by CrimsonRose »


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Offline CrimsonRose

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2008, 05:34:55 AM »
I also found some why and wherefores about the herbs and minerals to use (or not) with Depakote: Quotes from http://www.naturdoctor.com/Chapters/Drugs/Valproic_Acid.html, accessed Sept. 9, 2008. (coloring is mine)

Quote
Negative interactions:

Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo leaves contain small amounts of a natural nerve toxin.

Glutamine
Glutamine forms glutamate which acts as a neurotransmitter.

Grapefruit juice
Grapefruit juice slows the breakdown of several drugs, including carbamezapine.

Ipriflavone
Ipriflavone - inhibits breakdown of carbamezapine and phenytoin, may cause toxic build up

Sedative herbs (Kava, Valerian, Hops)
Sedative herbs may add to depressant side-effect of anticonvulsants.

Niacinamide
Nicotinamide (Niacinamide) increases levels of carbamezapine and primidone, which may cause a toxic build up.

St John's Wort and Dong Quai
St John's Wort and Dong Quai may add to side effect of sun sensitivity.

Vitamin A
Valproic acid may interfere with the ability to handle vitamin A (beta carotene is fine).

White willow
High doses of aspirin increases phenytoin levels and toxicity. White willow contains salicylates (theoretical effect).

Folate
High levels of folate may increase breakdown of phenytoin (which may cause excess seizures)

Quote
Mixed interactions:

Biotin
Anticonvulsants may deplete biotin by competeing for absorption. Take at different times of the day.

Folate
Anticonvulsants deplete folate.

Quote
Positive interactions:

Calcium
Anticonvulsants impair calcium absorption. Take at different times of the day.

Carnitine
Anticonvulsants (especially valproic acid) deplete carnitine.

Vitamin D
Anticonvulsants may interfere with vitamin D activity and cause deficiency.

Vitamin K
Anticonvulsants speed up breakdown of vitamin K, leading to deficiency and bleeding.

L-Carnitine
L-Carnitine is hepatoprotective against depakote.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 05:39:19 AM by CrimsonRose »


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Offline Kati*did

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2008, 06:44:32 AM »
Tech Serve Assistant -- I don't know if you decided to go on depakote or not, but I am in the process of getting off of it, right now, and it is extremely horrible.  I have taken it for years with very few side effects, but getting off of it is another matter all together.  I am going off very slowly, but I don't think you can do it slow enough not to experience some very weird things.  Just something to keep in mind.

Also, just wanted to let you know I had my liver tested last month and it is in perfect condition.  I'm sure depakote (and any meds metabolized through the liver) are hard on the liver, but as for actual liver damage, it seems to be pretty documented that your body either handles or rejects depakote in the very early stages of taking it, which is why they test your liver a lot in the first few months.  I think I got it checked about once a year for the first 5 years and then haven't had it checked till last month.

I'll post what my "withdrawal" symptoms have been in another post.  It's not an addictive drug -- you just have to come off of it very slowly. 
"...plain Kate, and bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst..."

Offline Kati*did

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2008, 09:45:46 AM »
As I am coming off of Depakote, I seem to be having lots of "withdrawal" type things.  But another thing I've noticed is that my hormones seem kind of whacked out.  I know that Depakote messes with hormones, raising testosterone, for one.  So I am wondering if coming off of this is creating another stir in the hormones.  Arg. 

Anyway, I've been reading the book everyone on here said to read:  "What Your Doc May Not Tell You About Premenopause" and am beginning to understand for the first time how all the hormones are related.  So I googled "depakote" and "testosterone" and came up with a very interesting link called "PCOS and Depakote":

http://www.psycheducation.org/hormones/Insulin/polycystic.htm

Basically, they are trying to figure out if Depakote causes PCOS.  They haven't figured it out, yet.  But I just wanted to mention here that I have MANY of the symptoms of PCOS and always thought it was just because of my diabetes -- which no doubt probably aided in it.  But it was when I began taking Depakote that I got all the symptoms of PCOS, although I had diabetes before this. 

So there's another factor in the Depakote plot, if you are considering taking it.   :P

I am hoping that the PCOS is only a result of the Depakote while taking it and that as soon as I'm off and get my hormones straightened out it will leave.  I'll update when I find out.



« Last Edit: September 26, 2008, 09:56:05 AM by Kati*did »
"...plain Kate, and bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst..."

Offline CrimsonRose

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2008, 12:25:28 PM »
As I am coming off of Depakote, I seem to be having lots of "withdrawal" type things.  But another thing I've noticed is that my hormones seem kind of whacked out.  I know that Depakote messes with hormones, raising testosterone, for one.  So I am wondering if coming off of this is creating another stir in the hormones.  Arg. 

Anyway, I've been reading the book everyone on here said to read:  "What Your Doc May Not Tell You About Premenopause" and am beginning to understand for the first time how all the hormones are related.  So I googled "depakote" and "testosterone" and came up with a very interesting link called "PCOS and Depakote":

http://www.psycheducation.org/hormones/Insulin/polycystic.htm

Basically, they are trying to figure out if Depakote causes PCOS.  They haven't figured it out, yet.  But I just wanted to mention here that I have MANY of the symptoms of PCOS and always thought it was just because of my diabetes -- which no doubt probably aided in it.  But it was when I began taking Depakote that I got all the symptoms of PCOS, although I had diabetes before this. 

So there's another factor in the Depakote plot, if you are considering taking it.   :P

I am hoping that the PCOS is only a result of the Depakote while taking it and that as soon as I'm off and get my hormones straightened out it will leave.  I'll update when I find out.

Wow, Kati*did, you've certainly done your research.  :) I was trying the same search out of curiousity (what is in this drug anyway?). This site says that there is a "black box warning" on Depakote regarding this issue. Funny, after all the research I've attempted on Depakote, I've never heard of this. Can you verify it (the warning) for me? Can't get a hold of TechServ right now.


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Offline Tech Serv Assistant

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2008, 03:16:07 PM »
I actually haven't taken Depakote for over a year now. I have been on the generic version (Depakene) for about a year and am now being weaned off of it. I don't really think I'm having any withdrawal symptoms or else I am just not paying enough attention (which could be very true, I feel like I am waaaaaay too busy right now.)
"God isn't a mouse on strings. God IS the strings." - Marion, Bible Prof

"You know, when you look at the lineage of Jesus, it isn't too whippy." - Marion, Bible Prof

Offline CrimsonRose

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2008, 01:16:05 PM »
I actually haven't taken Depakote for over a year now. I have been on the generic version (Depakene) for about a year and am now being weaned off of it.
Sweet!  ;) We should have an online party for you and Kati*did - a weaned-off party!

BTW, since you're back online, can you answer this for me? Pretty please?  :-*
This site says that there is a "black box warning" on Depakote regarding this issue. Funny, after all the research I've attempted on Depakote, I've never heard of this. Can you verify it (the warning) for me? Can't get a hold of TechServ right now.


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Offline annelisa

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Re: Depakote
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2010, 03:40:45 PM »
I too have epilepsy and have taken Depakote for years (coupled in recent years with Zonagran).  The biggest side effect I suffer is a large weight gain... 40lbs whenever I return to the med if I go off it but it gives me the best seizure coverage of any seizure medication on the market and quite frankly, I'd rather be seizure free.  I have found out recently that there is a need to take Depakote separately from my calcium and other supplements due to the fact that anti-convulsants diminish the effectiveness of many supplements.  I advise that you do your research on line AND with your pharmacist... not just your MD... pharmacists tend to be more informed by my experience.

Thanks for the info btw!!  I have a child because an MD failed to inform me that Dilantin would interfere with my birth control.  Do your research with all your meds please....  I treasure my daughter, but epilepsy can come with birth defects for some children.