Depakote, like any prescription medication, has the potential to cause side effects, which may be mild or serious. Most people who are taking the medication do not experience severe side effects, and some people taking Depakote do not experience side effects at all. Side effects, when they do occur, can often be treated easily by a doctor; however, there are some side effects to watch out for and seek medical attention if and when they do occur.
When any medication is tested in scientific double-blind clinical trials, the side effects reported in the people taking the medication are compared to side effects reported in a control group of people who are not taking the medication, establishing the prevalence data for side effects.
The most common side effect reported in patients taking Depakote is shakiness, or tremors, with 57 percent of patients reporting this side effect. Nausea was also reported in almost half of the patients taking Depakote in the clinical trials. Vomiting was reported in a smaller percentage of people, up to 27 percent. Headaches and drowsiness were reported in about 30 percent of people taking Depakote in the drug studies, while weakness and dizziness were reported in about 25 of patients taking Depakote.
Other side effects that were considered "common" in the Depakote clinical double-blind trials occurred in anywhere from 5 percent to 25 percent of patients taking Depakote. These side effects included:
There are some serious side effects of Depakote that are rare, but require medical attention if they occur. These serious side effects include:
Signs of liver damage in patients taking Depakote include jaundice, light "clay-colored" stools, dark urine, appetite suppression, and increased water consumption and urination. Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes. Liver function is regularly monitored in patients taking Depakote using liver enzyme blood tests.
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. This condition can be life-threatening. Signs of pancreatitis include abdominal pain that is severe, decreased appetite, nausea, and vomiting.
Allergic reactions may occur with many different types of medications. Allergic reactions can cause skin rash, hives, itching, and swelling. In severe cases, anaphylaxis can occur and cause swelling of the tongue, throat, or face and cause difficulty breathing.
Some other prescription medications and dietary supplements can potentially interact with Depakote and cause an adverse drug reaction or additional side effects. Make sure that your doctor knows about every medication and dietary supplement you are taking, so negative side effects can be prevented or reduced.