This is my first time on a psychotropic prescription, so I have no idea what to expect. I’m updating this post each day to share my experience. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section – especially if you’ve been on this or other medicine for bipolar disorder.
Why I’m taking this medicine: After my life blew up, I started looking for answers. Alcoholism was a major part of the story, but I wanted to get all the help possible. That led me to a well-respected psychologist. After our initial session he confirmed what many friends with mental health background had suspected. He called it a rapid cycling mood disorder, with dangerous decision making in the hypomanic stage.
It took me a few weeks, but I finally decided to start the medicine.
My Daily Depakote Experience
(you can read other reviews on Drugs.com)
Day 1 – Nothing yet. I took my first dose before bed, nothing magic. In fact, I was up for several hours afterward.
Day 2 – Nothing yet. I was up late the night before so I’m feeling that. I’ve got normal mood swings, which are not good. Angry, sad, then ecstatic a few hours later. It’s too soon for the medicine to take effect, but I’m watching for potential changes.
Day 3 – Mildly drowsy. Beginning to feel it more than normal, I could be catching up after a busy weekend but I’m surprised that I took a two-hour nap this morning. That was after going to bed a little earlier than normal. No other side effects present.
Day 4 – Mildly drowsy. I’m definitely drowsy today. Spent most of the morning laying around and only went out for about an hour to visit some friends. I’m definitely not feeling hyper like I normally would. Even after my morning coffee I was able to fall back asleep.
Day 5 – I’m sleeping better at night than I ever remember, even though I’m slow waking up in the morning. Tonight I noticed a decreased interest in sex. That could be a problem ????
Day 6 – Another night of amazing sleep. That along has been the first major change on this medicine. I’m not feeling as drowsy today, even got out for some jogging this morning. The energy level was normal. Still concerned about the sex drive. I did have a sudden angry outburst this morning that smoldered all afternoon. Ugh, those are the worst but normal for me.
Day 7 – After a week on Depakote there have been no deal breaker side effects. I’m hopeful that the initial sleepy feelings will moderate as my system gets used to the prescription. The better sleep has definitely been welcome.
I’ll keep this post updated during week two and three.
Week Two – Things were going well and we moved up to the 1500 mg dose. It was day 12 when I moved up to the full 1500 mg dose. I asked my doctor to prescribe the regular capsules because they are easier to swallow.
— Sober Tony (@sobertony) May 10, 2017
That’s when my problems started with digestive issues. At first I though it was a virus from traveling, but it was lots of time on the toilet. I walked the dosage back to 1000 mg per day but still had lots of GI distress.
Week Three – I’ve been having lose stool and excessive gas throughout the day. The doctor put me back on ER (extended release) because that was working initially. At this point I’m sticking with 1000 mg until I my body adjusts.
Several people have noticed my moods are improving, but I have been more focused on the negative side effects. The impulsive choices is back to a level I can manage.
Week Four – I have a follow-up with the doctor.
Depakote Side Effects: Standard side effects include mild drowsiness or weakness; diarrhea, constipation, upset stomach; changes in your menstrual periods; enlarged breasts, weight changes; tremor (shaking); hair loss; vision changes; or. unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth.[source]. I’ll watch out for those and let you know what I find. Drugs.com has a longer list of potential side-effects, but it’s almost too broad to be helpful.
Generic names for Depakote: Valproate (VPA), valproic acid, sodium valproate, or divalproex sodium are the actual medical name. [source] Other brand names (generics) Depakene, Depacon, Stavzor.