Should You Take Depakote for Migraines?

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If you suffer from migraines, no one needs to suggest that you bone up on migraine medications or therapies.

You are no doubt well-versed in several effective drugs on the market to help stop a migraine.

But what about medications that help to prevent a migraine in the first place?

Depakote is an effective pre-treatment for migraine headaches. Read on to see if it may be a good choice for you.


Depakote is an anticonvulsant medication. Patients use it to treat several illnesses. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for treating migraines in 1996. People have used the drug since 1982 for treating bipolar disorder and seizures.

By 1998, a generic version entered the market and made it more affordable. Its generic names are divalproex sodium and valproic acid.

Therapy for Migraine Prevention

Divalproex sodium is one of the therapies available for migraine prevention. The US Headache Guidelines Consortium identifies it as effective and safe as other common migraine medications, like propranolol, amitriptyline, and timolol.

You may want to choose divalproex sodium or valproic acid if you also have heart disease, bipolar disorder, or seizures. Because this drug is beneficial to all these conditions, you may be able to find relief with fewer drugs.

How Depakote Works

Medical professionals aren’t entirely sure how the drug works to prevent migraines. It seems to increase the proteins in the brain that turn off certain brain chemicals.

Turning off these brain chemical leads to a migraine. Another theory is that it may decrease unwanted substances in the brain that cause migraine symptoms.

Using in Combination with Another Medication

So far, divalproex sodium is useful for preventing a migraine. Research doesn’t show successful use as an abortive remedy. Meaning, once you have a migraine, this drug won’t make it go away.

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If you take it to treat migraines or another condition, you will most likely take an additional migraine medicine to stop a migraine once it starts.

Typical Dosage

Patients usually start with a dose of 250mg twice a day. Their doctor may then prescribe a higher dose.

The highest dose is 1000mg a day.


Clinical trials have shown that Depakote performs well as a preventive migraine treatment. Thus, it is one of the first preventive medications a doctor will prescribe.

Both children and adults can take it. It may help ease a variety of migraine symptoms in addition to the headache itself. It can also help those who suffer from chronic migraines or constant headaches.

Of course, people react differently to medication. During these same clinical trials, researchers compared the drug to inactive placebos (sugar pills). The migraine sufferers who took Depakote ER for four weeks had half as many migraines as patients who received the placebo.

Is It Right For You?

The best way to answer that question is to see your doctor and ask about taking preventive migraine medicine.

If you would like to check for the latest up-to-date prices on Depakote or online pharmacies that carry it, then click here.

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.


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