Can I take divalproex (Depakote) if I'm pregnant or breast-feeding?

Dawn Marcus
Divalproex sodium (Depakote) may be used when nursing as long as you are consistently using an effective method of birth control. Remember -- divalproex should not be used when trying to get pregnant or during pregnancy, because it has been shown to be teratogenic -- to produce birth defects. Because of this, it is extremely important to make sure you're consistently using reliable contraception. You should also continue to take a folate supplement if you're using divalproex. Very little divalproex enters breast milk, but your baby should still periodically have her liver and platelet activity checked if you're taking this drug.
The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

Migraines are a common, controllable type of headache that affects one in every six women, more than 20 million in the United States alone. The Woman’s Migraine Toolkit helps readers take charge of...
Depakote (divalproex) can cause severe birth defects. Approximately 1% to 2% of babies born to  women who took a drug containing valproic acid, the active ingredient in Depakote, during the first three months of pregnancy were born with spina bifida. This birth defect can cause paralysis, learning disabilities, and other profound problems. Depakote also may lower the child's IQ. Depakote can also be present in breast milk, though it's not clear what effect that might have on a nursing infant. You and your doctor must weigh the risks and benefits of taking Depakote if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.