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

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.