What Is Divalproex Used For?
Divalproex and Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a brain condition that occurs when there are sudden, brief changes in how the brain's electrical system works. These changes in brain activity can lead to a seizure (see Epilepsy Symptoms). Depending on which part of the brain is affected, a seizure may affect the person's consciousness, body movements, emotions, or senses (taste, touch, smell, vision, or hearing).
In over half of all cases, the cause of epilepsy is not known. Epilepsy treatments may include medications (see Epilepsy Medication), surgery (see Epilepsy Surgery), diet changes (see Epilepsy Diet), and biofeedback.
Partial seizures occur in just one part of the brain. About 60 percent of people with epilepsy have partial seizures. Two types of partial seizures are:
- Simple partial seizures, in which a person will remain conscious but experience unusual feelings or sensations that can take many forms.
- Complex partial seizures, in which a person has a change in consciousness or loss of consciousness. People having a complex partial seizure may display strange, repetitious behaviors such as blinks, twitches, mouth movements, or even walking in a circle.
Divalproex is approved to control complex partial seizures, either used alone or along with other seizure medications.
Absence seizures, also known as petit mal seizures, involve "blanking out." They are most common in children. A child may "stare into space" and may not respond to other people for 10 to 20 seconds. The child will not be aware of these episodes and will continue as if nothing happened once the seizure is over.
Complex absence seizures involve muscle movement (often eye blinking), while simple absence seizures do not involve muscle movements. Divalproex is approved to treat both complex and simple absence seizures. It can be used either alone or with other seizure medications. It is also approved for use with other seizure medications to treat people with absence seizures along with other types of seizures.